Dropped My Laptop - Which Tests Should I Run To Assure It's Fine?


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 24, 2011
Unfortunately I placed my one + a half year old 15" MacBook Pro laptop on a new tilted notebook cooler (that has no grip), & sat them both on my computer chair while in use. To my recollection I only had the YouTube homepage open without any video playing, and Dropbox was downloading some small photo files to my laptop intermittently (that I was uploading from my iPhone at the time). I walked away and it suddenly all fell from a height of 2 feet. When I looked they were both sitting on the floor. The screen was in the same position I had it in (so it likely didn't land display first), & the notebook cooler was sitting to the left of it still connected via USB. I'm not sure that the soft notebook cooler broke it's fall (see attached photo), but it's crazy how it all landed flat as of it were being placed side by side on a table. The usb cord from the cooler didn't even yank itself out at all. My room is carpeted, but nonetheless I freaked out because it's a fairly new MacBook Pro, with a brand new 750GB Western Digital Black series 7200rpm sata hard drive (that I had just installed a couple months ago). The hard drive is obviously of importance to me since it carries a lot of my recent project/work files.

Luckily I have the original internal hard drive that initially came with my system. It contains all of the files I would have had a couple months back in working order. It's now in an external USB enclosure, because I had used Carbon Copy Cloner to migrate/backup an exact image of everything (data & OS) from my original drive, to my newer Western Digital hard drive - prior to installing it 2 months ago.

The first thing I did was inspect my laptop on the outside. I can tell you that surprising as it is there is absolutely no damage clear to the human eye that I can see on the exterior body. From what I've heard the MacBook Pro shell is actually made out of a solid piece of aluminum. The hinge when you move the screen still feels the same as it did before too. I have quite the computer skills background, so I opened the case up just to give it a glace over with my magnifying glasses headset and a flashlight. I looked at the motherboard over and over for about an hour to double, and triple check that there was no damage to the motherboard (ie: cracks, broken solder, bent usb port that was in use during the fall, etc). From what I saw there was absolutely no damage to the important parts of the laptop. I had opened up the case before, and it looked pretty much the same... The only thing I noticed damaged, were the 3 screw holes that hold the laptop battery in place (one is under a black leftside sticker). Such a minor crack on each of the plastic screw holes (on the plastic battery body, not the aluminum laptop case). They were very minor cracks yet still in place, you'd have to look closely to see them. Now I can't remember well, but I think the last time I opened the case months ago they may have already been like that. & I may have just left it as they were. If so the damage could have been caused by over screwing at the factory. I'm not sure, but if not the fall may have caused it. So I took the battery out and super glued the screw holes back to the battery body properly (see attached photo). I could not, and would not disassemble the MacBook Pro motherboard, & other device pieces for a more thorough check over a 2 foot fall. I just don't think it's warranted to do so, being that everything else on the underside seems to be fine to the naked eye. I guess it would be going overboard...

A quick factoid:

Apparently my MacBook Pro has a feature called SMS (Sudden Motion Sensor). The Sudden Motion Sensor is designed to detect unusually strong vibrations, sudden changes in position, and accelerated movement. If the sensor detects any of these, it instantly parks the hard drive heads to help reduce the risk of damage to the hard drive in case of impact. When the SMS senses that the computer's position is once again stable, it unlocks the hard drive heads and returns to normal operation. In general, SMS protection does not change hard disk performance with regular operation.
Also my new internal Western Digital Black series hard drive specifically states on their website to having "Rock-solid Mechanical Architecture." With enhanced reliability features help protect the drive and the data stored on it. As well as "NoTouch Ramp Load technology" - The recording head never touches the disk media ensuring significantly less wear to the recording head and media as well as better drive protection in transit. Although I don't know if these Western Digital features apply to normal operating hdd use while powered on, or just when you have your laptop powered off (eg: parked head position when shutdown).

I called Western Digital since the hard drive has a 5 year warranty (unheard of). & I asked them if they had any software to diagnose the drive beyond Disk Utility's simple "SMART" status info in Mountain Lion's Mac OS X 10 (which showed up okay by the way). Anyways Western Digital does have software to do a thorough SMART test, and surface scan checking for Windows (which I have used before on my other pcs in the past). But they don't have one for Mac, and he suggested I take the hard drive out, then pop it in a pc to scan it. But I'm not even sure a pc would recognize the disk being that it's formatted differently in comparison to the pc standard of NTFS. I believe he said to reformat it as NTFS, but that would defeat the purpose of a faster scanning method, and leaving it as is.

So now what I'd like to do is use a program I found called "TechTool Pro 7." I'll install it to the original hard drive that came with my MacBook Pro (that's now in my external usb enclosure), and use it to run every possible scan on my MackBook Pro to make sure everything that appears to be okay - actually is. But most importantly to run a thorough SMART test, and surface scan on the newer internal hard drive that experienced the fall. Since TechTook Pro 7 does have the ability to do so on any drive. Ya, believe it or not newer Mac's don't have a surface scan feature in the OS. Remember the external usb hard drive is an exact 1:1 image of my working MacBook Pro a couple months back. So I should be able to boot off it, and install the program onto it. Of course I'd be turning off my Wi-Fi during TechTool Pro 7 use, to avoid any unrelated software updates from other programs while scanning.

I need to run a surface scan on this drive asap, and I will. I'd appreciate it if you guys would give me general things I should do to test all of my laptops hardware to determine if everything is alright or not. Let me know what type of things I should use to test all of the internal laptops hardware. Let me know what to look for... & how I should go about using my laptop for the next month or so. I will probably be doing tests on it every two weeks just to make sure it's okay until Spring hits. If everything is fine then, well it should be good for the long term - and have survived the impact well enough.

Thank You MacRumors & Happy New Year

If anybody knows what type of drop tolerance a hard drive can take (and survive) while in use let me know. Also I did come up with a couple of things on Google that supposedly can help. One is Apple Diagnostics, and the second is called Apple Hardware Test. If you Google them they'll come up, but I have no idea if these are for desktop style Mac's only or laptops too since they don't mention the word laptop. See here for a quicker view:



Dark Void

macrumors 68030
Jun 1, 2011
I don't think that you have anything to worry about. It is durable enough to withstand a 2FT drop on to a carpeted floor. If there is no noticeable damage on the outside, everything on the inside should be okay. If there was slight initial damage then it could potentially have gotten worse (ex, a small crack in a screen forming into a larger crack) but problems won't just rise out of nowhere later on if that is what you are worried about.

If problems were to occur I think that they would have happened right away. Perhaps someone has had a different experience but that is usually how it works out.

I understand your worries but this seems like a case of obsession ... if it works, it works, really.


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 24, 2011
Thanks for the reply, I actually worked real hard to buy this darn thing a while back. So it's my first major purchase. I believe the Macs probably okay. I mean it's case is built out of solid aluminum. & if that doesn't bend, then of course the properly mounted components inside shouldn't either. Pcb and solder is also very hard to break from my experience. I can see how the battery screw holes had cracked. Either from over tightening in the factory, or from the fall since it's plastic. & if they weren't screwed down properly they would have jolted too much and gave way a bit.

I'm more so concerned about the hard drive, and it's current state of operation. I'll be testing that out with Techtool Pro 7 today... A surface scan is what it needs! As far as testing the other hardware out, I need to know a bit more about how to do so. I'm new to Macbook Pros, and OS X altogether.


macrumors 601
Jan 3, 2014

Couple of points I'd make:

Firstly - You didn't run a surface scan before so have no benchmark, the deeper you go into HDD diagnostics the more normal bad blocks and surface issues are to be reported (ALL hard drive surfaces are imperfect and change over time, the various levels of drive, firmware and OS routines just deal with the imperfections appropriately).

So without a benchmark you aren't going to know whether the drop caused any change, if the scan marks 10 blocks as bad will you see that as a problem???

Secondly the machine appears to have been running and was still running and reported no issues or displayed any strange behaviour at all?? In that case you have nothing to worry about, if the machine gives issues in 3mths it will be human nature to put it down to the drop but technically it may or may not be related at all - you will never know.

Much more concerning IMHO is that you mention only having a backup of the disk that is a couple of months old, you might want to change your workflow and have a daily backup (say by Time Machine), that will be more use in the future if true and instant disaster strikes. Just a thought and unrelated to dropping the machine.
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