MacBook Pro dying...is there anything I can do?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Moakesy, Nov 13, 2013.

  1. Moakesy macrumors regular

    Moakesy

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    I've got a 2008 MacbookPro (first unibody design) with OS-X Mavericks.

    Today, it appears to be dying. When I started it today, I got the Apple logo and the little swirling circle thing. It does not get past that. All I can do is hold the power button to switch it off/back on again.

    I then held the ALT key and tried booting up Windows via Bootcamp. A similar result, waited for ages and it then went back to the bookcamp options screen.

    From this screen I took the 'Recovery 10.9' option which, after a long wait, eventually gives me four options:

    1) Recover from Time Machine.....not an option for me, I don't have it
    2) Re-install OS-X (fails as 'unable to connect to internet', even tho option 3 works)
    3) Get help online (I can connect to Apple's support page, but it doesn't really help)
    4) Disk Utility (this works)

    To cut a long story short, it appears that I have no disk space left on the OSX partition at all. No idea why that happened today when last night was fine, but that appears to be the case.

    Using the disk utility, I can't mount the OSX disk (it fails), I can't repair it, I don't seem to be able to do anything. What I'd like to do is something like....

    - Try and at least get my family photos and some work stuff off the machine somehow
    - Potentially delete the windows partition, to free up some space. I don't mind losing that stuff if it gives me my machine back. Disk Utility doesn't allow me to delete it.
    - Find a way to get over the internet connection error, which just seems odd, so I can reinstall OS-X

    Does anyone have any advice....I'm feeling rather desperate at the moment, and also rather stupid for not buying the TimeCapsule a few months ago. That £250 seems rather a small price to pay compared to losing the last 10 years of pics of my son growing up....

    ----------

    I've just noticed that if I select Bootcamp in the Disk Utility, but leave the Format as 'Windows NT File System', I can't erase it, but if I change that to either 'MS-DOS (FAT)' or 'ExFAT' the Erase button is enabled.

    Should I try one of these options to create some space, if so, which one?

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. RUGERMAN macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    #2
    Forget the Time Capsule, you could have accomplished the same thing for free with Time Machine or making a bootable copy with Carbon Copy Cloner. Then you could have erased the HD and restored only those files you wanted/needed.
    See if you can get a disk that you can boot from and then assuming you can see the HD you can retrieve the files to another HD.
     
  3. mw360 macrumors 65816

    mw360

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2010
    #3
    You have a lot of options, but at this stage do not do anything which would write to the disk. Don't erase anything, don't move anything. Your first objective is to copy what you need off there.

    First thing to try, as Rugerman said is to try to boot your Mac from another disk. You may not have one, and that's not something I can advise on right now.

    Second thing is find another Mac and boot yours in target disk mode...

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1661?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US

    If it works you can copy everything off.
     
  4. jorgk macrumors member

    jorgk

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2013
    #4
    From the way you write I guess that there's no backup whatsoever? If indeed so, anything one would like to say would definitely qualify as ranting ...

    Now, to get you out of there, I would not assume that your machine is necessarily 'dying'. Many things may have gone wrong so you may have ended there. But it may ...

    First, your MBP should have come with one DVD containing the Apple Hardware Test tool. With this it should be possible to find out if the MBP itself, and not merely its HD is affected. AHT

    If the computer is fine, what I would do then is to get a HD of sufficient capacity (or an SSD - would be a good upgrade to revive your MBP anyways), an enclosure, either with FW or USB connectivity to your MBP, and someone to place you the Mavericks recovery partition (or already an installed Mavericks system) onto it.
    Then you can try to boot from that external drive (to make a new OSX installation onto it) and check your HD. That way you get better access to it.

    Probably the best next thing would be to get off as much as possible from that disk. E.g. use some cloning SW (CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper) to make a copy onto your new drive (probably into a specific partition). Others may suggest whats the best way in case your HD is indeed dying (doing a block-copy or using other specific SW for such cases).
    Until then I would not do -any- changes to that drive. You may only loose the last moments you can copy from it. There's 'tricks' like putting the platter into a fridge for some hours to get off some data, but that's better done by people whom have experience with this.

    Good luck!
     
  5. Moakesy thread starter macrumors regular

    Moakesy

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    #5
    Right, I also have an iMac, so I should be able to try that target disk mode suggestion.....that seems like my best way to save my data....now where did I put that firewire cable? :)

    I still have the original box and it has two disks....one says Applications Install DVD and in small print says AHT version 3A158.....so I guess that will tell me the health of my machine.

    Many thanks for your help and support.....REALLY appreciated...
     
  6. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Location:
    Virginia
    #6
    If you can't get access to the drive via target mode, pull it out and send it to a data recovery firm. You will then find out how cheap a time capsule or other backup solutions are. A $75 drive plugged into the USB port would have prevented this angst.
     
  7. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #7
    As others have mentioned, it sounds like the internal hard drive is having a problem.

    But be aware that even if you can't BOOT from the drive, the contents of the drive may still be "readable" and recoverable. This is a VERY IMPORTANT distinction to make.

    The fact that you also have an iMac will make everything easier.

    As suggested above, the first thing you ought to try is to connect the MBP to the iMac via target disk mode.

    If the MBP HDD mounts on the iMac via target disk mode, and if you can see its folders and files without problems, this would indicate that the drive is still working, but your OS may have problems booting due to file corruption, etc.

    What I would do at this point is:
    - Copy your important data files from the MBP HDD to _another drive_.
    - As for what kind of drive, see below.
    - I suggest you download CarbonCopyCloner (version 3.4.7 is free and works will all current OS's) and try to clone the contents of the drive to another drive.
    - If that doesn't work (if for some reason CCC can't do a "whole clone"), you might try to copy certain areas, such as your home folder, apps folder, other data, etc.

    The idea is to GET THE IMPORTANT DATA OFF THE DRIVE while it is mounted and accessible.

    Now - as to what kind of "scratch drive" to get.

    I _HIGHLY RECOMMEND_ that you buy a USB3/SATA docking station. They cost only about $25 and will be the most important tool at your disposal for the recovery process. To see what these are, go to amazon.com and enter "usb3 sata dock" in the search box, and you'll get many hits. I use docks by plugable.com (no financial interest other than being a paying and satisfied customer).

    I also recommend that you start searching for another internal drive for the MBP. You might consider picking up an SSD -- it will give the MacBook a whole new dimension of speed.

    You can go to macfixit.com to see what's involved in changing the drive out. One thing is VERY important, however -- do not do attempt the job without the RIGHT TOOLS!

    You might consider:
    - Buying a new drive, the dock, and tools
    - Put the NEW drive into the dock, hook it up to the iMac (NOT to the MBP), and install a fresh copy of Mavericks onto it
    - Do a TEST BOOT with the MBP. Connect the docked drive to the MBP, press the power on button, and hold down the option key until the startup manager appears. You should see the docked drive in startup manager. Use the arrow key to select it, then press return.
    - If the MBP now starts from the docked drive, you know you have a good OS on it. (Note, I suggest you create a new account, even just a "temporary" one, such as "administrator")
    - Next, swap out the OLD HDD drive in the MBP for the new one.
    - Now, see if the MBP boots, if it does, connect the dock with the OLD drive in it, and see if it mounts on the desktop
    - If it does, use Migration Assistant to migrate over your old account, data, apps, settings, etc.

    Again, spending the money for the usb/sata dock could be the best option -- it will make swapping drives, getting set up, recovery, etc, VERY easy.
     
  8. 960design macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2012
    Location:
    Destin, FL
  9. Moakesy thread starter macrumors regular

    Moakesy

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    #9
    I ran the AHT and that reported no problems, so it must be the disk. I now can't eject CD that AHT is on, but that is the least of my problems (none of the eject buttons/key presses work).

    The firewire cable I have is 400 to 400, I need a 400 to 800...so I now wait for that to arrive.

    Although replacing the drive should be a piece of cake (this mac is so old you can access both the battery and drive simply by pressing a button underneath!)...I have been thinking of buying a new MBP for quite a while anyway. I know it's kind of an expensive way out, but I'd been putting off upgrading for a year or so. Getting the data is my prime concern.

    With a battery that lasts an hour or so, plus a defunct hard drive, I'm guessing the money required to make this 2008 MBP worth anything if I stuck it on ebay hand is not worth spending?
     
  10. Cougarcat macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    #10
    Depending on the condition, you could probably get a couple hundred for it...if you replaced the hard drive, so you can show that it boots.
     
  11. Moakesy thread starter macrumors regular

    Moakesy

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    #11
    hi...me again.....

    The correct Firewire cable turned up today, and I can now plug the two machines together and start up in Target mode. I can see the Bootcamp partition, and I can see the Macintosh HD.

    So far, so good....however...

    When I click on the Mac area, I see various folders...but none of my day to day areas. I click on Users, and my ID (as Admin) is not listed in the User list but my g/friend's ID is.

    All the important data is under my id.

    I've downloaded CCC and I get the same result....can see everything apart from what I actually want...

    Any ideas?

    Thanks
     
  12. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #12
    [[ When I click on the Mac area, I see various folders...but none of my day to day areas. I click on Users, and my ID (as Admin) is not listed in the User list but my g/friend's ID is.
    All the important data is under my id.
    I've downloaded CCC and I get the same result....can see everything apart from what I actually want... ]]

    Hmmm... makes me wonder if your account (the one you want) has either been...
    a. deleted, or
    b. somehow made invisible.

    Here's something you might try. No promises as to whether it will help.

    Go to this website and download something called TinkerTool:
    http://www.bresink.com/osx/0TinkerTool/download.php

    TinkerTool is a small, free app that lets you modify certain characteristics of the OS.

    Launch TinkerTool.
    Click the "Finder" Panel (upper left)
    Under "Finder Options", put a check into the "Show hidden and system files" box.
    Down in the lower right, click the "Relaunch Finder" button.

    Take a look around now.
    Can you see your own home folder?

    Other thoughts:
    Have you tried using a search tool to locate your home folder?
    For search tools, I would suggest "EasyFind" and "Find Any File", both which I consider superior to Spotlight.
    Try searching on your username (bear in mind that I believe your home folder uses your "short" username that the Mac assigned you when you created the account).
    Make sure you click "find files AND folders"
    If that isn't working, try searching using generic folder names, such as "mail", "movies", "music", "pictures".
    You should see at least two hits for each (one for you, one for your girlfriend's account).
    By doing some detective work this way, you can locate where the folders are -- IF they still exist.

    Your comment above that perhaps it's time to start shopping for a new Mac is a good one. It may not be worth putting too much money into a MacBook that's almost six years old.

    Advice:
    In the future, use an external drive (again, I recommend the USB3/SATA dock combined with a bare drive) for backups. And I recommend that you DO NOT use Time Machine -- instead, use CarbonCopyCloner to create a BOOTABLE clone of your internal drive. These are extraordinarily easy to access (and get files back from) in "moments of extreme need".
     
  13. RUGERMAN macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    #13
    Advice:
    In the future, use an external drive (again, I recommend the USB3/SATA dock combined with a bare drive) for backups. And I recommend that you DO NOT use Time Machine -- instead, use CarbonCopyCloner to create a BOOTABLE clone of your internal drive. These are extraordinarily easy to access (and get files back from) in "moments of extreme need".[/QUOTE]

    I disagree with the advice to NOT use Time Machine. What I do agree with is to use both. TM is very useful to restore files and the ability to back up incrementally every hour automatically can be invaluable if you need a file and have changed it in-between CCC backups. I use TM and create a bootable BU once a week. OTH I tend to be a procrastinator and am not always faithful in that. If I do 7 or 8 tax rtns in a day and have a fatal crash I'm SOL with only my CCC BU.
     
  14. monokakata, Nov 22, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2013

    monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #14
    This may be completely off the wall, but I'm wondering about how the OP's account is "Admin," as opposed to an account created in the ordinary way, with admin privileges.

    What happens if you just go ahead and use the Admin account that (as I remember) you're prompted to create on install or setting up a new machine?

    What if the OP has been operating as root? If that's the case, then his files are wherever root's files are, right?

    OP, if you can remember the exact name of some file that you created, why not use a search facility to look for that file? Then you'll have an idea where your stuff is.
     

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