sudden macbook fail no warning just grey screens please help! panic

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by beachball doom, Mar 24, 2016.

  1. beachball doom macrumors newbie

    Feb 1, 2016
    Less than two months after my previous catastrophic without warning mac fail (see here: ) and I'm back watching grey screens fail to load.

    This time I can't get to any of the special modes - command S gives me some code then freezes, T gives me the target disk symbols but the drive doesn't appear on the exterior computer.

    I'm thinking that maybe the apple techs who replaced the logic board (see previous post) may have put something back together incorrectly. Maybe a cable popped out? Maybe a ram stick fell out?

    I was running nothing special when it happened. In fact I was using the computer to generate a single tone in ableton. Kind of funny when you think about it. It's hard to imagine a less intensive task. I suddenly got the beachball across the whole computer. I rebooted and got a grey screen with the "prohibited" ie zero with a cross through it.

    It's like the universe doesn't want me to make music or something. Last time it failed was when I was sitting down to a period of working on music also. wtf!!!!
    --- Post Merged, Mar 24, 2016 ---
    Maybe the tone was at the correct frequency to vibrate something internally and the hard drive plug fell off the logic board? Does that sound crazy? Please send some ideas.
  2. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    Sounds like you have the same issue again - or something very close to the same.
    You have a warranty on the logic board that was replaced. That's usually covered for 90 days after the repair.
    But, it also could be something else, as the MBPros have SATA drive cables that are known to be fragile.
    If the cable (or maybe the drive itself) has failed, then you won't be able to see the drive. That would explain why the Target Disk mode won't mount the drive. The drive has to be actually working for that mode to work, too.

    But, best to haul it back to the same shop where you had the previous repair.
  3. beachball doom thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 1, 2016
    I don't know about that - if I can't get to target disk, then seems to imply that the problem is not with the logic board and therefore won't be covered by any warranty. Also I have four whole days of production locked in - I'm going to exhaust all my options before rescheduling the next few weeks. Just putting together a boot thumb disk (again - I deleted previous one damn it) so I'll let you know how that goes. Following that I'll try taking the back off for signs of loose cables etc.
  4. beachball doom thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 1, 2016
    can anyone give me help on booting from a thumb? i just tried and got an unchanging grey screen. i then went to try the procedure on a healthy similar macbook but it would only boot using the option key / start up manager screen. using C causes it to think for a while and then it automatically reverts to booting from hard drive. odd. is there any reason a thumb would boot using option but not the C key
  5. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    You use the Option key, which will show all possible bootable partitions.

    The C key shortcut is ONLY for optical drives (CD/DVD).
    It's not possible to use the C with a thumb drive, or other external bootable partitions.

    However, you did say that your Target Disk mode DOES work (the floating icon on the screen, eh?)
    The difference for YOU is that the hard drive won't show up to mount on your other Mac, when you are pretty sure that it should do that.
    So, you have no access to the hard drive in Target Disk mode.
    Again, that may be a failed hard drive, or the SATA cable is faulty, or the SATA controller on the logic board is not working.
    The last one implicates the logic board, and your Apple-authorised shop will help you out with all of those possibilities.
  6. Fishrrman macrumors Pentium


    Feb 20, 2009

    You need to diagnose whether the problem is due to an internal hardware failure, OR, a problem with the software on the internal hard drive.

    By far the EASIEST way to do this is to have a SECOND EXTERNAL drive with a bootable copy of the OS on it.

    With a bootable external drive, you plug it in, reboot from the external.
    If the Mac "comes right up ok", this points to a problem with the internal drive (either software or the drive itself).

    I realize this advice doesn't help RIGHT NOW, but it could prove very useful in the future...
  7. beachball doom, Mar 25, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2016

    beachball doom thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 1, 2016
    According to here: - pressing the C key should force it to boot from USB media. However I can't get this to work on a healthy mac even though on the healthy mac it boots from USB after pressing option. Are there any reasons why pressing C wouldn't work? ie settings or formatting of usb media?
  8. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    I can't get that (boot to USB by holding C) to work either. Maybe only newer models will accept that command.
    I also suspect that might only work with the thumb drives that Apple supplies - such as those that came with MBAir, and were also sold for a short time when Lion was released.

    Use Option. That will assure that you can choose the correct partition to boot from (My usual USB drive that I use for everything, has 15 partitions, with 10 of them bootable. Just holding C would require some luck. I would always need manual control for that, with the Option key.
    And, because you have the possibility of booting to a network boot, it will offer that as a choice. My mini that I am using at the moment shows both the network and bootable devices.
    That's just how it works.

    I have occasionally seen a failed drive (which could also include a faulty cable) interfere with booting to any other device. I think a failed device can, in a sense, short out the bus, preventing any other access to the bus, which can include external devices.

    You can troubleshoot that by opening your MBPro, and disconnecting the drive, then try booting to an external device. If it boots, then your internal drive is bad -
    If no boot, try a different SATA cable.
    If you still get no boot, even with no internal drive installed, and the cable doesn't change anything, then you have a bad controller, which means the logic board has failed (again :( )
    Checking this out won't take you more than about 5 minutes, unless you need to try a different SATA cable.
  9. beachball doom thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 1, 2016
    At last! Some progress. I reset the nvram and afterwards I was able to boot from thumb (using option). I was going to check the harddrive for errors but it doesn't register that the harddrive even exists. Either the harddrive has gone suddenly and utterly kaput or some cable has fallen off or broken somehow.
    --- Post Merged, Mar 25, 2016 ---
    ps: I didn't see your very useful response before I made the last post. Thanks greatly. What would be my next step? Can i run diagnostics from the USB somehow? I just tried pressing D but it only booted as usual into the thumb and there is no way to run diagnostics from there.
  10. DeltaMac, Mar 26, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2016

    DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    Try to boot to Internet diagnostics:
    Shut down.
    Restart, wait for a few seconds for the boot chime to sound.
    Press and hold the D while you still hear the boot chime.
    You should see a spinning globe, and NOT the normal Apple icon, while booting to the Hardware test.
    If not, you can also try holding Option-D.
    If that still does not work, then the diagnostics may not be available to your 2011 MBPro, and you will need the local version that is on the original DVD that came in the box with your MBPro when it was new.
    I did find a page with links to many Apple Hardware Test downloads
    I think yours would be the one for MacBookPro8,2 (15-inch, Late 2011)

    IMHO, the hardware test probably won't tell you much about the hard drive - particularly if it can't "see" it!
    There's not really a test for the hard drive, and simply fails if no hard drive is detected. But, NO hard drive may not show a failure, either.
  11. b06tmm macrumors regular


    Jul 23, 2009
    South Louisiana
    My cousin recently had an issue like this.

    After messing around with the various boot options and getting nowhere fast, I decided to pull the drive and connect it to my iMac with one of these:

    I was able to see all of the data and test the drive. All was good.

    I ordered a new HDD cable even thought the one in his looked good and it fixed the issue.

    Good luck!
  12. beachball doom thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 1, 2016
    I've tried internet diagnostics several times. I see the globe and after a very long time I get to select network. But after that it seems to freeze, the globe stops turning.

    I also found this page and followed the instructions to create an AHT boot thumb. However the computer won't see this thumb when booting. I tried the thumb in a working mac and it wouldn't boot like that either. The instructions say "flag it as bootable" ??? I'm not sure what this means. I created the thumb using "restore" in disk utility. Is there something else I need to do to flag it? I'm surprised there's not more info out there on this procedure.
  13. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    Couple of things to try:
    The disk image can't be mounted for the restore to work successfully.
    The image SHOULD work to create a bootable flash drive, although you could also try to burn the image to a CD-R, or use a partition on a USB hard drive. Either of those should work, too.
    It's not likely that you would have another Mac that the AHT will boot and work. They are system specific. Although there is some that will boot with several different Macs, most will not.)

    Does your prepared thumb drive show up in the Option boot screen? I think it should show up as an EFI boot.
    The thumb drive needs to be erased, and formatted as MacOS Extended format (not fat32, for example), then try the restore from the disk image again.

    The Internet boot can take quite a long time. Usually only 2 or 3 minutes, but I have had it take more than 10 minutes to finish booting. The Diagnostic test is normally faster, but waiting is good, too.
    I would abandon the network boot if it does not finish within 20 minutes, but that's just me.
  14. beachball doom thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 1, 2016
    Thanks for the helpful ideas.

    I had another try booting from thumb, this time I ran the line:
    sudo bless --folder /Volumes/USBstick/ --file /Volumes/USBstick/System/Library/CoreServices/.diagnostics/diags.efi --label AHT
    subsequently I could see the AHT drive as a boot option on a healthy mac. On problem mac it took a looooong time to appear as a boot option, about 10minutes. Then I clicked that boot and it seemed to freeze. After at least 20minutes(!!!) the computer rebooted itself and loaded the hardware test. It's a slow business.

    It passed the first hardware test. I don't think it recognizes or tested the hard drive. I'm running the extended test now.

    I'm thinking it may be a bad hdd cable.
  15. beachball doom thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 1, 2016
    I took the hard drive out and put it in another mbp. Booted into a grey screen. Seems like hard drive is gone :-(

    Is it possible that there could be multiple damaged components from a single crash?

    Thanks for the ideas, feel free to add some more. If not good luck.

Share This Page