No Startup Disk! Help!

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Denita28, Jan 3, 2017.

  1. Denita28 macrumors newbie

    Denita28

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2017
    #1
    My MacBook Pro (2009) crashed. Got the gray loading bar for two days. I was finally able to erase it so I can reinstall. But now there is no startup disk available for me to select to reinstall Mac OS X. I went to Disk Utilities, tried to erase (Failed: input/output error), partition(Failed: cannot allocate memory), verify disk(Cannot verify...repair disk), repair disk(Cannot repair disk...back up...reinstall), everything I could think of. Did the command+s and put it the /sbin...code. Nothing works! I've researched and researched and have tried everything I could find. Please help. I know it's overdue, but I really REALLY don't want to buy a new HD. I'm hoping it's just something stupid I missed.
     
  2. keysofanxiety macrumors 604

    keysofanxiety

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #2
    The issue is likely to be the hard-drive – possibly the HDD SATA cable too. If you've never changed the hard-drive since 2009, it's almost guaranteed that's the point of failure, due to wear and tear over time.

    I know you're not looking to buy a new hard-drive, but there's very little you can do if the drive is failing or has already failed. Fitting an SSD (solid state drive) will make the computer run better than new. Even on a computer your age, the system will boot practically instantly on the latest operating system and applications will open incredibly quickly. You can get a 120GB SSD for under $50 on Amazon (any brand would do), so it might be best to get one of those and fit it.

    If you're still having issues with finding a startup disk after fitting a new drive, you can replace the HDD cable for around $25, so it's not going to break the bank.

    I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news – the issue is hardware related in one way or another, so you're going to have to do some tinkering to fix it – but the good news is that the fixes are very cheap and very easy to carry out. Plus they'll vastly improve the performance, so it's win-win across the board.

    Let me know if you have any further queries or need guidance!
     
  3. thesaint024 macrumors 6502a

    thesaint024

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2016
    Location:
    Republic of California
    #3
    Totally agree. Consolation is that your 09 will run better than ever for a nominal upgrade fee. I've upgraded my 09 HDD, RAM, and battery and all very easy. In retrospect, I would have done what @keysofanxiety is suggesting and go SDD (same process). You will see noticeable speed increase in everything. While you're in there, you can consider more RAM. Don't know how long you plan on keeping this, but that's the good news.
     
  4. Denita28 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Denita28

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2017
    #4
    This isn't the first time I've had to erase it so that's what I was afraid of. Will any SSD fit/work? Is 120gb enough? I was seeing them for like $100 is why I was so against buying a new one. I hate to spend that much and it be something else...
    --- Post Merged, Jan 3, 2017 ---
    I would like to keep it for at least a couple more years considering how much they cost new. What are good prices for battery and RAM? Battery is pretty bad. I need a new trackpad too. (Spilled coffee in it a few years ago...whoops!) Guess I'm just going to have to suck it up and fix this thing.
     
  5. thesaint024 macrumors 6502a

    thesaint024

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2016
    Location:
    Republic of California
    #5
    You could always try to boot from an external drive to make sure that it's the HDD/cable, if you have one lying around. You might even be able to live with the setup if you aren't highly motivated to do the upgrades discussed.

    RAM in 2013 was $100. Battery in 2015 was $65. You can decide what it's worth to you. If you are mostly desk bound, SDD>RAM>Battery. If you'd like to move around on occasion, prioritize battery over the RAM, but SSD is still the best bang for buck. They have cheaper hybrids out there too. In theory, they should be mostly as fast as SSD, but with the storage ability of a traditional HDD. I can't speak to how true those claims are in real life.

    Edit: Links
    Battery cheaper now as expected:
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00LV0TWKC/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    But the RAM has increased in price (unexpected):
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001PS9UKW/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1
     
  6. keysofanxiety macrumors 604

    keysofanxiety

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #6
    Any SSD will work. It's almost certainly (99%) the hard drive. If 120GB is enough — that's down to your usage so really only you can answer that, but you can get a 240GB for not much more.

    If it is the SATA cable too, that won't cost much either. Though the drive is certainly failing after that sort of age. And it'll be like a brand-new machine, it really will be. The difference an SSD makes cannot be understated.
     
  7. Denita28 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Denita28

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2017
    #7
    I do have have an external but I somehow locked all the files on it so I can't do anything with it...and it's lost at the moment also lol.

    I can hold off on the battery for a while. It still lasts for an hour or so if needed.

    Not real sure if I need RAM though.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 3, 2017 ---
    I'll check on the price differences and go from there. Thanks for your help! Very much appreciated!
     
  8. thesaint024 macrumors 6502a

    thesaint024

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2016
    Location:
    Republic of California
    #8
    Haha. You are just in a world of hurt! Yeah, no need to do all at same time since opening it up is so easy (relatively). RAM depends on how much you have. If you have 2gb, you NEED to upgrade it. If you have 4gb, it will probably be fine as long as you don't multitask too much or have too many browser windows. Buy SSD on Amazon or local with a good return policy. The worst that can happen if you find out it's more than the drive is pay a nominal restocking fee or shipping.
     
  9. Denita28 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Denita28

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2017
    #9
    I believe I have 2gb but that's just a guess. Oh well! Gotta have my Mac so I'll just suck it up. Thanks for all your help!
     
  10. treekram macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2015
    Location:
    Honolulu HI
    #10
    The notion that "any SSD" will work in a 2009 MBP is likely not be true. Most of the Mac's of that time period have the Nvidia MCP79 SATA chipset. Some SSD's will work at SATA2 speeds, some only at SATA1 speeds and some not at all. You can read:

    http://blogs.helsinki.fi/tuylaant/2014/01/upgrading-old-macs-to-ssds/

    to find out which SATA chipset you have and get information. The article is dated but comments about which SSD's work and don't work go up Dec. 2016. For recent big-band names, people have reported success with the Samsung Evo/Pro 850's (avoid the 840), Toshiba/OCZ Trion 150 (avoid the 100). Crucial's used to work, the MX300 seems to only do SATA1, M500, MX100/200, BX100/200 work but all are discontinued. SanDisk is spotty.

    SATA2 max is about 300MB/sec., SATA1 is 150MB/sec., although most people don't get that high. A 7200rpm HD in my late 2009 Mini gets about mid-60MB/sec. USB2 (what you have in your MBP) is 480gb/sec., I think you'd be lucky to get over 40MB/sec. so if you are thinking of going the USB route, you don't need an SSD.
     
  11. halfbad, Jan 4, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2017

    halfbad macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2014
    #11
    An SSD would not be for the pure theoretical speed but all the smaller operations will be significantly sped up. The best upgrade you can get for most old Macs is an SSD. Maxing your your Sata speed is irrelevant, the primary reason for SSD's for older computers are the those small random reads, you will see a huge gain compared to old HDD in normal use. I've put an SSD in an old 2006 and it's was a night and day difference.

    Note to OP, there is a possibility that it's your logic board as well, some of the Macs around mid 2010 era have issues with the logic board and it can show up as unrecognized HD and such. But to be honest with the issues your having, it would be worth looking into a base refurb model by a couple years or something along those lines.

    However if you are going to keep it my recommendation would be definitely upgrade to you max ram depending on your model it will be 4 or 8GB, get a decent cheap SSD, would replace you battery as well.

    You said your trackpad wasn't working I would take your battery out and try the track pad to see if it work with no battery in, esp if you have an old white or black MacBook, the batteries will swell very slightly in the middle and push up against the trackpad and stop it from working, (This took me forever to figure out on my friends old MB).

    and lastly get someone to open it up and use some compressed air to get rid of the 7 years of dust build up :).
     
  12. Denita28 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Denita28

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2017
    #12
    I replaced my HD with a $47 Sandisk 120GB SSD. (FYI: Best Buy does price match so be sure to check online prices before you buy anything. It was $47 online and $80 in store.) They tried to sell me a Samsung SSD for over $100 because their Geek Squad "Googled" that other ones do not work well. I know you get what you pay for, but there was also the option to return it so I chose the cheaper route and I'm very satisfied, so far. (There is also a 3 year warranty.) I had no trouble whatsoever and I'm now updating my OS to El Capitan from the original Snow Leopard that my (mid 2009) MBP came with. I decided to wait on the RAM, battery, etc. As long as it's working I'm happy! Thank you all for your help!

    PS: Apparently some people on the web believe you need to keep a dryer sheet in one hand, buy a grounding bracelet, wear an armored suit, and wipe everything down with fabric softener spray to ward of static electricity when changing hardware. A little extreme if you ask me. Honestly, it had me scared to even open the thing up. Yes, it's necessary to take precautions such as not rubbing your feet on the carpet or wearing a wool sweater... but after seeking advice from an IT friend, using a clean work space and making sure to touch something metal to discharge any static will suffice. Just want to throw that out there. :p

    PSS: The dust was ungodly! I'll definitely have to take care of that when I open it back up.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 5, 2017 ---
    Also, to anyone doing this upgrade, make SURE to spend the extra few dollars to buy a T6 torx (star) screwdriver or bit and a tiny Phillips screwdriver (four way, not flat head). That is, if you don't already have those. I only had down to a T10 but luckily, I'm a "handy gal" and had a tiny set of channel locks I used instead of the torx. Having the correct bit would've been better though!
     
  13. halfbad macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2014
    #13
    While you do need to be careful just don't be around a lot of items that produce static electricity. I dunno, I've repaired quite a lot of Macs and I just working in a clean environment and touch something metal before I start to ground myself. Not nearly as delicate as people have made it out to be, and replacing the HDD is one of the simpler things you don't really touch a lot of the logic board. Just use iFixit guides and you'll be fine.

    don't forget to run your disk permissions on the new drive, note if you have a lot of pictures you maybe indexing and building up your caches for awhile but after a few days everything should normalize. Should be much speedier now, fun to open a whole bunch of applications with the SSD. Huge difference between that a and HDD.

    if you've got 2GB ram you definitely want to upgrade that, the SSD should help some, but you can probably get functional used ram really cheap on CL or other places as well. its' even easier than the HDD to replace.

    As for the dust just make sure to get compressed air and don't just clear out the fans but the vents behind the fan as well, a ton of dust gets stuck in the little heatsink grates so do a good job and you'll be set.
     

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