adamW85

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 30, 2017
8
0
Good Morning/Afternoon All,

This is my first thread here, so firstly I hope it is in the right section. Secondly, I have searched around this and other forums for a resolution to this problem, but found nothing that fixes the issue.

My Macbook Pro (spec at bottom) is stuck in a reboot cycle. I have had this before and managed to solve it using a reset of SMC, but now nothing is working. So far have tried:

  • Booting to Safe Mode - doesn't boot - recycles
  • Booting to Recovery - doesn't boot - recycles
  • Resetting PRAM - doesn't boot - recycles
  • Resetting SMC - doesn't boot - recycles
After digging around a bit more I found a thread that related SATA cable failure to the issue. Replaced last night with a new cable, still no luck :(

On boot up the grey apple logo shows and the progress bar progresses underneath, but when it gets to about 3/4 way along, it just reboots. Over and over again.

Unfortunately it went out of warranty/serviceability with Apple last winter, so no help from them anymore. Admittadely it is quite old now, but I'd still like to get it working. If nothing else, to save the data (which is backed up to cloud) to an external HD, for easier transfer to a new laptop (if needed).

Any further suggestions to what this could be?

Specification of my Macbook:
Model: MACBOOK PRO (15-INCH, EARLY 2011)
2.2GHz
- Logic Board, 2.2 GHz was replaced twice in 2014/2015 for reference.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
22,178
8,227
Have you ever heard of "RadeonGate"?
If not, better read up on it.

If you do conclude it's a failed GPU, it's not worth fixing any more. Apple had a free logic board replacement program, but that's been ended for a while now.

Best to start shopping for something new or refurbished.

If you want to salvage the old drive, it's easily removed and placed into an external USB3 enclosure (or use a USB3/SATA dock or adapter/dongle).
See ifixit.com for instructions on how to remove it.
 

adamW85

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 30, 2017
8
0
Hi Fishrrman, thanks for the heads up. I wasn't aware of this, but seeing as I have had the GPU replaced twice already then mine was already affected.

Ill see if any other come up with some more positive suggestions, but ill start looking at ways to recover the data.

Cheers.
 

Yaboze

macrumors 6502a
May 31, 2007
771
228
The Garden State
It could be the Radeon issue, but if you can get a hold of a temporary 2.5 SATA drive, I would see if you can get MacOS at least installed on that. If that works, then it's your drive that's likely the problem.
 

adamW85

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 30, 2017
8
0
Dragging up a slightly old thread here but thought I would seek a little more advice.

I have had no luck getting the macbook to boot, so I have temporarily moved to a PC laptop, Yawn....

I have tried connecting the HD from the Mac to the PC latptop, but it comes up with an error saying that the external drive is not recognised. No matter what I try it will not load the HD.

I have also tried connecting the MAC HD via the same HD dock into the mac, and booting from that. If I press option on startup, I get the boot options but the external HD is not listed?... There is just Macbook HD (assuming it thinks there is still one in the laptop) and Recovery. Neither of these options work either, it just returns to the booting loop. I am assuming that as the HD has been removed and is connected externally via USB, it should show as a 3rd boot drive option?

Ultimately I want to access a few files that were not backed up onto the cloud before the Mac started playing up. Any suggestions how I can either access this HD via a PC laptop, or boot from it into the Mac?

Many thanks.
 

ZapNZs

macrumors 68020
Jan 23, 2017
2,310
1,158
You can use a free Windows App called HFS Explorer to copy files from a Mac drive to a Windows machine (provided the hard drive is HFS and not APFS.)

If your MBP is suffering from the GPU failure, intentionally overheating the computer and immediately booting after a thermal shutdown will sometimes allow it to successfully boot (at which point you would disable the GPU and never shut it down or put it to sleep again, unless you use the Linux method of permanently disabling the GPU.) Obviously one does this at their own risk, and if yours is looping then getting it to overheat may be more difficult than the more traditional behavior when the GPU fails (which is going to a blank gray/black screen with the fans ramping up - in which case all you have to do is set it on an insulated surface, cover the vents, and wait for it to shut down and then immediately reboot after this thermal shutdown occurs.)
 

adamW85

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 30, 2017
8
0
Hi Zap, the HD is configured for Apple. In the past when I have backed up both a PC and Apple laptop to the same external HD, the Apple partition was always visible but not accessible. With this internal 'external' drive, it just says not recognised and does not show.

I have no issues about never using the mac again, I just want to access the files one time only. Can you explain the overheating in a bit more detail again?
 

ZapNZs

macrumors 68020
Jan 23, 2017
2,310
1,158
Yes, but is the HD in HFS+ or APFS format? (i.e., were you using High Sierra? - if so, does your system use a HDD or SSD?) Also, is the drive encrypted?

If you do not want to use the Mac again, all you need is HFS Explorer installed on a Windows system. Then, put the Mac hard drive into an external USB enclosure, plug it into the Windows machine, open HFS Explorer and you are good to copy files from the hard drive.

However, this only works with Mac drives formatted in HFS+. If your drive is in APFS format, it will not work.
http://www.catacombae.org/hfsexplorer/
 
Last edited:

adamW85

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 30, 2017
8
0
Erm, I honestly cannot remember. It was not SSD I know that much. If it was HFS+ would it not show up as 'not recognised' when connected to the PC?

I have just read about baking the logic board. Is this likely to help with this issue?

Alternatively anyone had luck using the Target Disk Mode setup when connecting the macbook to another mac and pressing 'T' on boot up?
 

ZapNZs

macrumors 68020
Jan 23, 2017
2,310
1,158
Erm, I honestly cannot remember. It was not SSD I know that much. If it was HFS+ would it not show up as 'not recognised' when connected to the PC?

I have just read about baking the logic board. Is this likely to help with this issue?

Alternatively anyone had luck using the Target Disk Mode setup when connecting the macbook to another mac and pressing 'T' on boot up?

If it was not a SSD, then your drive is HFS+ and then HFS Explorer will work perfectly for your needs provided the drive is not encrypted.

The intentional overheating is kind of a crapshoot. You may have luck or your might not. If the system is looping, target disk mode may not work. However, plugging the drive into another Mac will work perfectly (same as above - remove drive, put in USB enclosure, plug into computer). If the drive is encrypted, you will need to unlock/mount it to gain access.
 

adamW85

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 30, 2017
8
0
OK, sounds like a plan. I will try that. The drive was not encrypted so it should work. My only hesitation is that it says 'not recognised' when the drive is connected via USB, so why should it work after downloading the HFSexplorer. But ill give it a go anyway.

A questions before I try: You say 'If you do not want to use the Mac again, all you need is HFS Explorer installed on a Windows system'. Will doing this render the HD useless? Is it a one time go or can it be accessed many times on the PC using HFSexplorer?
 

ZapNZs

macrumors 68020
Jan 23, 2017
2,310
1,158
The App provides the software/driver needed to read the Mac's drive. Windows does not have this functionality built into it, which is why if you only plug it in it is not recognized.

It will not render the hard drive useless and you can use it to access the drive at any point - however, it is a program designed for simple navigation and read access, so the idea is to copy the files over from the Mac drive to a Windows drive. (If you wish to use the Mac's hard drive on a Windows system as an external drive you can write to, you would arguably want to first copy any and all important files from the Mac's drive onto a Windows drive, then delete the Mac drive and format it in NTFS, and then move files back to the now-empty 2011 MBP HD that is now in Windows format.)

IMO, if this is the original hard drive, I would personally not do this because its service life is arguably coming to an end. Further, I would immediately copy any important files all at once because the drive is old and failure rates increase with age (and, of equal importance, is to then maintain 2, ideally 3, copies of the important files should one storage medium fail, since this is not uncommon.)
 
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adamW85

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 30, 2017
8
0
Hi Zap, I installed HFXexplorer and the Java application are mentioned on the site.

Still no luck....

I have tried connecting the HD and then opening HFX. Firstly the 'drive not recognised' message pops up and then nothing shows in HFX. It says 'no file systems loaded' in the LH column.

If I open HFX and then connect the HD, the same happens. Drive not recognised and nothing showing in HFX :(

Am I doing something wrong?
 

ZapNZs

macrumors 68020
Jan 23, 2017
2,310
1,158
Give the steps in this tutorial a go. I completely forgot to mention loading the drive. It's been a little while since I've used the App!
 

mantler

macrumors newbie
Dec 4, 2017
24
5
Hi adamW85,

Just wondering if you had tried the aforementioned "Force integrated GPU hack" with any success? It's a little daunting at first, but even for those of us who aren't good at command line stuff, it isn't too difficult to work out. I just did this last night for my similar model 2011 MBP and brought it back from being an expensive and pretty brick for the last week. I had the same symptoms as you (wouldn't boot into any variant of OS X, recovery or safe mode) when I realized the GPU had likely failed again. Even after a night of running Apple Hardware Test on loop there were no detectable anomalies, but the graphics finally started to distort after I had disconnected the battery, pulled RAM, and booted it back up.

After a long conversation with Apple about this recurring problem and no foreseeable headway made, I found the pinned thread in this forum about resurrecting these models. The most difficult part was making a working ArchLinux LiveUSB with the PC I've been working from, but after I tackled that I followed their instructions and seem to have things back to "normal," just without the dedicated GPU being used. It's worth a shot to get a working machine out of it all. I would try this fix first rather than bothering with getting it to overheat and all of that juju. It doesn't really make sense to try to recreate the perfect overheating conditions and crossing your fingers that it might work when there is what seems to be a stable/viable fix already out there. Anyway, here's hoping it works out for you!


Good Morning/Afternoon All,

This is my first thread here, so firstly I hope it is in the right section. Secondly, I have searched around this and other forums for a resolution to this problem, but found nothing that fixes the issue.

My Macbook Pro (spec at bottom) is stuck in a reboot cycle. I have had this before and managed to solve it using a reset of SMC, but now nothing is working. So far have tried:

  • Booting to Safe Mode - doesn't boot - recycles
  • Booting to Recovery - doesn't boot - recycles
  • Resetting PRAM - doesn't boot - recycles
  • Resetting SMC - doesn't boot - recycles
After digging around a bit more I found a thread that related SATA cable failure to the issue. Replaced last night with a new cable, still no luck :(

On boot up the grey apple logo shows and the progress bar progresses underneath, but when it gets to about 3/4 way along, it just reboots. Over and over again.

Unfortunately it went out of warranty/serviceability with Apple last winter, so no help from them anymore. Admittadely it is quite old now, but I'd still like to get it working. If nothing else, to save the data (which is backed up to cloud) to an external HD, for easier transfer to a new laptop (if needed).

Any further suggestions to what this could be?

Specification of my Macbook:
Model: MACBOOK PRO (15-INCH, EARLY 2011)
2.2GHz
- Logic Board, 2.2 GHz was replaced twice in 2014/2015 for reference.
 

adamW85

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 30, 2017
8
0
Thanks Zap. Shortly after posting the reply here I thought I would check YouTube and low and behold I had to load the drive. It worked a treat and I got all the files off of it that I needed. Thank you very much for the help, through the constant questions!!

My next task is to try and read the stickiesdatabase file using PC, but that a new Google search and possible a new thread.

Cheers guys !
 
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