MacBook Pro hard drive problems

alexhardaker

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 12, 2014
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281
Hello,

For about a week now my 2009 MacBook Pro has failed to boot up. I couldn't reinstall OS X Mavericks on it via the recovery mode, so I went on to try other options. Disk repair came up with all sorts of errors on it and told me to backup, reformat and reinstall OS X. I created a new image of my hard drive partition "disk0s2" (should be Macintosh HD, I know). However, it wouldn't erase to reformat. It also stopped being mountable at this stage. I spoke to apple via chat for a whole day trying to solve this. They tried getting me to erase the whole disk, but it wouldn't do that either.

I managed to delete the partitions I had via the terminal, but couldn't erase the whole disk via there. Now, I am stuck using the OS X disc that came with my Mac to get into disk utility to try solve this. When I try to format the disk it "cannot allocate memory."

The disk is still readable, S.M.A.R.T status is verified, and it still says that it has 250gbs on the disk capacity.

Is this an issue with the disk itself or with the hard drive cable that connects it?

(I would upload pictures, but they are too large to process)

Thanks
 

Samuelsan2001

macrumors 604
Oct 24, 2013
7,682
2,103
Its possibly an issue with both, at 8 years old your HDD has done fantastically well and will need replacing (most mobile HDD's seem todie within 6 years) a cable is only $20 so replace it at the same time.

You now have a choice either spend some money on an 8 year old machine (its near the end of its life whatever) or put that money into a new machine. A tough choice that will depend on your finances.

If you decide to replace then use an SSD it will give you an immediate and spectacular upgrade to your old machine for a few extra dollars with todays SSD prices, I recommend the MX300 series from crucial.
 

alexhardaker

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 12, 2014
292
281
Its possibly an issue with both, at 8 years old your HDD has done fantastically well and will need replacing (most mobile HDD's seem todie within 6 years) a cable is only $20 so replace it at the same time.

You now have a choice either spend some money on an 8 year old machine (its near the end of its life whatever) or put that money into a new machine. A tough choice that will depend on your finances.

If you decide to replace then use an SSD it will give you an immediate and spectacular upgrade to your old machine for a few extra dollars with todays SSD prices, I recommend the MX300 series from crucial.
How likely is it that other parts of the machine will fail soon after I've replaced the cable and hard drive?
 

TonyK

macrumors 65816
May 24, 2009
1,023
141
I replaced a 2007 MBP's HD with an SSD and it worked. Still working for the person I sold it to.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,182
5,537
Put an SSD into it.
Go to ifixit.com to see how it's done.
Cheap and easy.
Be sure to use the right tools.

DON'T spend $$$ on a "high-end" SSD -- the old MacBook can't support the higher speeds.
I'd suggest a "Sandisk Plus" -- 240gb size is selling for about $78 at amazon.
 

alexhardaker

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 12, 2014
292
281
The drive cable was mentioned...not sure if that's one of the "2 things" you mean. You could test the machine with an external drive first. That is, try an install to an external to see if the computer runs OK.
How would I go about doing that?

Thanks!
 

BrianBaughn

macrumors 603
Feb 13, 2011
6,349
934
Baltimore, Maryland
You would have to get an external USB drive enclosure and put your hard drive in it. The enclosure will run you $20 or so (same as the cable). Installing the drive in the enclose is about 2 minutes work.
I meant a new external drive but putting the existing one in a USB enclosure and getting a successful installation would point toward the cable. Unsuccessful would point toward the drive, of course, but wouldn't eliminate the cable.
 

ZapNZs

macrumors 68020
Jan 23, 2017
2,310
1,150
My money is on the SATA cable. However, given the age of the hard drive, its service life has been expended and I agree that replacing both the SATA cable and the hard drive at the same time is the best course of action.

As you can get a top-of-the-line laptop HDD for under $50, the pricing isn't too much of a financial risk should this be something else. Further, you can always purchase a $5 external enclosure and turn this HDD into an external hard drive for your next computer.

Of course, as others have noted, moving to a SSD means significant benefits (but a slightly higher pricetag)


Is it possible that it could be something else before I buy these 2 things?
In terms of trying to rule out other causes, you can perform the Apple Hardware Test from your system install disk, or take your computer to any Apple Store or Authorized Retailer, and request they perform diagnostics on the machine (this is completely free.) (Note that this alone would NOT provide a definitive answer on a SATA cable versus SATA hard drive.)
 

Samuelsan2001

macrumors 604
Oct 24, 2013
7,682
2,103
How likely is it that other parts of the machine will fail soon after I've replaced the cable and hard drive?
That is impossible to answer it might last another couple of years it may die tomorrow of a complete logic board failure it doesn't matter how likely it is if it happens to you. It's always a risk spending money on older laptops (laptops are by nature expensive to fix and get much more wear and tear than a desktop) but your machine is a pretty reliable model and many are still going strong.
 
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