macbook pro A1286 doesn't recognize origional hdd, hdd is good.

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by mattg889, Jan 13, 2013.

  1. mattg889 macrumors newbie

    Jan 13, 2013
    I am working on a friends Macbook pro and I can't pinpoint what the problem is. It does not recognize the original hard drive when connected internally, but the the laptop Does recognize it and boots from it if I connect the same drive through my usb adapter. And my desktop sees it with the same adapter, so the drive is good.
    Now, to troubleshoot, I tried connecting another good drive internally and it sees that drive just fine and I can do anything with it.
    What might be the problem with the laptop?

    I would just switch drives, but the original drive is a 250 gig, whereas my spare is only 80.
  2. AlphaDogg macrumors 68040


    May 20, 2010
    Boulder, CO
    Have you tried booting from it by holding option and then selecting the drive (connected internally)? Also, is this a MBP with a user-removable battery/HDD? I have one of those and can test something if it's needed.
  3. mattg889 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 13, 2013
    I did boot it holding option, the drive never shows up. The install disk does show up, when I boot the install disk, the disk utility does not list the hard drive at all. It does see my other spare drive connected internally. The battery and hdd are separate, and not user-removable.
  4. mattg889 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 13, 2013
    Anyone have any other ideas what the problem might be?
  5. niteflyr, Jan 26, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2013

    niteflyr macrumors 6502a

    Nov 29, 2011
    Southern Cal
    Bad sata cable maybe.

    oops I see you tried another drive.
  6. mrchen, Jan 26, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2013

    mrchen macrumors newbie

    Jan 26, 2013
    Disk utility...

    I will try to repair the disk with Disk Utility. I don't think it's a bad sata cable since it is recognizing a different hard drive and not the original one.

    A simple test for recognizing a bad sata cable, touch the hard drive while booting. If it is spinning+vibrating, the cable is providing at least the power. This should happen even with a bad hard drive.

    To replace a bad sata cable, search on ebay the serial number of your sata cable (see attachment).

    Attached Files:

  7. mattg889 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 13, 2013
    Hmm... The sata cable is a thought. I searched about the sata cable and it has been known to be a problem with this laptop. The spare drive I tested with is sata1, and these cables apparently can stop working with only sata2 drives, which is what I think the original drive is.
    The original drive spins up, but does not show up in disk utility when connected internally. But the original drive is good, I connected it to another computer with a usb adapter and it all checks out good.
    Sata cables are expensive for this laptop, I guess I will have to see what my friend wants to do.
    I will update about how it turns out, thank you all.
  8. mrchen macrumors newbie

    Jan 26, 2013
    I am sorry my post didn't help you. I had a bad sata cable which did not deliver any power to my hard drive. It was easier to diagnostic my issue.

    Your issue might be the data from your sata cable. The perfect situation will be to "borrow" a sata cable from another macbook and test it. There is a guide on ifixit for removing a sata hd cable.

    The only tricky part when you separate the cable from the IR sensor bracket (step 9). The connector releases the cable with a flip-action living hinge lid (like a tic tac opener).
  9. mattg889 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 13, 2013

    Just wanted to update, I got a new sata cable off ebay and that did the trick! Everything is now working as it should. It recognizes the original drive and the Mac OS boots, and its even going faster now too.
    On a side note, there was nothing visibly wrong with the old cable. Seems like a pretty big oversight for apple to have under-engineered this cable, especially considering how much this laptop originally cost.
    Thank you everyone for your help.
  10. tbalon macrumors newbie

    Apr 12, 2013
    I am glad that the new cable worked for you. I also have a macbook pro which froze and then ould not reboot. It would just show a flashing file folder with a questionmark on it. I took the hard drive out and tested it and it was fine. I then moved the data cable around a bit and put the drive back in and it booted normally. It seemed to be fine untill I put the back cover back on which moved the cable some and it froze again. I went to the apple store and told them what was happening. They offered to replace the cable for the cost of the parts labor. Total was about $18.00. The computer has been fine ever since.

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