2011 MBP workstation died during traveling (question mark folder)

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by maxmaut, Jan 23, 2016.

  1. maxmaut macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2011
    Hey guys,
    A while ago I've posted a thread about my wife's MBP (2011, non retina) that she uses for freelance work all the time. The issue was the HDD cable that got damaged and made MBP behave in a weird way.

    We've ordered a replacement and it fixed all the issues. Until yesterday.

    We are right now freelancing/traveling and ended up in India. It was a 10 hour flight and the laptop behaved as usual a whole day after we landed, but closer to the evening it started displaying the "question mark folder".

    I found a bunch of topics here about how to fix it. There was no bootable CD here of course and we had to wait six (!) hours for the internet repair utility to download itself.

    I went to Disk Utility right on and it did not display the MacHD at all.

    We have a samsung SSD installed, and it was working great all this time.

    So I thought that this is an issue with the cable again and wanted to open the mac to try and isolate it with electric tape (worked as temporary solution the last time). Spent half a day to find and buy a screwdriver to get inside, and found that it does not matter how I bend the cable, mac always boots with question mark folder.

    So we need the mac to do some work, and it's urgent, and there's no place I can take it here to get repaired.

    Any suggestions about what to do? Try heating the cable maybe to "heal" possible micro cracks?

    Or could it be the SSD issue?

    The scenario was like this: we worked at a restaurant, closed a laptop, I've put it in my backpack, we walked 10 min to the hotel, opened it up and it was off (not sleeping). Starting it lead to "question mark folder".

    I would appreciate any help.
  2. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    This could hint towards the SSD being defective. Those die silently. Before replacing it, you should run the internal diagnostics: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3348362?start=0&tstart=0

    Your computer is just on the brink of which machines support the Internet-based version of that test, so it may be that it's not supported (though it probably will). In any case: a) It can take some time before the screen for the test plops up and b) for me it worked by just depressing "d" (without 'Alt' qualifier key).

    Another possible root cause: If the climate is very humid, try keeping the MBP in an air-conditioned room for some time, so potentially condensed humidity can dry off. A simple re-plugging of the drive might be helpful there as well.
  3. Magnetitenostri macrumors newbie

    Mar 18, 2012
    It's your HD's bracket cable that failed. You could purchase a hd sled and mount your internal ssd to it, this would allow for you to then plug into it through sub and but to the os that way. It's going to be painfully slow but should work.
  4. MrAverigeUser macrumors 6502a


    May 20, 2015
    What OSX?
    What type of Samsung SSD? 840?
    When did you buy it (already with newest Firmware or still with the old one?)
    did you install Trim enabler?
    If Samsung 840, did you update the Firmware?
    There were Tests that Samsung SSDs (and some other manufacturers) are extremely reliable.
    Personally, I don´t believe in a defective Samsung.

    I believe also more in a little Short of the disk-Cable or a defective connector.
    But I also read about sleeping issues with Trim-Enabler and (if I recall it correctly) it is better to disable sleep function and turn off the notebook instead of closing it (=sleep).

    Best solution will be indeed to order and install as soon as possible a new cable.
    Alternatively (and for diagnostic reasons) you could put the SSD in an external enclosure and start the mac from there
    (albeit USB 2.0= very slow) …

    edit: As I see I am not the only one to think about this…
    (BTW a FW 800 enclosure would 2x faster)

    I´d not "heat" up the MBP, but opening it, disconnecting the SSD and keeping it all in an room with the less humidity as possible (as already proposed by someone before) is shurely a good try...
  5. maxmaut thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2011
    Thanks everyone for your replies.

    I've just gotten home where I have put the SSD into a SATA sled, and my other mac does not detect it as an external drive. It works fine with other drive I have, so I guess it's fair to say the SSD is dead.

    There was no significant data loss, no loss at all tbh, since all the work was stored in the cloud, but I do not have any replacement for the SSD and very limited resources left after the trip, so my question is – is repair possible?

    I have never touched the firmware of the thing, never even knew there was a way to upgrade it, so maybe doing that now will somehow help? Though I can't see how that is possible to do if computers can't see it.

    BUT, the other drive I have (Seagate HDD) that works fine if used inside the sled is not detected by the affected mac if inserted into the hdd bay.

    This confuses me completely. The situation is like this:

    Samsung SSD – does not work via sled, does not work when in drive bay
    Seagate HDD – works via sled, does not work when in drive bay.

    It makes me think it's a cable issue, but I can't imagine a coincidence like this – both SSD and data cable failed at the same time?

    I am testing if affected mac can see the sled or the HDD inside the bay via DiskUtility that I launched from internet recovery. The HDD has a bunch of backups and has no bootable partition, can it be the reason why Disk Utility completely ignores it when it's in?

    Thanks guys, your help is much appreciated!
  6. MrAverigeUser macrumors 6502a


    May 20, 2015
    If you have backuped ALL you had on the SSD, you could nevertheless connect the SSD in an external enclosure with a PC running under Windows and test it with Samsungs "Magician Tool" - if the SSD will be recognized by the PC…

    You could do a lot of diagnostics and also upgrade at the mean time the latest firmware for the SSD.

    IF your SSD is really dead: For most of Samsung SSDs there is a 5-year warranty on SAmsung SSDs. And even if not: there is always the chance that Samsung will be so kind to exchange your SSD.

    Samsung SSDs are very reliable. It is not by accident that their SSDs have more than 60% of marketshare.

    Whatever you will find out: Good luck!

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