replacing hard drive in macbook pro / os help

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by jameskuhnel, May 13, 2017.

  1. jameskuhnel macrumors newbie

    May 13, 2017
    i have a 2010 macbook pro 13 inch that has the no entry sign when i boot it up. after having a look through some threads and trying various things others have suggested ive come to the conclusion the hard drive has gone.

    firstly would this be suitable?

    i know some people in other threads are recommending ssd drives but its more for convenience (watching stuff online) i dont need great performance just web browsing / gerneral computing ect.

    secondly i dont have any of the original disks to re install the os (threw it out 6 weeks before it packed in.....)
    however i have a new imac is there any way i can get an operating system onto the new hard drive?

    unfortunately no time machine backup on the laptop so im going to have to start from scratch. or could i use the backup from my imac? (27' 5k sierra) would it be too much for my old machine to handle?

    i know theres alot here but any help would be appreciated
  2. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    The "prohibited" symbol does not necessarily mean that the system is missing, or that your hard drive is failing, but that your Mac can't boot to the existing system, either because it has some corrupted boot files, or that the system is just wrong. The prohibited symbol can usually be cleared by reinstalling OS X.

    Have you ever upgraded your MBPro from the original 10.6?
    Do you know what system you are running now (if it would boot!)?

    If you have ever upgraded to Lion, or newer, then you should have a recovery system on the hard drive.
    What happens when you try to boot to that recovery system?: Restart, holding Command-R.
    If it successfully boots to a recovery system (you will see a menu screen), then you can ALSO reinstall OS X from there!
  3. jameskuhnel thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 13, 2017
    ill have to double check, im away with work for the next week so i cant try anything new with it till i get home. no i never upgraded it its still running snow leopard
  4. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    No Recovery system, then.
    The firmware had an update available at some point, so you MIGHT be able to boot to internet recovery, where you would be offered Lion, or maybe newer OS X version (not sure when you have never upgraded to Lion, if internet recovery will offer that anyway), but that's worth trying too, booting while holding Option-Command-R.

    At that point, you will need a bootable installer of some kind. Too bad you tossed out your original DVDs, but Apple will sell you a download for Lion or something newer. You can ALSO look on Amazon, or eBay, for OS X installers on thumb drives.
  5. ZapNZs, May 13, 2017
    Last edited: May 13, 2017

    ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    Do you have a USB enclosure? If so, you can take the hard drive out of your MBP, put it inside of the USB enclosure, plug it into your iMac, and run a program like SmartMonTools or DriveDX to try to pull SMART data from the drive. If the drive does not even mount, and especially if it is making any sorts of clicking noises or the sound of it trying to spin up only to quickly spin down (or it never spins up at all), this is a strong indicator of likely drive failure. The information on that drive is likely recoverable, even if it has failed, but it can get stupid expensive (i.e., depending on the severity of the failure, hardware recovery can shoot up in pricing to more than a brand new MacBook Pro...)

    If you try this, can access the drive from your iMac, and SMART says the drive is OK, try to repair it with Disk Utility. If Disk Utility finds no issues along with SMART, are you near an Apple Store or Apple repair facility? If so, you could take the whole MBP to them and ask them to try to run MRI on the system, to perform diagnostics. Doing the above steps could prevent you from buying a new HDD and going through the pain of install prep if something else, such as a SATA cable, were to be the actual cause of your issues.

    As for a hard drive replacement, I recommend considering buying a branded drive instead of a generic one. The HGST Travel Star is my go to 2.5-inch HDD, along with the WD Black, if a SSD is not an option. I consider this is a superior design to most alternatives:
    Avoid Amazon for buying hard drive...even Amazon Fulfilled ones, because there are tons of scams of Sellers advertising used drives as new. Buy from another source, IMO, and preferably one that is Authorized because the current state of HDD, SSD, and flash/SD card scams are so great (and many people buy a used drive they are led to believe is new, only for that drive to quickly fail, and then the Buyer only learns that they bought a used drive when they try to warranty it with the Maker and the Maker informs them the drive is not eligible for warranty.)

    With that said, I highly recommend a SSD, even for the usage you described, because everyday usage will be a ton faster. If you upgrade to a newer version of OS X, a SSD will make even a more pronounced difference.

    As for the OS X reinstall, a bootable USB installer, or a ripped copy of a DVD installer, will work - IIRC it MUST be OS X Lion or newer since older versions were paid. Alternatively, Apple was (and I believe still is) selling 10.6.8 on DVD for something like 25 USD in the States. To take advantage of modern cryptography, a more modern but mature OS, such as OS X El Capitan, may be advisable. I personally prefer El Capitan over Sierra, but I'm sure many will feel differently than my personal take on that one. El Cap and especially Sierra seem to really like SSDs.
  6. AppleMacFinder macrumors 6502a


    Dec 7, 2009
    Any SATA 2.5" hard drive will work. You don't need to buy "Apple" branded hard drive and pay the "Apple tax".
    Same thing for RAM - you could upgrade your RAM to almost any RAM, preferably with CAS Latency 9 ( )
  7. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    OP wrote:
    "i know some people in other threads are recommending ssd drives but its more for convenience (watching stuff online) i dont need great performance just web browsing / gerneral computing ect."

    It doesn't make sense anymore to replace the internal HDD with another HDD.

    Get an SSD.
    YOU WON'T BELIEVE the increase in performance it gives you until you've done it.

    A 480gb SSD is cheap these days, and the "drive swap" will take you 15 minutes so long as you use the right tools (Phillips #00 driver and TORX T-6 driver).
    Go to to see how to do it. IT'S EASY.

    I'd also recommend that you buy an external USB3 2.5" enclosure (these are also very cheap).

    Use the enclosure to "prep and test" the new SSD BEFORE you install it.
    After you swap drives, put the old one into the enclosure, and it can serve as a backup, or just extra storage...
  8. jerryk macrumors 601

    Nov 3, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    The thing to do is check the seller. Ensure it is or, LLC. Then you are buying direct from Amazon's own reseller.
  9. jameskuhnel thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 13, 2017
    thanks for the input everyone!
    when i get home at the weekend ill have a play and report back
    thanks again
  10. jameskuhnel thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 13, 2017
    hello all sorry i havent got back in touch sooner!
    ive got back to my macbook and tried the holding command + R and command + opt + R when booting up and its still reverting to the no entry sign and not bringing up any menus
    is there any other ways to get in to it?
  11. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    And, if you are still running Snow Leopard, as you said in post #3, then you don't get either the Command+r, or the Command+option+r. Neither are available in Snow Leopard, and did not appear as part of any OS X system until Lion - one version newer than your Snow Leopard.
    If you would like to use your MBPro again, then you will want to boot to a working (properly installed) system.
    I'm pretty sure that you are getting the "prohibited" symbol because you have some of the boot files, or some kexts in the system, that are improperly installed, or missing, or simply some kexts that are incorrectly installed, or corrupted.
    Best way to proceed here is to re-install OS X.

    If you have misplaced the original restore DVDs, then you will need to reinstall from a Snow Leopard installer DVD.
    You can still purchase Snow Leopard from Apple for about $20.
    However, there's a big problem with THAT scenario - your 2010 13-inch Macbook Pro came with a version of Snow Leopard which is either 10.6.3, or 10.6.4 - and is a slightly newer version than the 10.6.3 installer that you would purchase from Apple
    And, you will discover that Snow Leopard installer from Apple, unfortunately, won't install natively on your 2010 MBPro.

    I think the easiest path forward is to update to Lion - which you can also still purchase from Apple. You would have to purchase that on another Mac, and it would need to be one that will boot from Lion, so that the App Store would let you download the installer app for that.
    (Did I tell that this fix will not be as simple as you might hope? :D )
  12. jameskuhnel thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 13, 2017
    thanks for the input man
    couldn't i just but one of the lion dvds or pen drives off ebay or amazon and do it that way?
    sorry im not very tech savvy
  13. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009

    At this point, I think your best option is to go to ebay and buy a USB flash drive with the installer for OS version 10.8 (Mountain Lion) pre-installed.
    You will find that Mountain Lion will run fine on an older 2010 MacBook Pro with a platter-based hard drive inside.

    Just boot from it and install.
    You may, or may not, wish to re-initialize the internal drive first.

    And please carefully re-read what I posted to you in reply 7 above regarding an SSD.

    NOTHING you can do will breathe new life into an old MacBook as will installing an SSD. Cheap and easy to do.
  14. jameskuhnel thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 13, 2017
    yeah looks like im going to have to go that route ill order the usb and an ssd
    just reading back through your post on #7 you mention "prep and test" a new sdd, can you tell me what that means
  15. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    "you mention "prep and test" a new sdd, can you tell me what that means"

    When you order the SSD, I suggest you also order an external 2.5" USB3 enclosure. They're cheap -- around $20.

    When the stuff comes, put the SSD into the enclosure and connect it to the MacBook.
    Boot up (you may have to boot from the USB flash drive), and use Disk Utility to initialize the SSD to HFS+ with journaling enabled.
    Then, run the Installer and have it install a "clean copy" of the OS onto the SSD.

    When the installer finishes, you can now boot from the external enclosure/SSD.
    First, power all the way down, everything off.
    Next, press the power on button and IMMEDIATELY hold down the option key until the startup manager appears. Select the icon for the external enclosure and hit return.

    Do you get a "good boot" (you should)?
    OK, now run through the setup procedure.
    At the appropriate moment, the setup assistant will ask if you want to "bring over" your apps, accounts and data from an older drive.
    IF the internal drive can be "seen", might be worth a try.

    Now it's time to power down, get out the tools, and "do the drive swap".

    When done, boot the MacBook again, and AGAIN, use the "option key" trick.
    When you get to the finder, open System Preferences and "re-set" your startup disk to the NEW internal drive (it will appear new to the Mac). Otherwise, boots may be slower.

    Take the OLD drive and put it into the enclosure.
    Run Disk Utility on it, see what the report is.
    Just because the drive "won't boot" doesn't necessarily mean that it's "failed" hardware-wise.
    You may be able to re-initialize it. If that works, use DU's "repair disk" function five times in succession.
    IF you get a "good report" each time, you could continue using the drive for "scratch storage", etc.

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14 May 13, 2017