Please help! Internal HD crash--cannot erase & re-install

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by lil1998, Jun 24, 2014.

  1. lil1998 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2010
    #1
    **also posted this on Apple Support forumsbut constantly have login issues there...cannot continue that thread! The last answer on my query was that I need to re-install from DVD, but I'm living overseas and think I probably didn't bring it. Is it possible to fix using bootable external drive?**

    I'm on a MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo from 2010, running Snow Leopard. My computer has always been a little slow and crashed a couple times a day, probably due to working with big files. But in the last month, I think I've had Firefox-related issues, as I was constantly getting "script causing computer to run slower" errors, much more often than usual. Computer was crashing, or needed to be force-restarted, nearly once an hour.

    I have 3 partitions on my drive. One that is all photo and music files, one that is a small scratch disk (for Photoshop) and one that is everything else.

    So yesterday when it crashed again, I just figured this is the new normal for me, until perhaps someone confirms this is a Firefox error and fixes it. But that time, it didn't restart. Grey screen for a very long time. Luckily, I had just backed up everything earlier that afternoon--I'm not usually this lucky. Booted up from my external drive, and found errors on the main partition. But could not repair; was getting "disk could not be unmounted" error. Finally I force-ejected the partition and repaired it. Verified it again, everything seemed fine.

    Then I went to check that the startup disk would be the internal drive. Hmmm, so then I was getting error with the "bless tool." Could not select the startup disk.

    Restarted again, and now when I held down the option key, only my internal drive came up as an option. Strange, but I thought maybe that means it's fixed. Nope, grey screen for many, many minutes.

    Restarted again. This time while holding down option key, only the external drive came up. Upon starting, it said "the disk you inserted could not be recognized." I hit ignore, and yep, it was my internal drive that was no longer being recognized.

    So finally I reach the subject heading. Went into Disk Utility again--which just an hour ago told me everything was repaired--and tried to erase the internal drive. This is a BIG DEAL for me, as I'm constantly running out of space due to large design files and now have much more stuff on my external drives than my internal. So re-creating the internal drive isn't a simple matter of cloning the backup, but picking through to find what can fit into the more limited space. But the drive was still not appearing so....had to be erased.

    But it won't erase. This is what I'm getting: "Disk Erase failed with the error: POSIX reports: The operation couldn’t be completed. Input/output error"

    What does this mean? What can I do? Naturally this would happen while I'm in the middle of a project. Please, please, please help. I don't want to be working off the external drive.
     
  2. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #2
    Might as well as buy a new HDD or upgrade to an SSD. Your current drive is very much dead and even if it comes back to life, it will crash again before you know it.
     
  3. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #3
    I have to agree with yjchua95, sounds like your drive is dead or dying. Get a new drive and move on.

    Good luck
     
  4. lil1998 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2010
    #4
    Do most of you guys replace hard drives yourselves? I've done a few updates on my desktop computers in the past, but the unibody laptop worries me.

    Out of curiosity, what's the price range for replacement from an Apple authorized repair shop? I live in Thailand so probably the response won't be totally accurate, but I don't feel confident to buy an $80 Western Digital and installing it myself. Unless it's triple the price at a repair shop... then I would like to try it on my own.

    Also, can my model take a 7200RPM 1TB drive for the replacement? Not sure if it's too old.
     
  5. sjinsjca macrumors 68000

    sjinsjca

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2008
    #5
    As others have replied, this is an ex-hard drive, not just pining for the fjords.

    With hard disks, failure is always a matter of when, not if. That's why we back up.

    Get a new disk. They're not costly, though depending on where you are in the world it might be a challenge to get your hands on one. I have a Macbook Pro of your machine's vintage and have had good luck (and got quite a performance boost) from a Seagate Momentus XT hybrid drive, if you're running Mountain Lion or later. (It didn't work well with Lion.) That's a nice compromise between going all-SSD (which might be costly in sufficient capacity given what you mention about your use of Photoshop) and a conventional hard drive.

    Good luck.
     
  6. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Denmark
    #6
    Exchanging harddrives, even in unibody machines, is very easy.
     
  7. dernretellin macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2014
    #7
    agree,I have to agree with yjchua95, sounds like your drive is dead or dying. Get a new drive and move on.thanks[​IMG]
     
  8. SMDBill macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2013
    #8
    Replacing a HDD on a Macbook Pro is very easy. Going with an SSD will make your computer feel new again due to the speed/efficiency gains.
     
  9. lil1998, Jun 24, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2014

    lil1998 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2010
    #9
    Thanks for the advice. So I know for the future, were the regular crashes a warning of the drive's impending death? They were always ALWAYS preceded by a Firefox freeze and...after completely seizing up every program on my computer...eventually a warning from Firefox about a script causing slow performance. So I assumed it was all Firefox-caused. At least, the crashes in the last 3 weeks or month were like that. There may have only been one time that the computer froze when I wasn't online.

    Prior to that, it was more difficult to predict a crash, but they weren't nearly as regular...that "twice a day" crash I wrote about in the OP was probably for 7-8 months of the 3 1/2 years I've owned it and a slight exaggeration. It was hard to tell if this amount of crashing was normal, as I'm surrounded by people using Macs as pretty internet machines rather than constantly running low on space due to huge files.

    Don't think I can afford the SSD just now. I haven't really done any research into hybrid drives at all, or even into upgrading my OS (on Snow Leopard now). I have a tendency to lag behind on updates because I produce work faster with familiar OS/software (e.g. I still prefer Adobe CS3 even though I got CS5 to open certain projects, and I know we're actually on CS6 now).

    If I don't have the install disks, can I just install a new internal drive, and clone my external to it? Assuming the new internal drive would match the external in size, so I don't have to cherry-pick files.
     
  10. T5BRICK macrumors 604

    T5BRICK

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2006
    Location:
    Oregon
    #10
    Yes, a computer shouldn't have regular crashes.

    Internet recovery may be an option.

    http://support.apple.com/kb/ht4718
     
  11. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    California
    #11
    They don't have to match size to clone. As long as the new drive is large enough to hold all the data you are good to go. How was the backup/clone on the external made?
     
  12. lil1998 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2010
    #12
    Oh, I know they don't have to match in size exactly, sorry. I meant that my original internal drive was much smaller than my externals, so even if the drive was fixable i wouldn't have been able to do a complete cloning. My MBP came w/ a 250GB drive. At the time couldn't justify the extra price for 500GB because 250 was already so much bigger than what I used to have. I got a 500GB external, thinking the extra 250 would mostly be movies, but so many work-related files built up since 2010 that I had to shift them over. Once I realized I had loads of files on the external that didn't exist on the internal, and that prices kept going down, I bought a 1TB as an additional backup.

    Current size of files, applications & system is well under 500GB, and I'm considering a new 750GB internal. For those external drives, I used Carbon Copy Cloner to create the initial 500GB drive, then when I got the 1TB drive I cloned the 500GB one to it, since there were files missing on the internal drive. I never installed Snow Leopard on them, but they are bootable. I'm using the 1TB drive now. Wondering if I would be able to use CCC again for the new internal, or if I need to do a real re-install of the System.
     
  13. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #13
    There is no reason you could not use CCC again to the internal and just uncheck the large folders you don't want to move over.
     
  14. lil1998 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2010
    #14
    Thanks!

    I'm also wondering, if I really don't feel comfortable installing the drive myself, is this something any PC repair place should be able to do, or does it really need to be an Apple place? It's hard for me to tell from the instructions if this is a basic repair common across all types of laptops.

    The nearest authorized Apple repair is 6 hours away. There might be an unauthorized place somewhere in town, but there are a few good PC places.
     
  15. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #15
    it is pretty easy to do. Any computer shop should be able to do this for you if you are not comfortable with it.
     
  16. teleromeo macrumors 65816

    teleromeo

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    #16
    It's really easy, just find and follow the instructions on iFixit. Also, if you can afford it get an SSD, you won't regret it.
     
  17. lil1998 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2010
    #17
    Hi, I'm back. Finally got a new drive and decided it was worth $5 to have the shop install it for me. They would have charged more to "install software" so i said no, I can clone it from my external drive.

    But, no luck. Tried to partition or erase drive as soon as it was installed, but couldn't. I'm getting a different POSIX error than before: "cannot allocate memory."

    On another Mac forum, in a thread from 2011, someone wrote it is well-known that Disk Utility in Snow Leopard is faulty. But in what sense? It can't be unable to partition any drive, because i have my externals. It can't be unable to partition just internal drives, because i had a partitioned drive. Is it specifically that Disk Utility can only partition an internal drive when booted from DVD (which I don't have with me?) but not from bootable external drives?

    One person in the thread said their problem was fixed when a faulty cable was discovered. This intrigued me because i had to format a new external drive for a friend the other day (while i was already running on an external drive myself) Since my jump drive & card reader are too bulky for the closeness of the MBP's USB ports, i use a cheap hub. When i plugged my friend's drive into the hub, I got this same "cannot allocate memory" POSIX error. When i plugged her drive directly into the MBP port, it erased without problems.

    The computer is still at repair shop, but wondering if guys have thoughts about this: "cannot allocate memory" error, issues with Disk Utility in Snow Leopard, and faulty cables on internal drive.
     

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