After install of Snow Leopard, Macbook failed to recognize HD - interesting fix!

Discussion in 'macOS' started by nvog86, Sep 11, 2009.

  1. nvog86 macrumors newbie

    nvog86

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2009
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #1
    I was running 10.5.8 on both my white MacBook and Intel iMac 20," then I finally received the copy of Snow Leopard which I bought from Amazon. I decided to install it on my MacBook first to make sure the install would be successful before I upgraded my iMac, which has my important work stuff on it. The install was a success on the MacBook and after it was fully upgraded and updated, I simply opened "About This Mac" to verify the installation, opened Safari, browsed around for a minute, then proceeded to check out the new dock and airport menu features. After just a few minutes of playing around with it, I decided it was a legitimate installation, closed the MacBook, left it plugged into the power source, and walked to the other room to begin the upgrade onto my iMac. I left home for about an hour and once I had returned, the iMac installation was complete and it was running like a dream. After messing around on the iMac for a little while I decided to make sure the MacBook was still good to go. When I opened the Macbook up, all I saw was a blank screen. I assumed it was some sort of power-saver issue, because sometimes the screen doesn't like to come on right away when I open it up. My first instinct was to move my finger around on the trackpad and press some keyboard keys, which always wakes it up when this happens. Nothing seemed to be working, so at this point I pushed the power button and it proceeded to boot. As it began to boot I heard some sort of CLICKING from the HD, followed by a flashing folder with a question mark on the screen. I assumed it was some sort of HD failure so I booted to the Snow Leopard install disk, ran Disk Utility and Startup disk, and my Mac COULD NOT FIND the HD - all it showed was the CD-ROM drive and Network Startup. I tried to reboot a few more times and almost gave up. It kept clicking at startup and I was thinking about the little magnetic arms in the HD. I thought they might be jammed in the HD for some reason. At this point, I didn't know what to do. So, as it was booting up again with the plain grey backdrop, as a last resort, pretending I was the Fonz or something, I physically whacked the area on my MacBook near the power button where the sound of the clicks was coming from. AS SOON as I did that, the clicking stopped and a few seconds later the APPLE ICON appeared... instead of that dreaded question mark folder icon! The MacBook started booting up back to it's upgraded self again! Finally I was back at the desktop, and with a sigh of relief, began typing this forum. Now, my question is WHAT THE @#$% HAPPENED?? And how on Earth did smacking it one actually fix it? Is this problem related to the recent installation of Snow Leopard or just my MacBook dying? (It is 2 years old) If anyone has any ideas as to what caused this, and how I can prevent this situation from happening in the future... please reply. Thank you!!!
     
  2. electroshock macrumors 6502a

    electroshock

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    #2
    Replace the HD because what you described is the classic symptoms of something called 'stiction'. Read/write heads basically becomes stuck to the platters and causes problems in spinning up. A well-placed firm "tap" shakes this loose and it works for a while. But issue may come back.

    It was more of an issue with older drives and lubrication becoming gunk. Modern drives has generally avoided this issue with a redesign of drive components. But given your description, sure sounds like stiction in some form.

    Best solution is to simply replace the drive while you still have reliable access to its data.
     
  3. nvog86 thread starter macrumors newbie

    nvog86

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2009
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #3
    Thanks for the reply, electroshock, but as a matter of fact I just got the HD replaced last year. (Probably should've included that in the thread - sorry!!) It was having a similar problem (would not boot - just grey screen), and, the Apple Store replaced it for free under warranty for me. The guy even let me use one of the store backup discs. Anyway, do you have any ideas as to why it would do that only after a year? Is that common?
     
  4. PurrBall macrumors 6502a

    PurrBall

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2007
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #4
    Hard drives do fail, some just faster than others.
     
  5. wesrk macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2007
    #5
    yes, really consider the fact that your hard drive might be about to fail for good.
    this is really not relevant to the thread, but I remember early this year I was at a meeting for a project, there were faculty members and a few students. One of the professors used a mac but arrived to a meeting with a dell computer and after being asked why he wasn't using the mac, he said the hard drive failed. The other professors started laughing saying that macs were not all that reliable after all. I was laughing too, inside, but at them and not the guy that owned the mac.
     
  6. UHMWPE123 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2011
    #6
    thank you

    This exact same thing just happened to me. I was installing snow leopard onto my 2008 imac 24" and after the install the system went caput. I got the same question market folder and even called apple tech support. The guy said your hard drive is done and there's nothing that can be done except replace the hard drive and restore from a back-up. I read your article and tried the "fonz" technique and IT WORKED! I really appreciate you posting this article and for the responses you got. This really saved me because I hadn't done a back-up in some time and would have lost tons of data. Thanks again!
     

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