MacBook Pro 13' Mid-2009 (Model 5,5) displays gray screen and won't boot

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by mckenziepiping, Oct 6, 2013.

  1. mckenziepiping macrumors newbie

    Oct 6, 2013
    A few days ago, I noticed that my Mac, while running Mountain Lion, would suddenly freeze and start beachballing, even when not in use. There are no aftermarket components or peripherals.

    I had to restart it 5-6 times in one day and half the time it would boot up, the other half it would hang on the gray screen and I'd have to hold the power button to shut it down.

    I tried booting up in safe mode, which worked the few first times, but then even booting up in safe mode became imposible.

    I reset the VRAM/PRAM and that did absolutely nothing.

    Now the device consistently refuses to start and ALWAYS displays the gray screen (doesn't even load the apple logo).

    I removed the back plate and noticed that the HDD makes a clicking noise as soon as it receives any power. I believe there may be a mechanical failure.

    Here are some more bizarre details: I have a bootable external hard drive. When I disconnect the internal HDD and connect the external hard drive, I am able to hold "Option" while powering on the Macbook Pro and the external hard drive will show up as a bootable drive. However, if I leave the internal HDD connected, holding "Option" does nothing and the computer will not "see" the external hard drive. This is bizarre because I had previously installed MacOS on my internal hard drive using my bootable external hard drive, so it doesn't make any sense for the ability to detect the external hard drive to be affected by the presence of the internal HDD.
  2. ElliottG macrumors member

    Sep 19, 2013
    Have you ever opened it up and blown the dust out of it?
  3. KUguardgrl13 macrumors 68020


    May 16, 2013
    Kansas, USA
    Sounds like a possible HDD failure, but you might also check the SATA cable.

    I have the same mid-2009 13" model. It started having an issue over two years ago where it sometimes wouldn't respond when I try to wake it from sleep. The screen remains black even when I press keyboard buttons and the trackpad. I have to hard restart it often. Sometimes when I go to turn it on again, it gets the flashing folder instead of the Apple logo. Both Apple and an authorized service provider have replaced my SATA cable 5 or 6 times and my hard drive twice. Still the sleep issue occurs as well as beachballs and freezing the times I can get it to wake properly.

    I've been told these models are poorly designed when it comes to connecting the hard drive to the logic board, and they can sometimes have a bad connector on the logic board. Hopefully you just had a hard drive failure and a new one will fix your issue (I feel weird saying that, but a failed HDD seems better than constantly frying cables and corrupting perfectly good drives).

    If you go to the Genius Bar it's about $175 to have a new HDD and cable installed. ifixit also has a guide if you feel up to doing it yourself.
  4. mckenziepiping thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 6, 2013
    Problem fixed

    The problem has been fixed.

    The HDD was defective.

    With the HDD connected, it was messing up ALL the hard drive ports, including USB, which is why the external wouldn't work with the internal connected.

    I bought a new one for $50 and put it in, restored time machine backup and now computer is completely back to normal.

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