500GB Hard drive failure - for the 4th time

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by scotsboi77, Jan 23, 2011.

  1. scotsboi77, Jan 23, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 23, 2011

    scotsboi77 macrumors newbie

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    #1
    Ok, So i bought a macbook pro from Apple in about may 2010. It is a 500GB Serial ATA Drive @ 7200 2.66GHz Intel Core i7 GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRM SuperDrive 8X DL.

    Since then the hard drive has failed 3 times and now it has failed for the 4th time this morning.

    I've complained to Apple and other than being made to feel like I'm the one causing a nuisance - Apple have told me repeatedly that my experience is unique and there are no known issues with their 500GB drive.

    Has anyone else experienced drive failures?

    Jason

    I'd be interested in hearing from you:mad:
     
  2. ender land macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    I'm assuming you replaced it after it failed each time?
     
  3. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    #3
    Apple does not manufacture HDDs, they buy them from other manufacturers
    And HDDs do fail... all of them... over time

    Is it possible you had a bit of bad luck? Yes
    Are there other explanations possible? Infinite

    Replacing the failed drives is Apple's responsibility, and they seem to be fulfilling it
     
  4. Q-chan macrumors member

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    #4
    How did your drives fail?

    Jason,

    How did your drives fail? Always the same way or different each time? Has your MBP been exposed to shock, vibration or rapid temperature changes? [Not trying to blame you, just trying to analyze...] What are your "moving habits" regarding your MBP? Do you let the drive spin down before moving? How are your energy settings? Have you had any issues with the power adapter?

    Also, what are you using your MBP for? What kind of software are you running?

    I Know, a lot of questions. But I think the drives are not the problem, their failure is a symptom caused by another problem.

    Manfred
     
  5. scotsboi77 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #5


    Hi Manfred,

    That's the thing that i dont understand - i havent been pushing it hard - just internet browsing. If i was running lots of applications then ok - but at the moment its just browsing.

    Ive got the previous model of Macbook - its maybe 4/5 years old now - and it still works fine & am doing nothing different on that that im doing with the new macbook.

    The 1st drive failed within the week
    The 2nd - in about 3 months
    3rd - in about 4 months
    4th - was in December

    Ive used macbook pros for years & have never come across this before. If it was a once off, twice I could understand. But, the 4th time!

    That's why Im raising it....to see if my case is unique or if others are experiencing the same type of problem.

    J
     
  6. SandboxGeneral, Jan 23, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2011

    SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #6
    But you didn't answer any of his questions about how you use it, physically. I too am wondering how you can have that many failures in short a short time. The odds are staggering in this particular case. I've had HDD's last over 10 years before failing.
     
  7. scotsboi77 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #7
    ok physically its on my desk - or if im using it on the sofa its on a chair. there are no temperature changes that i can think of as my flat is pretty consent.

    There has been no shock as this morning it was on the chair and had been for an hour - i was going from one webpage to another & i noticed its response was starting to slow down - if i went to scroll down a page - it wouldnt act instantaneously - it started to act slower - and there was a clicking noise like something was stuck - which has happened in all previous cases.
     
  8. Q-chan macrumors member

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    #8
    I think the root cause is somewhere else...

    Jason,

    I think your disks are originally fine. I think the problem is either in the disk cable or its connectors, or in the main board (the chipset containing the SATA controller).

    How was your machine repaired each time? You might press for a complete exchange or at least to have your machine sent to one of the Apple repair centers. Local repair will just swap the drive, which is not going to help you.

    Good luck,

    Manfred

    PS: If you don't want your machine sent in, you might ask for replacing the disk cable as well. Your time pattern makes perfect sense for a bad connection to accumulate enough corrosion to fail. And since the cable was mechanically moved during disk swap, the corrosion cycle was re-stated. Just a thought out of experience....
     
  9. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #9
    Has there been any sudden movements to it at all in the past, bumped accidentally, dropped even? The heads on HDD's are about 1 millionth of an inch above the platter and any bumps, can cause the head to crash. The laptop may have gotten bumped just enough once in the past when it was over an empty sector and damaged it. But now that sector is in use and the HDD is having a difficult time reading it causing the problems you're experiencing today.

    With all the HDD's you've had, do you ever or have you ever moved the laptop around the house while it was on and in use?
     
  10. NickZac macrumors 68000

    NickZac

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    #10
    All HDDs will eventually fail and many will fail when they are brand new. Certain ones fail quicker than others, on average. You may have had just bad luck, but the HDDs Apple uses are IMO not all that great.

    If you are really mobile, even small amounts of shock can destroy a HDD. You may want to get a SSD or even request Apple to provide one given the issues you have had.

    It may be your environment as well. If you are using it in certain situations, they have a possibility to decrease HDD life. A few are:
    -humidity (very high or very low)
    -contaminated/dirty air
    -certain electromagnetic devices
    -gravitational/barometic/other bizzare atmospheric conditions (this is theorized and currently being studied)
     
  11. scotsboi77 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #11
    There has been no bump or shock, sudden moves or drop. It just hasnt happened. When you save have i ever moved the laptop around whilst on - yes but surely its a bit more robust than than that?
     
  12. scotsboi77 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #12
    I moved house in August. The failures have now happened in 2 different places.
     
  13. brentsg macrumors 68040

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    #13
    I went through this with a particular drive several years ago in my desktop. I had 3-4 failures in a row and got incredibly paranoid about my backups.

    It was a number of years before I had another failure though. Odd as it was, it passed.
     
  14. AlphaDogg macrumors 68040

    AlphaDogg

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    #14
    It should be more robust that that. I put a 500GB 7200RPM Hitachi Travelstar 7k500 in my MBP. This isn't even a great drive, but I have had it since October-ish. I move my MBP around all the time, and I have even dropped it (in a very padded case, thank god). The drive is still ticking. I was even taking apart a MacBook the other day, and the bare hard drive fell straight out of it on to the floor (from about 3 feet above the ground). It is a Seagate 5400RPM 320GB drive. It still works just fine (albeit slightly more noisily). It is truly puzzling as to why your HDD keeps dying. As someone suggested, it may be the SATA controller on the logic board. You should request for them to replace the logic board and/or the HDD cable.
     
  15. scotsboi77 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #15

    So 1st - i got a repacement laptop
    2nd - i got a replacement laptop
    3rd - i got a new laptop (admittedly which i had to fight for)
    4th - i agreed to follow Apple's suggestion & had it sent it to an apple repair shop to change the hard drive

    Therefore, the laptops have all been relatively new.

    Ive emailed an Apple contact who was dealing with my complaint and am tempted to get my money back as it has really cost a lot of aggregation - and i spent about £2k on this computer. I understand the - did i drop it or knock it - i can honestly say i have not. I havent been rough with it nor have i used it in a manner which i think could cause these drives to fail as often as they seem to. My old macbook pro is still going strong and ive had it for 4/5 years. I nearly sold it upon getting the new macbook - am so glad i didnt!
     
  16. Q-chan macrumors member

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    #16
    Hm, strange. So you say you always (but the last case) got a *different* computer back? If so, then your problem might be in software. In something which is slowly destroying your disk structure. What have you installed on your first machine? Right after you got it? There must have something bad entered your machine. How was your information transferred from machine to machine? By TimeMachine or Migration Assistant from a backup? Or did they recover it from your old disk? If so, the "bad guy" had silently been propagated from disk to disk....

    If you really got each time a totally fresh computer then I would exclude hardware. It does statistically just make absolutely no sense that only you got 4 faulty machines in a row.... There must be something different in the mix.

    But to find that, more info is needed...

    Manfred
     
  17. NickZac macrumors 68000

    NickZac

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    #17
    It could just be a really, really bad string of unluckiness, or a defect in your computer is frying the hard drive (electrical problem??):confused:
     
  18. Q-chan macrumors member

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    #18
    Looking again to your failure description...

    Jason,

    Under the presumption that you three times got a new computer (not just a new disk, can you confirm please?) and that you got your data and settings transferred by TimeMachine or Migration Assistant (can you please explain your migration from one machine to the next?) I try to analyze:

    You said "... it started t act slower - and then there was a clicking noise ...". Assuming a software defect (as you got complete hardware exchanges), this indicates destructive actions to the on-disk structure. Btw., has your machine been exposed to magnetic fields? Like sitting on top of a powerful speaker box? Anyways, it sounds to me now like a slow progressing file system structure destruction, the slow-down meaning increasingly excessive error recovery activity, and the clicks are drive-rests, when the drive desperately tries to recalibrate in the attempt to recover corrupted data. It finally dies when a critical structure and all of its redundant copies are destroyed.

    The problem is.... if the cause is not identified, it will happen again.

    Manfred
     
  19. HBOC macrumors 68020

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    #19
    Why do you say the Travelstar isn't great? I put one in my early 2008 MBP in December of 2009, and my MBP NEVER is turned off, and even took a spill (computer fell onto the road from about 4 feet up)..

    Still works like it did on day one..
     
  20. Q-chan, Jan 23, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2011

    Q-chan macrumors member

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    #21
    Well, this is *very old* stuff. Almost 10 years ago.....

    I used and use Hitachi disks with great results. In fact Apple has them in all their products using 2.5" disks.

    Jason's problems have a different root. Four different machines failing the same way by a hardware defect, while everyone else has no problems, is almost as unlikely as winning in the lottery.

    Manfred
     
  21. scotsboi77, Jan 24, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2011

    scotsboi77 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #22

    Manfred,

    yes the data was transferred using time machine & migration assistant. And yes, 3 new computers and 1 replacement hard drive

    No, i dont have speakers that could cause the interference - & i can definitely say that in the short time of getting the latest hard drive - it has been on wooden or a leather surface.

    One thing which i forgot to mention - when i attempted to turn it on after it had stopped functioning - after about a minute a grey folder starts flashing on & off in the middle of the screen with a question mark in the middle (see attachment). It does not get past this stage.

    I am unsure what the corruption could be because the first migration (to the 1st new laptop) was taken from my old (now current) Macbook pro & that has no problems and is functioning fine.
     

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  22. Q-chan macrumors member

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    #23
    What happens when you boot with Options pressed?

    Jason,

    What happens if you try to boot holding down the "Option" key? Does it show you the graphic symbol for your boot disk (HDD) or again the folder with the question mark? Other question: Can you hear the disk spin?

    IF the answer is "Yes", then:

    Next question: Do you have a backup of your failing disk?
    And here is the next: If your new MacBook has FireWire, have you tried to boot your new Mac (with the bad disk) into target mode (holding down "T" while booting)? If this succeeds, then you need a FireWire cable (FW400-FW800 or FW800-FW800, depending on the age of your good MacBook Pro). You could then try if you can verify the bad disk using Disk Utility from your good MacBook Pro. The resulting messages might give a clue what has gone bad.

    *** THE FOLLOWING IS ON THE NEW MAC WITH THE BAD DISK ***
    If that all works, AND you can lose everything on the bad disk, you could try to boot from the system install CD that came with your new machine (Boot with "C" held down).

    Then when it asks how to install, go to Options in the menu bar and open Disk Utility. erase and re-partition your disk, make sure the GUID partition scheme is selected.
    Then install MacOS from scratch, DO NOT USE TimeMachine or Migration Assistant.
    Manually set up your user, do not install extra applications.
    So if this all works out, try to use the new machine with work you can afford to lose. If it holds up, then you can SELECTIVELY copy your files over. If you need extra applications, INSTALL FRESHLY.

    Of course, you can shortcut this procedure by having Apple install a new disk with a plain MacOS pre-installed. :) [I would do that...]
    But then again DO NOT MIGRATE, but selectively copy and fresh-install apps. Think twice for each app, install only what you really need for now. Somewhere in there is a bad app incompatible with the new system.

    Good Luck!

    Manfred

    PS: You can PM me if you don't want to do this all in public.
     
  23. Merkava_4 macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    Man ... it must be nice getting a new laptop every year. I don't even think Steve Jobs gets one that often. :D
     
  24. NickZac macrumors 68000

    NickZac

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    #25
    It is ancient history, I agree, but it had caused a stigma which still does exist today, despite the problem HDDs being loooong gone
     

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