Bad hard drive in macbook? flashing ? on boot

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by Gabe3, Sep 10, 2011.

  1. Gabe3 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2009
    #1
    I have a late 2007 macbook. I was browsing in firefox today and I started getting the spinning rainbow wheel and the computer wouldn't respond for about 10 seconds while the rainbow wheel was up, then it would respond for like 3 seconds, then again with the wheel, no response. It did this a few times and I could hear the hard drive make some noise during the 3 second response periods. It wasn't a strange noise, just sounded like the hard drive would stop working while the computer wasn't responding and then start again while it was. So I held the power button, computer turned off, I turned it back on, all it shows is a gray screen and then a flashing folder with a question mark in it. my usb ports still work, at least they will still charge my phone.

    If I hold alt option key down I get a mouse cursor that I can move around but thats all. anything else I can try?

    I found this: http://support.apple.com/kb/ts1440

    I assume it can't find the system software cause the hard drive is broken.
     
  2. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    Location:
    ~119W 34N
    #2
    Startup on your OS-X Restore disc (either the one that came with the machine, or a later one, such as Snow Leopard). After language selection, you can get to the Utility menu and launch Disk Utility. Select your HD and run First Aid repair. Hopefully, it's something fixable, but if the drive is having trouble reading (the click cycling), it's probably on its way out.

    If the drive is useable at all, you can also use Disk Utility to make an image of it on an external drive partition. It's best if you dedicate a partition to the backup, as the Restore function will erase its data. Use the Restore feature in DU to create the image backup (check the "erase destination..." to enable block copy).
     
  3. Gabe3 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2009
    #3
    I don't have a disc for it, I bought the laptop on ebay.
     
  4. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    Location:
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    #4
    Humm... Caveat Emptor, I suppose...

    I was assuming Leopard or Snow Leopard, but if you have upgraded to Lion, you can restart holding down CMD-R to startup on its Recovery HD partition (or use the opt key to select it). You can run Disk Utility from there.

    If not, you'll have to purchase Snow Leopard; or possibly get a helpful Genius at an Apple Store to help you.

    Do you have any backup? hopefully Time Machine? Once you get the machine booted off a disc with Disk Utility, you would be able to restore your OS and data back onto a new drive. Otherwise, you can put the suspect drive in an external enclosure, and, if readable, use the Migration Assistant from a new OS install (on the new drive) to restore your settings and data.

    If you have access to another Mac, you can connect your machine via FireWire and start it in Target Disk Mode (hold down 'T' on startup). Then, use its Disk Utility to create a backup image on to an external drive as I described earlier. That image can also be used to Restore back onto a new drive in your machine - using the 2nd Mac's Disk Utility.

    No matter which restore option path you choose, you will need something to startup off of. Hopefully, I've described enough recovery choices for you to be able to get up and running again.
     
  5. Gabe3 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2009
    #5
    it has lion now, I tried holding down cmd-r and nothing happens. I don't have any backup. I didn't worry about backups with this one since its my secondary computer, would have been nice but I can't use the external drive I use for my windows images on mac. I need a fresh install anyway, when I bought the macbook it had a fresh snowleopard and even after I installed stuff it was still fast and would boot fast, seemed like after 4-6 months things slowed down and the boot time was really slow. I guess I'll order a drive tomorrow, it should take any 2.5" sata laptop drive right? it has a 250gb seagate I think that the previous owner installed or had installed. hopefully its not very hard to do, I replaced a motherboard one of the old mac laptops, the ones that came with tiger I think. that thing was a pain in the ass, there was probably 15 different kinds of screws.
     
  6. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    Location:
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    #6
    Try holding down opt on startup and see if you can select the Recovery HD.

    Yes, it should take any 2.5" SATA - probably limited to 9.5mm height. (note: for future reference, the optical drive is a PATA (U-ATA 100, running at ATA-66 speed).)

    Opening the case is a bit more difficult than the newer UB designs, but just take your time and use quality tools. Check iFixit.com for step-by-step instructions.
     
  7. Gabe3 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2009
    #7
    if I hold down opt all I get is a mouse cursor. I looked up how to open it last night, all I have to do is remove a few screws from the battery area, and it slides out. should take about 5 mins. I was worried it was going to be a 3 hour thing, lol.
     
  8. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    Location:
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    #8
    Guess I was thinking of the MBP, not MB - yea, has a tray for the HD. MUCH easier than the aluminum MBP design (non-UB).
     
  9. session101 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2011
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    #9
    if its your secondary mac, then just make a bootable CD/flash drive and re-format that sucker and start new and fresh! then you can decide if it is the HD or not, i would disconnect the HD and clean out the area to make sure that its not a bad connection
     

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