Array of problems on MacBook... In short - It's dying!

Discussion in 'macOS' started by dayneoram, Aug 28, 2010.

  1. dayneoram macrumors member

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    May 30, 2008
    #1
    Please help me! I've had my macbook for almost one year and everything has been fine! Until about one month ago that is...

    My Polyester Unibody macbook (Standard spec) takes between 5 - 10 minutes to boot up (In fact one time it took about an hour!!) the menu bar does not load properly - I.e. no grey semi-transparent bar, no apple logo and the File Edit Window etc. things have gone too. The battery, wifi and time are still there though. Discs usually do not load, programs frequently freeze quit and stop responding, "Force Quit" says there are no programs open (doesn't show any).

    And finally - the activity monitor tells me all is well, nothing is taking up a considerable amount of memory, nor are there any programs running that aren't the standard processes. (I.e. nothing I've downloaded)


    Please please PLEASE help me fix this! I've tried reinstalling the operating system with the Mac OS X Install disc but it gets to 35 mins remaining and says "Install Failed".

    I would really like to come up with a solution that involves me keeping all my files as I have about 500 songs, a film and a few photoshop tools and files, as well as some vital bookmarks and history pages. (Memory is not the issue here, there are over 100gb of free space!)

    If really necessary I suppose I could wipe it clean. I (think I) backed up my photoshop files and photos, as well as a few other things, to dropbox - the online storage site. And I have my music and film on my iPhone which I think I can retrieve with the help of iPhone Browser.....

    Any ideas? What could have caused it? Please help... I'm a thorough tech geek and this thing is not only really useful, but also what I use for my part time job!!

    Thanks. I'm hopeful at least one of you genii can help me out! (I won't be able to get to an apple store for a long time, and I am not risking the post -nor can I afford that).
     
  2. Grannyville7989 macrumors 6502a

    Grannyville7989

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    Aug 2, 2010
    #2
    The only thing I can think of to suggest is to you is to get that data off your laptop and then do a zero-out format and then install the OS. By the sounds of it, it could be a hard drive problem.
     
  3. dayneoram thread starter macrumors member

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    May 30, 2008
    #3
    Thanks, but how would I go about formatting it? And I think it may be a problem with the Mac OS X Install disc that's causing the install to "fail"... Is there a way around that?

    I'm writing on a friend's imac, perhaps I could use his install disc?

    Oh... and I just tried booting up without the install disc in (because it wouldn't boot to the main screen etc.) and I'm getting the flashing folder with a question mark...

    EDIT: ah... Just came across this;
    I did have limewire, though I hardly every used it... =/

    I don't have an external hard drive though! How can I work around THIS?
     
  4. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    #4
    I don't know if this is too obvious, but if you had it for almost one year, then you take it and _run_ to the nearest Apple store and have it fixed under warranty. And according to my rule, you buy AppleCare if you had any problems in the first year - so you buy AppleCare right now as well.
     
  5. Grannyville7989 macrumors 6502a

    Grannyville7989

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    Aug 2, 2010
    #5
    The flashing icon with the question mark means that the computer can't find your system folder.

    If you friend has the Mac OS X Leopard/Snow Leopard install disc, as opposed to the grey install disc that is bundled in with the computer, then you can use that on your MacBook. I doubt the problem is related to your install disc. If it's free from nasty looking scratches then it should be fine. If it is a hard drive problem, the fact that the installation fails can be symptom.

    To do a zero-out format, boot from the install disc and select Disk Utility from the Utilties from the top menu bar. Select your partition and from the Erase tab, press Security Options... select Zero Out Data.

    However, the fact that you can't boot into your computer at the moment is going to pose a problem for getting your personal data off.
     
  6. dayneoram thread starter macrumors member

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    May 30, 2008
    #6
    I might be able to get there before the 23rd of December (I think), that's when I purchased it. Do you need the receipt or do they have the serial number in their system that they can check?

    I looked where you suggested and that might prove the explanations I've found. Under "Choose startup disk" there is the Mac OS X, 10.6.1 Install DVD and "Network Startup" which it won't let me select.

    I have emailed another friend who is a web designer if he has an external hard drive I can borrow.

    I cannot see any scratches on my Install disk and so it should be good enough to use.

    So, what I should do is;

    - Plug in an external hard drive and from the startup disk menu, select that hard drive to start from, and then restart.

    - Backup my important files (I.e. music, documents, photos, videos, psd's etc.

    - Format the computer (Boot up with install disk > Disk Utility > Macintosh HD > Erase > Erase... ) ? Is that how?

    - Reinstall Mac OS X. Don't (or rather, Won't) know how to do that...

    Thanks for your help so far guys! We seem to be getting somewhere!

    Step 1: Identify Problem - Complete.
     
  7. Grannyville7989 macrumors 6502a

    Grannyville7989

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    Aug 2, 2010
    #7
    So far sounds like a good plan.

    When you're in Disk Utility > Erase Tab, click the Security Options... near the bottom and select Zero Out Data. Then click OK and the press Erase.

    The erase will take about an hour to do which is normal.

    After that has been complete, quit Disk Utility and it will bring you back to the installation Welcome Screen. Just click continue and follow the instructions from there. The install process takes around 45 minutes to an hour. It's easier than it sounds :)
     
  8. dayneoram thread starter macrumors member

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    May 30, 2008
    #8
    That's fantastic! Thanks mate! I'll let you know if it works!

    (But I may forget to tell you. Basically, If I don't come back for more help in about a week or so, you'll know it's worked!!
     
  9. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    #9
    Just one thing: If you have any data of any value on your computer, do yourself a favor and buy an external hard drive for backups. If you don't know where to buy, you can always order one from Amazon; here in Britain you can buy one in any supermarket. Any hard drive will do as long as it is bigger than the one in your computer; portable ones are nicer because they don't need a power cable, you just plug them into your Macintosh. Then go to System Preferences->Time Machine and turn Time Machine on, and you will always be able to get everything back exactly the way it ways, even if your computer breaks down or is stolen.

    And usually a Macintosh doesn't get messed up like yours unless there is some hardware problem; quite likely the hard drive. So if you have problems again, then Apple most likely should replace the hard drive.
     
  10. dayneoram thread starter macrumors member

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    May 30, 2008
    #10
    My dad has a terabyte hard drive connected to the router at our home. Trouble is, he may not let me use it because he's already got a lot of data on there.

    And yeah, I know Macs are usually reliable! I'm just really unlucky sometimes!

    Thanks again ^^
     
  11. dayneoram thread starter macrumors member

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    May 30, 2008
    #11
    I've just tried booting my computer up with an external hard drive, but it didn't work =( Any other suggestions on booting it up properly?

    If I boot up with the install disk, then it runs the install program.
    If I take out the disk and try booting up the computer, then the flashing folder with a question mark appears for about 5 minutes or so before turning the system off....


    I'm in my desperate mood again!! HEEEEEEEELLLLLLPPPPPPPPP!!!!!!
     
  12. Grannyville7989 macrumors 6502a

    Grannyville7989

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    Aug 2, 2010
    #12
    Are you booting the Mac from the external hard drive?

    Also, if you Mac has FireWire on it, you can boot it up in Target Disk Mode, connect it to another Mac via FireWire and browse your laptops hard drive as if it were an external hard disk. That way, you can pull the data off.
     
  13. dayneoram thread starter macrumors member

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    May 30, 2008
    #13

    Errrrrrrrr, I plugged in an external hard drive and turned the computer on.

    Does that count?

    Sorry, I'll need some more help to make it work!
     
  14. Grannyville7989 macrumors 6502a

    Grannyville7989

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    Aug 2, 2010
    #14
    No problem. It's what we're all here for :)

    If you install Mac OS X on the external hard drive, you can tell your computer to boot directly from that hard drive, as opposed to your external one. However, I have not done this before and I'm not sure what capabilities you have/do not have when booted in this mode. I saw an Apple Store employee do this on my friends laptop to test something. But I think the hard drive has to be a FireWire based drive.

    Here's a thought that just occured to me. Why don't you download a copy of Ubuntu, boot from that disc and that way you can browse you computer's file system and copy stuff to the external hard drive that you have plugged in. I remember doing this when I busted up my Windows 7 computer. I booted from Ubuntu, copied my personal files to the external disc I had plugged in and then, once that was all done, I reinstalled my OS.
     
  15. dayneoram thread starter macrumors member

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    May 30, 2008
    #15

    Slight problem with that, I'm at a friends house using his external hard drive, and I'm leaving sometime between half an hour and an hour from now...

    Maybe I'd be able to find another victim whose hard drive I can borrow to do that when I get back in a week or so... Hmmmm...

    Ununtu looks very interesting! But umm.. If I put that on the hard drive, boot from that... won't all my files still be on my old hard drive? (Stupid question - yes of course) How will I be able to access them?

    (By the way, thanks for telling me about ubuntu! I may have to install that via boot camp when my mac is working properly again!
     
  16. Grannyville7989 macrumors 6502a

    Grannyville7989

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    Aug 2, 2010
    #16
    No need to put Ubuntu on any hard drive to access your files. Downlaod the ISO from Ubuntu.com, burn that onto a CD/DVD and then slip it into your laptop and tell it to boot from disc. Ubuntu will load itself into the memory while leaving everything on your hard drive intact. You can mount the hard drive and browse the contents, including your personal files, and copy stuff to the external hard drive that you can plug in.

    Once you have everything copied over, restart with your laptop with the Mac OS X Install disc and zero out everything and then install the OS.
     
  17. dayneoram thread starter macrumors member

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    May 30, 2008
    #17
    Okay, I'll try that. Thanks!
     
  18. dayneoram thread starter macrumors member

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    May 30, 2008
    #18
    When I boot up my computer with ubuntu, will I be able to backup my files with dropbox? Because I don't have an external hard drive at the moment...
     
  19. Grannyville7989 macrumors 6502a

    Grannyville7989

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    #19
    Dropbox, as in the folder found in OS X or the sync software?
     
  20. dayneoram thread starter macrumors member

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    May 30, 2008
    #20
    Well, I'd load the files onto the website via the uploader, rather than the built in folder which syncs.

    Ah. I downloaded the ubuntu ISO onto a blank DVD, put it in my MacBook and turned it on, but it keeps going to the folder and question mark thing...
     
  21. Pixellated macrumors 65816

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    Apr 1, 2008
    #21
    Burn the ISO using another computer if yours won't work. Then copy your files to a flash drive or to dropbox. Then reinstall OSX using a retail CD or the one that came with your Mac, erasing the drive before install. If this fails, take it to an Apple Store or call AppleCare. :)

    EDIT: Hold down the Alt key (bottom left of keyboard) and then press the power button, hold down the alt key until it comes up with a screen showing the ubuntu DVD, the hard disk etc. Then press the cd icon.
     
  22. dayneoram thread starter macrumors member

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    May 30, 2008
    #22
    Thanks for trying to help, but if you look back through the thread, you'll see we've already tried those things and they won't work. My computer won't boot up past the screen with a folder and a question mark.
    I did burn the ubuntu ISO onto the DVD with my step-father's desktop PC, and that is the current problem. My MacBook won't boot from that disk!
     
  23. dayneoram thread starter macrumors member

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    May 30, 2008
    #23

    I'm trying that now, and the mouse appeared on the light grey screen. No disc icon or anything else though yet...
     
  24. Grannyville7989 macrumors 6502a

    Grannyville7989

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    #24
    Hmmm, that's a very bad sign. You should at least be getting an icon that represents your Mac OS X partition labeled 'Macintosh HD' if you haven't renamed it.

    Trying to think of another solution.
     
  25. dayneoram thread starter macrumors member

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    May 30, 2008
    #25
    Thanks :) I'm usually quite good with tech, contrary to th bad luck I keep getting whenever I try something that in theory SHOULD work!

    I really hope there is something we can do without sending it off to apple...

    Those files that I thought I'd backed up with dropbox so far, didn't back up at all! :(

    EDIT: I just tried the alt button thing with the Mac OS X install disk and it came up as a disc icon as you said, but it won't work with the disk I put ubuntu on...

    Any suggestions? I'll go put the disc in the desktop PC to see what's there. What exactly will I be looking for?
     

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