Beach Ball of Death, Gray Screen after Clean OS ReInstall - Other Paranoia - Return?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by simpleCoder, Aug 12, 2010.

  1. simpleCoder macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2010
    My 13" MBP is less than two months old.

    I read online somewhere that a company that buys large quantities of Macs has a strategy for combating the industry standard 5% hard drive failure in new notebooks. It said something along the lines of performing a clean install / reformat of OS X was a good idea to see if any problems arise- then the HD would likely have problems in the near future, etc...

    Being the nerd that I am I performed a clean install on my MBP. I had just performed one the day before on my other Mac (which worked perfectly).

    First of all, my MBP took roughly 15 minutes to boot from the disk (to begin the reinstall). Actually one time I gave it over 20 minutes and it never did load. Once I finally got to the Language select screen it froze, clicking the continue arrow did nothing and I couldn't even choose another language. So I shut down and tried again. The DVD doesn't look scratched. Is my drive less than stellar?

    This time, it worked, albeit, it took much longer to install than my lesser powered Mac Mini. OS X notified me that the installation was successful and that it now simply needed to restart. Upon restart I was greeted with a gray screen and mouse cursor spinning beach ball (that responded to trackpad).

    Shut down, turned it back on- same thing. Tried a bunch more times, no luck.

    Called Apple Care and after a few questions / tips we concluded that it needed to be sent in, the associate imagined it was a HD problem.

    I took my MBP to a local authorized service provider and they took it, and called me back in a few hours. I asked what they did to fix it, and they skillfully dodged the question. They said it should be good now, that it passed all hardware tests, but to let them know if it happened again.

    Since then it's been running okay. As a nerd it's a bit bothersome to know that I can't perform a clean install when I see fit- and that if I did, I'd have to take it into Apple Care again in the future, and once Apple Care runs out than a clean install just isn't an option.

    It boots up just as fast, but when it gets passed the white screen with the Apple logo... when the desktop is loading I noticed that it stays at the flash of the solid blue desktop a bit longer than usual (the second before it loads your desktop bg image). It also seems that fully loading all of the top right menu bar items takes a bit longer than before.

    Also, not sure if the hard drive's sudden motion sensor is going haywire. But randomly, the hard drive will make a singular faint "thud / click" noise. Very faint. But it's not your usual "reading data from the HD" hard drive thrashing noise you hear when you open an app / file. It's a single, more sudden noise, but like I said it is fairly quiet- I hear it when I have literally nothing running except this Safari window. This is something I didn't notice the first few weeks with the MBP.

    Also in system profiler, the battery's condition was never good, but only "Normal." I did calibrate my battery one of the first days I had it.

    Here's some coconutBattery info:

    Current Battery Capacity: 5588 mAh
    Original Battery Capacity: 5770 mAh
    Which is 96%.

    Load cycles: 10

    Anyways, curious if anyone has any ideas about my inability to perform a clean install and successfully boot up? I don't see any reason why it should have taken THAT long to boot from the disk, frozen in several random spots throughout, and then not be able to boot up.

    The HD noises aren't a huge deal just a bit concerning, and admittedly the battery info is just nerdy paranoia. Just curious what's going on with my MBP. Is there anything I can do, or should read?
  2. radio10 macrumors newbie

    Aug 12, 2010
    I am having similar problems. Everything was working fine on my 13 MBP until 2 nights ago. Started running very slowly (beachball), got to the point were most of my apps won't even start up. Takes about 10 minutes to boot.

    Tried every suggestion I could find to get things back to normal-- ran all utilities I could get my hands on, cleaned up files, reinstalled software, permissions, etc. Nothing worked.

    Just got back from genius bar and they think it is a hardware problem. The guy was convinced it was bad RAM but swapping it out did not help. They are keeping it and are trying more diagonistics, and will try to switch the hard drive out. It passed all hardware tests in the store while I was there.

    I have heard rumors of hard drives getting flaky in MBPs but not many details. My MBP is 8 months old now and this is the second time it has been in for a hardware repair.
  3. TheBritishBloke macrumors 68030


    Jul 21, 2009
    United Kingdom
  4. MrCooperS macrumors member

    Sep 30, 2009
    Sounds like a bad hard drive, bring it in to Apple.
  5. TZRaceR6 Guest


    Jun 8, 2010
    United Kingdom
    FYI, my MBP is 4 months old with 57 load cycles and is at 97% battery capacity (although it seems to cycle back and forth between 96% and 97% lately). You should be fine.

    However to your issue, it really sounds like your Harddrive is on it's way out. You can either have Apple replace it with another slow 5400rpm HDD, or spend less than $70 and buy yourself a larger and faster HDD... and of better quality (IMO). I have a SSD in mine (super fast) and I put a 7200rpm WD Scorpio Black 320GB HDD into my wife's 2010 2.4ghz 13" MBP. The WD seems like it is twice as fast as the stock Apple/Fujitsu/whatever brand.

    Either way, sounds like you better make up your mind on what you want to do in short order. Your HDD may not last much longer.
  6. oplix Suspended


    Jun 29, 2008
    New York, NY
    run disk utility from the OSX install disk. If there is any sort of error than it's most likely the hard drive.
  7. cluthz macrumors 68040


    Jun 15, 2004
  8. RedReplicant macrumors 6502a

    Mar 31, 2010
    Apple hard drives rake up load cycles because of the way it does hard drive power saving. This leads to (relatively) early drive failure.
  9. simpleCoder thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2010
    A bit of an update- I booted up today and the dock displayed immediately as it should, but the top menubar took approximately 20 seconds to display. Then a few menubar icons loaded, but the white bar that should have been behind them wasn't displaying... After another 20 seconds or so then the menubar finally loaded. I've had a Mac Mini for a year or so and never experienced any of this.

    You're right, I meant sent in for repairs :)

    I think you are right, but how do I have Apple replace it? When I called AppleCare they told me to take it to a local authorized service provider (not an actual Apple store). They wouldn't tell me what they did to get it to boot, but they didn't replace any hardware. I'm not sure what I can do, until things get worse.

    Is there a solution to this? Should we change the system preferences to not save power and not put the hard disk to sleep?
  10. RedReplicant macrumors 6502a

    Mar 31, 2010
    Not that I have found, but disabling putting the hard drive to sleep does marginally help.
  11. chuckychu macrumors newbie

    Aug 19, 2010
    I have a similar problem. Two days ago my macbook wouldn't pass the blue screen after the grey loading screen. So i tried everything from reset to disk utility, fresh install and even a new hdd. same blue screen which eventually goes away after 10 min and logs into the OS desktop. i am curious because after the installation of SL while hanging onto the blue screen i could hear the welcome theme of SL. strange. i also tried changing the ram, nothing helped. clueless indeed!
  12. chuckychu macrumors newbie

    Aug 19, 2010
    But I can boot into the safe mode without any problems and hanging. even before i installed SL the booting with normal leopard took like 1min, and its far less than booting with SL

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