Hard drive failure typical?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Pared, Jan 13, 2010.

  1. Pared macrumors 65816

    Oct 19, 2007
    As I am in the process of replacing a hard drive on a Macbook Pro, I begin to notice that there are MANY posts and experiences of individuals having to replace a dead hard drive at some time or another in their Macbooks.

    Is this typical? Should this be something I'm prepared to endure? Would it make more sense to buy my own hard drive in addition to a new MBP?

    It's ridiculous that I even have to worry about something like this on a new purchase but I'd like to be prepared.
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    It's not ridiculous at all. Anyone who expects a piece of electronics to last forever is an idiot. Different people have different experiences, but people don't come here to post that their hard drive is working perfectly. I've never had a stock Apple HD die on me, and I've used their portables for the last 10 years or so.
  3. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    So far, (knocks on wood) my hard drives have far outlived my computers. I have a G4 cube that's > ten years old and has an original hard drive.

    My laptops last 2 - 4 years and so far (knocks on wood again) I've enjoyed no issues. While it is a mechanical device and stuff breaks down. I believe the issues you see are the exception rather then the rule.
  4. Dozerrox macrumors 6502

    Dec 23, 2009
    No need to be rude.

    People replace their HDDs for either more space, better performance or because of a failure.

    Mac laptop HDDs don't die any quicker than any other laptop. They're just delicate things and can get damaged in transit if the laptop is writing to the disc. You don't need to worry about it. Ensure that you backup regularly though!
  5. iMetalG5 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 13, 2005
    my old Macbook from 2007 had a HDD failure last summer. and my old 2004 iMacG5 had a HDD failure fall 2009 and then shortly after all the capacitors erupted!

    I do have a 2TB external for time machine and sorts and with my old Macbook I never did that - stupid never again!!!! so after i replaced the HDD in the Macbook I used time machine
  6. nikhsub1 macrumors 68020


    Jun 19, 2007
    mmmm... jessica.'s beer...
    Let's clear something up; Apple does not make hard drives. That said, hard drives are constantly moving when powered up, it is pretty much the only moving part in the machine besides the fans. They do fail every now and then, it isn't just one brand either, they can all fail. The good thing is that there are usually signs of failure before it completely dies. Keep good backups (time machine) and you really have nothing to worry about.
  7. Habitus macrumors 6502a


    Feb 26, 2009
    Where ever my life takes me...
    You raise valid questions; however, Apple semi-adressed this issue with Time Machine. Yes, hard drives fail. While I cannot speak from hard drive failure experience, I always backup with Time Machine. I do understand that hard drive failure is annoying, but that's why I purchased AppleCare.

    Good luck,

    Habitus :apple:
  8. ryannazaretian macrumors 6502a


    Sep 21, 2008
    I had a Hitachi one in my last MBP break after only 3 months of use. I wasn't doing anything to provoke it to break either. I typed up an English report, and shut it down for the night. Next morning, I went to print out my English report, and my MBP wouldn't boot. It just sat at the gray screen.

    Now the hard drive in my Late 08 MBP might be acting up. I'm noticing a lot of app freezes on both OSX and Windows, and slow GUI problems in OSX. I've done a few tests and nothing comes up. The other day, both OSX and Windows failed to load. Windows and OSX froze shortly after beginning to boot. I reset the SMC and NVRAM, and now both are working. If I have another hard drive break, I'm going to want to get a SSD.
  9. Pared thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 19, 2007
    You don't have to be such a jerk in your response.

    I never acted nor implied I expect any piece electronics to "last forever" so your comment was out of line and off-the-mark. I've seen this first hand TWICE with "old" MacBook Pros (2006) and thought I'd post here to see if it really was that common. A search brings up many threads from individuals looking for help with this "common problem" (most dying within maybe 2 years or so) and I don't think anyone would be so obtuse as to expect there to be many threads started by individuals just to proclaim their hard drive is fine.

    I have multiple laptops in my office from 2004-2006 that still have the original hard drive they shipped with.

    It's the nature of message boards to seek help. That's pretty obvious and this whole exchange is pretty ironic if you really think about it. :rolleyes: Add to that the wikipedia-like response on hard drives and how "Apple does not make hard drives" and I'd wonder if there are others who decided to add comments to my post that I still don't see.

    To EVERYONE ELSE, thanks for the information.

    Ryan, is that second hard drive you mention Hitachi as well? That's actually the make of one of the ones that have died and am currently in the process of replacing. I'm currently replacing it with a WD Scorpio 7200RPM as we speak. Hope it works well...
  10. imagine123 macrumors newbie

    Jan 14, 2009
    This promises to be a very interesting thread. I've never experienced a hard drive failure - ever - in all of the custom built computers and budget consumer laptops (>10) that I've had over the past ten years. Granted, they weren't heavily used as servers reading/writing 24/7 but received more than their fair share of use. The hard drives included Maxtor, WD, Seagate, and Samsung drives.

    I bought my first mac just two months ago - a 13" uMBP. I've seen many blogs/pictures/youtube videos about people replacing broken fans and broken hard drives in macbook pros. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that the case runs hotter than other laptops? It could also be that there is less cushioning in the casing compared to thicker laptops that the hard drives are more prone to failure?

    But there is definitely a higher failure rate in macbooks - no this is not supported by any objective data that I can find - but anecdotal evidence show several people (almost all of the people I've talked to who own/have owned macbooks) have experienced hard drive failures.

    I've also noticed a significant decrease in consistency and quality in the macbooks recently. It seems that apple is going for cheaper components from as many suppliers as it can find to reduce costs and increase profits. Do you remember the first unibody macbook which had the horrendous display that pretty much EVERYONE complained about? And what about the new 13" MBP? I went through 4 MBPs before getting a "perfect one" (the first 3 had dead/stuck pixels). All four had different combinations of components:

    1) Chi-Mei Display with WD Hard Drive - Stuck Pixel
    2) AU Optronics Display (Bluish Tint even after calibration) with Hitachi Hard Drive - Stuck Pixels
    3) Chi-Mei Display with Seagate Hard Drive - Dead Pixel and chip in paint.

    4) LG-Phillips Display with Hitachi Hard Drive

    Just food for thought. Yes, I agree, Apple "does not make hard drives", but in notebooks, it is not necessarily the drive's quality that matters, but how well that drive is protected from the heat of the CPU/GPU, as well as from the vibrations/impact of everyday use.
  11. Nickisgodofmacs macrumors member


    Nov 26, 2008
    That was how mine was and it was for an English project using photoshop. That was fun to explain how i couldnt finish my project.
  12. Corrode macrumors 6502a


    Dec 26, 2008
    Calgary, AB
    I think you need to chill out and realize that words are often misinterpreted on the interwebz.

    I read his post and didn't think he was talking to you, but giving you credit for being prepared in the event of a hard drive failure. When he used the word 'idiot', he wasn't talking about you, but all the people who have failed to do what you have done in preparing themselves for the inevitable failure of their HDs.

    So once again, CHILL OUT, and perhaps give him credit for possibly siding with you before you stick your whole foot in your mouth.
  13. Pared thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 19, 2007
    Thanks for offering your take on my take. It has really helped me find some thoughts on the original post, as your comments were extremely thought provoking and on the mark. I'm sure this forum is a wealth of knowledge with individuals such as yourself providing assistance in this way.


    It seems like Hitachi and Seagate drives are the ones that I have seen as the culprit of hard drive failure more often than not. I've since replaced this Hitachi POS with the afore-mentioned WD Scorpio Black and the system is running very smoothly.

    However, your comments have been more or less what I was thinking when beginning this thread. I've been looking into an Intel G2 SSD considering I should be able to use it when I decide to upgrade to the new model MBP's to be released sometime this year. Difficult to make the jump considering a 160GB drive is still retailing for $470. :eek:
  14. thatguysmells macrumors regular

    Dec 18, 2009
    My friends white macbook just had a hard drive failure. She lost everything, all her photos and work from college. She was pretty bummed, but it's a lesson to be learned. She will back up from now on I'm sure. Anyway, her recent experience definitely got me thinking about upgrading to an SSD. Aren't they supposed to last longer, and be more reliable? :confused:
  15. ramraid macrumors newbie


    Jun 8, 2008
    Dubai, UAE
    I just had my Macbook Pro (mid 2009 model with 500GB HD) hard drive replaced in January as it failed and today it failed again, just after over 1 month of use. I just get the ? in folder at startup.

    I guess i must be particularly unlucky. I also have a black macbook from late 2006 and it's still going

    Could i have some other problem which causes the hard drive failure?
  16. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    heh. NOPE.

    My Intel x25-M crashed HARD one day out of the blue after four months of light usage. Half of the drive was empty and had never been written to. I had to get it RMA'ed. I backed up but I lost a couple of days work. I can't remember what it was I lost but it couldn't have been too important...still...

    Just make sure your backup schema is robust. I've invested considerable time and energy but I cannot find a viable solution. I promise you i've tried everything available that doesn't require an enterprise license: SuperDuper, CCC, Retrospect, Time Machine, Prosoft Data Backup 3 and a whole bunch of other crap solutions, each complete with their own quirk. Wheras one couldn't handle encrypted data, one couldn't create a bootable backup, and another would just freeze or wouldn't adhere to the given schedule despite optimal conditions followed to the letter of the manual. Yes, my storage needs are complex whilst the tools are simplistic in nature but, IMO, none really work. Hopefully they'll work for you and all who want to legitimately safeguard themselves from the harsh reality that hard drives will die eventually, even ssd's >.<

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