Boot Failure/Problem (Hard Disk?) Running WD Scorpio Blue 500GB. Urgent HELP PLEASE

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by FriedPotatoes, Dec 5, 2008.

  1. FriedPotatoes macrumors newbie

    Nov 17, 2008
    I am currently transiting in an international airport with four hours to spare, hoping to kill some time by doing some productive work. I take my Macbook (Unibody, late 2008) out and power it on...A white screen appears for a while and then a big question mark folder flashes...

    I've seen this sign before when I upgraded my HDD. I bought my Macbook 1 week ago, and upgrade two things - RAM and HDD. I got the Apple guys to do the RAM with genuine Apple RAM to 4GB and I bought myself a 500GB WD Scorpio Blue 5400RPM HDD to replace the stock 250GB (I've got too many photos and uncompressed music). The first time I saw this sign in my life was when there was no OS installed on my HDD. Back then it was sensible, but today it is not cause all I did to fix the problem was to reinstall leopard on my new HDD.

    Fortunately, I had the MacOS Leopard Restore disk in my carry on. I inserted the disc and booted it off from there and it worked. But when I used disk utility, I could only properly see my DVD Drive. The other "drive" was labeled "MEDIA" and this was not my HDD. If it is, then it's not displaying properly. I tried using tools to attempt to acquire disk info, partition info, and first-aid, but all were grayed out.

    All was going well for a week until today. No problems with my mac. It's my first international trip with a Macbook. I've been using PC Laptops all my life. I'm very new to Macbook environment and I really need help! What can be the cause of this and can this be fixed? I'm quite knowledgeable of PC Hardware and software troubleshooting and if this happened on a PC it may mean:

    1. Primary HDD failure...this would mean a new HDD:-(
    2. WD HDD suddenly not being recognised by system. If this is the case, how to fix it, and what may be causing it? Not using genuine Apple HDD?
    3. XRAY scanner screwed up my HDD...this would be very rare, as most are film-safe. If so, has anyone else experienced this, and how to fix it? I can't even partition my HDD at the moment.

    It's quite a random concidence that this happened whilst I'm away in transit in an international airport. It is quite annoying as all was going well until today. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Apologize for lengthy post.
  2. agurlnamedgoo macrumors member

    Dec 3, 2008
    Holy crap. I would be frightened if my computer did this and I have no idea what the problem could be. Can you call apple tech support from where you are?
  3. DoFoT9 macrumors P6


    Jun 11, 2007
    OP i am so sorry to hear that your laptop isnt booting.

    the questionmark is indeed a sign of the computer not being able to detect the HD, and i am around 95% sure that your HD has failed.

    do you have any important files? if yes, i would recommend not turning the laptop back on until you can run some tests over it or get it to a professional.

    side note: macs and PC laptops are identical, they use the same hardware components (basically), so your troubleshooting techniques should match that of a windows PC laptop.

    being in an airport would be very difficult to test your laptop, there are programs that can recover your data but unfortunately require you to have another boot disk, then mount the failed HD to recover everything.

    im afraid that the chance of being able to boot back into your HD looks dim, turn it off and try again in a few hours maybe the HD will sort itself out (somehow).

    sorry to hear it :(
  4. California macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    There is a problem with the WD hard drives "Motion sensor" interfacing with the Apple "sudden motion sensor". Read this somewhere else.

    I would not use it for a while, let it cool down and then reset the pram, maybe even remove the hdd and try it again. It may be "locking up" because it sensed some motion thingie happening in x ray.

    P.S. if this fails I would immediately remove the hd from the macbook. If the drive has died, you can try the "freezer" trick putting it in a freezer in a plastic bag for thirty minutes and trying to retrieve the info immediately off a boot enclosure or maybe drop it quick in the macbook. I've done this before and the cold helps a bad drive come back to life for a few minutes, maybe twenty.

    But I bet it is the motion sensor thing in the WD technology that is screwing you up.
  5. DoFoT9 macrumors P6


    Jun 11, 2007
    very sound advice.. but why would it start all of a sudden?? he has been using it for a good week with no problems...
  6. California macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    My only thought is when I was traveling also three years ago I owned a brand new 14" iBook 1.33ghz.

    I had a case and a sleeve for the iBook. After going through airport security I also let go of the case strap and the 'book dropped to the floor about nine inches, hard.

    I get to my hotel and the hard drive is locked up. I emailed mac rumors right away. Found out my new iBook did not have motion sensor protection and sold it the week I got home. The hard drive locked up for me because it did NOT have any motion sensors, but then worked again in the machine.

    Moral is that whatever happened in the airport caused the hard drive to lock up. Whether it was the drop or the x ray machine, I don't know. With the new technology on dropped hard drives coming from both WD and Apple, there are problems. I would try resetting the machine's pram and taking the hard drive out of the machine to 'reset" it if that is possible. I bet it still works but I also think he needs to get a Seagate or some other hd without motion sensor technology. It's a scary feeling when this happens away from home.
  7. FriedPotatoes thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 17, 2008
    Funny, it now works...Very Odd

    I just arrived at my Final Destination for the next 5 days. It now works!!! I rebooting twice, and it works!!

    Very Funny and odd. I can't explain it, and I'd like an explanation if anyone can offer one. Thanks a lot for the above posts and help. Greatly appreciated.:D I will certainly be running tests on it to make sure everything works for sure. My thoughts from above post that can explain problem:

    1. PRAM corruption during transportation? In this case, how can one check to see if this might be the problem? Is it worth reseting it even if it is booting properly now?
    2. WD Motion Sensor activation. I didn't even think about this until you guys mentioned it. Yes, I'm aware of this feature, which may be an annoyance in the end. I'll check to see if WD HDD has a firmware upgrade. And run more tests.

    Guess from here on, I'll keep you all posted on my progress.

    First thing when I get home...Get a Time Capsule and back up everything. Yes, I had a whole lot of data on it...

    Thanks again for your help.

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