MBP 2011 - Hard drive failure?


macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 26, 2013
Last night I started having some trouble with my 2011 Macbook Pro. OS X hung on a Safari page I was using and all I got was a lot of beachball and not much else. It seemed to retain some navigational functionality - I could flick between desktops, use the task bar etc but trying to load the Force Quit menu or even hitting Restart wasn't working.

After exhausting all the force restart commands I eventually had to hold down the power button and restart that way. I then got the dreaded folder with question mark icon. After a few more attempts to restart, I did actually manage to boot back into OS X, which then seemed to work fine for the hour that I was using it. However, this morning when I started working on it, the OS began to hang again. After a few more restarts it booted again but then same problem...crash then question mark folder.

Now it won't boot at all and Disk Utility isn't recognising the hard drive.

What would people's advise be? Haven't got a SATA USB caddy unfortunately. Have opened it up and checked the RAM and HD are seated... all seems fine. The logic board was replaced 12 months ago so can't see how that could be the problem. Any tips before I fork out to have it professionally looked at would be appreciated.


macrumors 68040
Apr 27, 2010
Aarhus, Denmark
Sounds more symptomatic of a failed SATA cable than a failed hard drive.

You can do both replacements yourself if you're comfortable with it. The cable is a bit trickier than the drive, though, if you're inexperienced. You can look up the procedure here: https://www.ifixit.com/Device/MacBook_Pro

So you can either gamble on which component has failed, or you can source a SATA-USB cable or enclosure to test the hard drive externally.


macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
You didn't tell us the size of the display on the MacBook.

If it's a 15" or 17", I'd suggest you take it back to the Apple Store pronto.

The "RadeonGate" logic board replacement program is still going on, and they should check it out at no cost.

Even though you've had the motherboard replaced once, others who have had this done have reported "second failures" (of the replaced board), etc.

Even if it's NOT the logic board, they'll probably tell you what the problem is, and may even fix it.

One last thought:
You might consider picking up some kind of external drive and create "an external booter". It's ALWAYS a good idea to have a fully-bootable external drive within arm's reach. You're finding out why right now.
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