Hard Drive Problem and Resolution

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by someuser86, May 8, 2007.

  1. someuser86 macrumors newbie

    May 6, 2007
    Hi all,

    I posted this question in another site's forum, but no one appeared to be knowledgeable enough on the subject to respond, so I thought I would try my hand here. I want to at least try to get my data back. :(

    My problem, as detailed in the post at the other forum:

    I bought a Macbook Pro this winter to replace my Powerbook. Things were going well with the laptop until recently, when I put my computer to sleep, placed in my backpack and rode off to campus from my apartment on my bike (as I had done numerous times with the Powerbook for over two years).

    When I tried to wake the computer from sleep, the status indicator light would wake from sleep, but the screen was black and the computer would give no sign of life. After waiting for over ten minutes, I thought that perhaps the computer froze over, and did a hard reset by holding the power key and restarting. I could hear some noise, like something was spinning (hard drive, fan, something else?). But still, the screen was black, and after ten minutes again, no sign of life. After the initial spinning noise, the computer made no further sounds. Nothing else could be detected as working. Frustrated, I tried to remove the battery and reinsert the battery, plug the computer in to a direct source, let the computer fully charge, etc. I had hoped that this was simply a battery or electrical issue, and that my battery had gone bad. Unfortunately, the same signs and symptoms were demonstrated from the computer.

    So, I thought that the computer isn't as important as the files were. I had been hoping at this point that my hard drive had not gone, and decided that it was time to perform a dissection and extraction. I took the computer apart and took out the hard drive. Using a spare external SATA 2.5" hard drive case I had bought, I hooked up the drive to my old Powerbook and attempted to extract info off it. When I first plugged in the USB chord, I could hear the hard drive platters spinning. Unfortunately, after five minutes of waiting, the hard drive was not recognized by the system. I unplugged the drive, heard the platters spin down, and thought that perhaps the external drive casing was bad. I re-inserted the new drive, and this time, the Powerbook clearly identified the new drive. Obviously, the casing was not bad.

    So, I am left wondering. Is my hard drive really gone? I can hear the drive spinning, but nothing can recognize it. I don't hear any clear clunking noises to indicate that the head has hit the platters (which I've experienced before). What could be the problem? Is there anyway that I can save the info on this drive? Would AppleCare be able to help me (the computer is still under warranty)?

    Anyone have any suggestions or ideas as to what more I can do, or what could be wrong?

    Fortunately, the new external Western Digital drive has exactly the same specs (160 Gb, 5400 RPM) as my internal hard drive, so at least I do have a replacement drive for the Macbook Pro. But still, I would hope I can get to the data, as that is what is most important.

    Any help, thoughts would be much appreciated.


    To this, people simply said that I was "stuffed" and to get help from data recovery services. Now those services cost thousands of dollars, and I don't have that kind of money.


    So, I proposed the following:

    Since I can hear the drive spinning, I think the mechanical drive head may have failed.

    I am pondering possibly opening the drive under static-free conditions and placing the actual hard disk in another drive (in the process ruining both drive cases). I figure, what have I got to lose? A cheap SATA 2.5" drive is about $30 or $40.

    So, does it sound like the drive head failed? Are my instincts correct?

    Or is it more worthwile to ask AppleCare to simply replace my hard drive.

    I realize that if I use the 160 Gb drive from the external case as replacement (and put it in myself), it won't be covered under AppleCare, versus if I let them replace it, it would still be under warranty. Still, AppleCare won't give me my useless drive back, will they? The data is important, but not worth thousands of dollars. Hence, why I feel like risking opening the drive myself.

    What do you guys think?


    I am hoping someone here might be able to help me out with my problem. I want to know about what you guys think about the above problem, and my proposed resolution. I just want suggestions, because I am essentially brainstorming here on what is the best way to get out of this predicament. Should I go for the data, or should I try my hand at AppleCare? Are my instincts correct at all about the mechanical head failure? Does anyone have any experiences?

    Thanks for any help.
  2. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    1. Backup
    2. Did you ever try booting off an external drive?
    3. Why did you open it up again?
  3. iSaint macrumors 603


    May 26, 2004
    South Mississippi y'all, near the water!
    This is reaching: but, my Powerbook appeared to be dead a couple of times after waking from sleep. It turns out that the screen was as dark as it could go using the controls on the keyboard. The computer was running fine, just the display was dark.

    You would think there would be some sort of display even with a bad hard drive.
  4. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    To the OP, reference resurrecting your hard drive I would strongly suggest trying the following:

    - Locate a PC.

    - Install a S-ATA PCI card if the PC is not S-ATA capable.

    - Connect your HD to the PC.

    - Go to www.grc.com and purchase Spin Rite.

    - Run Spin Rite on your HD.

    - Reinstall HD into the laptop.

    - Boot and backup your data.

    Unless your HD has a mechanical failure, Spin Rite has a very high probability of recovering your data.

    As for your laptop, Applecare should be your friend.

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