Help diagnosing a HDD problem

Charla

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 20, 2012
7
0
Brisbane, Australia
Hi everyone, thanks in advance for your wisdom on this.

I have an old workhorse, 17" Macbook Pro mid-2010 (model A1297). It's been VERY sluggish for a week or two, so I freed up some memory, ran Disk Utility and OnyX functions - it found a bunch of stuff to repair and on a final kernel cache cleanup, it froze. When I restarted it I had the dreaded "folder with a question mark".

Starting in recovery mode couldn't find the startup disk, or the HDD at all. Currently running off a clone which is fast and fine, but sadly a few months old so missing my latest work.

The wise old internet seems to suggest it could be a HDD cable problem, which seems easy enough to replace. But I'm wondering if it's worth going through this or whether it's more likely my whole hard drive is shot, given the problems I had with it earlier.

I'm probably going to bite the bullet at get a new one soon anyway (this latest brush with death has been scary) but if there's a chance of recovering my last few month's work and/or saving this machine I'd like to give it a go.

Thanks so much guys.

Charla
 

markinz

macrumors newbie
Dec 26, 2017
1
0
bahrain
hey dude! good day just try to backup all your data to another computer just remove your hdd and connect to another mac and backup and then you can proceed to another action like reinstall the macOS. have a nice day bro....



-markinz-
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,160
5,520
Buy a 2.5" SATA SSD, either 250gb or 500gb, and replace the internal drive. They're not expensive, actually quite cheap.

The cable on these may or MAY NOT be the problem, but an 8-year-old platter based hard drive could be going bad on you.

You'll also need a Phillips #00 driver and a TORX T-6 driver (to take off the "bosses" on the side of the old drive, and move them to the new drive). You can get these at hardware stores, or online.

The process is easy, ANYONE can do this.
Go to ifixit.com to see what's involved.

Changing the internal drive on my own 2010 MacBook Pro made a HUGE difference in performance.

You might also buy a USB3/SATA adapter/dongle when you buy the drive.
This makes it possible to "prepare and test" the new drive BEFORE you open the case.
If the old drive has [only] software corruption, you might be able to erase it after it's out of the case, and use the dongle/adapter with it for extra storage.

One other thing:
Seems to me that the 15" and 17" 2010 MBP's had some problems with the motherboard/video cards. Could this be the source of your troubles?
 
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Charla

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 20, 2012
7
0
Brisbane, Australia
Thanks so much Fishrrman, sounds like good advice. Do you think I should attempt to replace the cable first? If it's just the cable then I can at least get my data off, but I suspect as it had so many problems before (including a loud fan) that it wouldn't be the cable that's my problem (I presume a bad cable would just be a black/white - working/not working thing?)

I'm keen to get my data off but am starting to lose hope - maybe I can try with the USB3/SATA adapter/dongle option.

Starting up from the clone does let me access the MBP at least - should I perhaps run diagnostics or otherwise test the motherboard/video card, just to confirm these aren't the problem? No idea how I'd do this though, will give it a google.

Thanks again - your response has been really helpful.

Charla


Buy a 2.5" SATA SSD, either 250gb or 500gb, and replace the internal drive. They're not expensive, actually quite cheap.

The cable on these may or MAY NOT be the problem, but an 8-year-old platter based hard drive could be going bad on you.

You'll also need a Phillips #00 driver and a TORX T-6 driver (to take off the "bosses" on the side of the old drive, and move them to the new drive). You can get these at hardware stores, or online.

The process is easy, ANYONE can do this.
Go to ifixit.com to see what's involved.

Changing the internal drive on my own 2010 MacBook Pro made a HUGE difference in performance.

You might also buy a USB3/SATA adapter/dongle when you buy the drive.
This makes it possible to "prepare and test" the new drive BEFORE you open the case.
If the old drive has [only] software corruption, you might be able to erase it after it's out of the case, and use the dongle/adapter with it for extra storage.

One other thing:
Seems to me that the 15" and 17" 2010 MBP's had some problems with the motherboard/video cards. Could this be the source of your troubles?
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,160
5,520
OP wrote:
"starting up from the clone does let me access the MBP at least - should I perhaps run diagnostics or otherwise test the motherboard/video card, just to confirm these aren't the problem? No idea how I'd do this though, will give it a google."

Very smart, to have a bootable cloned backup handy, eh...?
Keeps you going when the internal drive is having problems!

When you get booted from the clone, can you "see" the internal drive (on the desktop)?
Or... is it "not there" (i.e., not mounting)?

If you can boot from a clone and then mount and access the internal drive, can you "get your recent stuff" off of it -- copy it somewhere? ANYWHERE will do for the moment.

That's one of the most important things -- secure the data.

As you said, it -could- be just "the cable", but at 8+ years old, it could be the internal drive itself.

I'd approach the problem this way:
- Get the SSD (and the dongle adapter)
- Use the dongle to prep & test the SSD
- Do the drive swap (leave the ribbon cable alone for the moment). Just "tack the back on" with a few screws to keep the cover on while you test it.
- Does the new SSD work inside?
- In that case, don't replace the cable
- Are you still having some problems accessing/booting/reading the internal SSD?
- If so, replace the ribbon cable, too.
 
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