Very loud, mechanical noise coming from macbbok-seriously need help you guys!

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by roisin and mac, May 6, 2008.

  1. roisin and mac macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2008
    guys I'm really freaking out here, can I ask for some of your time to help me with this.

    On sunday I got a problem with my macbook: I heard a really loud, mechanical sound coming from the bottom of the MB. It went, 'CLACK. whirr...CLACK. whirr...CLACK. whirr' (ie a loud clack, followed by a softer whirr, then a short pause of a second or so, then clack again and so on).

    It did this as I was shutting down: started a couple of seconds after I clicked Shut Down, then stopped once the screen went blank (the noise was the only thing out of the ordinary in the shut down. The action on the screen was what it always is when it's shutting down). I decided to shut down in the first place because I'd noticed it was doing weird stuff before, first in Safari where I was browsing, then when I had all windows closed (applications still running though). What it did in Safari was, it would load pages, then take me straight to the bottom of them and not allow me to scroll up (it would scroll a little then slide back down), plus if I clicked on one of the Menus like File or Bookmarks, it wouldn't stay open once I released the mouse button. So I decide to shut down all the apps and see if there were any updates I'd not installed (unlikely since I'm really careful to always install when I get the messages, but still), when I started to hear this loud TRRRRRRRRRR sound. It was exactly the same sound, tone, pitch and everything as the one the MB produces when you've got hot corners activated to show you all the windows you have running (say), but you take the mouse pointer to the corner when you have no windows open at all. You can try it if you want, it does a short, slightly ascending trrrt! This time it did the same thing, exactly only really extended: trrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. That freaked me proper, so I shut down, and got the other sound I described above, which was even more worrying.

    Still it was sunday, so there was nothing to do, and I just left it there and didn't turn it on 'til monday morning. When I did, it booted up and then shut down as usual, no problems. Still it was a scary thing so I took it straight in to the repair place to see if they could figure out why it did that and more importantly if it's something needing to be fixed.

    And here we get to why I need your help. Where I am Apple is not present as a company, so apple products get distributed by another company called Rainbow, who have a deal with Apple to import these computers (ipods too), and sell them themselves through their website or via a number of 'authorized resellers' (some of them big box chains). these rainbow people take care of the repairs while the machines are under warranty (1 year, no applecare available). It's a cr@ppy system run by a company with a less than ideal reputation, but I figured when I bought my MB in december I wouldn't have to contend with them since I was due to move abroad well before the end of the warranty period, and the MB was unlikely to flip in that time, so I wouldn't have to mess with them but it turns out I was wrong!

    So I needed your input and ideas on what could be wrong with my computer, because I know there's quite a few of you guys here who have owned and repaired macs and generally computers for many years, so I thought I'd draw on all that experience to get an idea of what's going on, because they told me they would take a minimum of five to seven working days (ie until the middle of nest week) to see what's wrong with my machine, and more to get it repaired if there's a need for parts. But right now I was writing something on it that I need to hand in soon, and if it takes so long, I just lose all hope of meeting my deadline because I just don't have access to another computer (I have the file on both time machine and a thumb drive, but no computer to use them with) It is too long to stay without a computer at this stage in the proceedings where I am collating all my information and making it into text--I tried to do it by writing it out on paper, but it took twice as long that way, and it was an easy section too, all dates and stuff:eek:! If I miss the deadline, my next chance if any will be next year :eek::eek: I spoke to them about this this morning (after some really Dell-like experiences with the phone people), and the technician person got snappy and told me that if I didn't like it, I should just come and retrieve my computer without having it looked at.But what if it gets worse after? what if I'm running Keynote there with ,y presentation going and halfway through it begins to act funny?

    Maybe I'll have to do that eventually, but first I wanted to pick you guys' brains as to what it could be, so I can have some kind of an idea what risk I'm running by not letting them check it. I'm really scared, I dunno what's gonna happen with this anymore. I thought I was through this stuff :) I still like my computer but I'm even scared they'll mess it up even worse, I don't trust them like I would a real Apple Store after all I've read about those here and elsewhere.

    thanks for patiently reading this y'all, sorry I lose all ability to be concise when I'm stressed out like that, and I'm stressed as hell.:eek::eek::eek::eek::eek:
  2. Peace macrumors Core


    Apr 1, 2005
    Space--The ONLY Frontier
    Sounds like a hard drive going bad.

    Back up everything ASAP.
  3. BlackMax macrumors 6502a


    Jan 14, 2007
    North Carolina
    If you have an external drive and you haven't already done so, BACKUP YOUR HARD DRIVE. It sounds like your hard drive might be dying.

    If it were me I would backup my harddrive, replace the hard drive with a new hard drive (purchased locally) and then restore my data and see if these noises are gone.

    The harddrive on the MacBook is a relatively easy DIY change and will not void your warranty
  4. merl1n macrumors 65816


    Mar 30, 2008
    New Jersey, USA
    It sounds like your optical (DVD) drive from what you describe.

    Also, you have way too much detail in your post. Try to keep it simple. I had a hard time reading it and others in the forum may just not reply due to all of that reading.
  5. Peace macrumors Core


    Apr 1, 2005
    Space--The ONLY Frontier

    If he's got nothing in the optical drive there's no reason for it to click and spin.
  6. myuserid08 macrumors 6502

    Mar 15, 2008
    Couldn't be bothered reading all that, could be the heads parking which is normal.
  7. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Sounds like harddrive failing. Back up data, make appointment with Apple Store genius bar.
  8. ra noodle Guest

    Mar 14, 2008
    roisin and mac

    i have little computer skill but what you describe were/was/had been almost the exact noises that i had been getting from iomega external drives that i stupidly got...i not only got those similar sounds but the damn thing was physically ripping into the CD etc.
    like the others i think its your HD and i would call apple tell them all this as well as the limitations of local sellers--just maybe Apple might resolve this especially if you tell them you'd not hesitate to continue buying Apple product!!
  9. roisin and mac thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2008
    Thanks for replying so quickly, it means a lot because I'm feeling pretty upset now. I have all of my home folder backed up onto a WD passport drive courtesy of Time Machine. Hope it does ok because the people there said they don't do back ups at all even if you ask and pay for it

    Thanks for telling me about the possibility to change it, I'd not heard of that before (only about the ram). I still don't feel confident doing this at all, I've never done anything similar before, and besides, I would have to buy the had drive separately out of my own pocket, and I'm not sure I can afford it :eek::( When I budgeted for the new laptop I figured I wouldn't have to pay for anything for it for the first year (warranty) and even longer since I'm always careful with my equipment and not klutzy or anything. Fortunately everything is backed up already (gawd bless time machine and western digital lol), but thanks for warning me anyway.

    well, sorry if having to read it made you waste your time, but I genuinely didn't know a way to make it shorter, and I didn't know which parts were irrelevant and could be left out. Sorry I'm not very knowledgeable when it comes to things like that.

    Yeah it's true, I didn't have anything in there. So, probably the optical drive is not the source/location of the problem right?

    A helpful post if ever I saw one ;)

    Thanks for the extra info. Data is already backed up, so fine on that front, but it's no good on the Genius Bar thing. There's no apple store or apple genius in this technological backwater place. That cr@pola Rainbow place is the nearest to it, and they attended the same school of customer service as the people at Dell or somewhere :rolleyes:.
  10. John01021988 macrumors 6502

    May 11, 2007
    If you know how to replace RAM, then replacing the HD is not going to be hard at all. You can find instructions on how to do this at
  11. MacinDoc macrumors 68020


    Mar 22, 2004
    The Great White North
    Definitely sounds like an issue with the HD, and likely one that will be fatal to it. My MB's HD made exactly the same sounds after it permanently failed. And this has been an issue with quite a few MBs.

    If necessary, you can boot the MB from an external USB drive if the internal drive has been removed. You just need to put your OS X DVD in, choose to install it on the external drive, and choose the external drive as your startup disk. This may be an option for your while you wait for a replacement internal HD.

    Diagnosing the problem shouldn't be that difficult for Rainbow. All they have to do is remove the battery, undo 3 screws and a small strip of casing, and pull out the HD sled (all of which takes at most 2 minutes). If they slide the HD into another one of their MBs or an external USB drive case and the drive still makes the same noises, case closed.
  12. roisin and mac thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2008
    physically ripping into the CD? how do you mean? wow that sounds scary. About talking to Apple though, I am definitely going to write a letter describing what happened and how it was handled by the Apple representatives. I am just waiting til I get the full picture. Not that I'm expecting Apple all the way in California to go crazy to resolve this better than Rainbow or anything, because after all they won't be able to actually examine the macbook themselves, so there's not much they can do! But mac users in this country have been trying to get rid of Rainbow for a good while now, and every little bit helps when it comes to letting apple know this company makes them look bad here. There's even a petition running with around 4300 signatures--not bad for a country with a pretty low rate of computer use and ownership I think. No wonder most people here know sweet-fa about macs around here, it's all about the usual stuff of how macs are toy computers and all that. Cripes :rolleyes:

    I don't actually know how to replace ram, it's just that it was something I was sort of fuzzily aware you could do yourself--I haven't done that , either.

    But I gotta thank you for posting that site! I'd come across mentions of it but had completely underestimated what it did. I thought it just sold parts for smart, geeky people to fix up their machines, but this looks like even a non-geek could do it so long as they're not a terminal klutzoid or anything. Now I wish I had an old computer to try and tinker with just for the fun! 'Cause it sure looks like fun! Well, once I'm out of the warranty, I'm replacing the keyboard bit which has a weird euro-keyboard with not just latin alphabet but the local one too, I never liked how it distracted from the clean design. And upgrading the ram and and and :p But only in a couple of years when it's a bit older ;) Ah bless! I looked around the site and learnt lots of things, it really raised my spirits, you can't beat learning interesting stuff for taking you out of a funk lol. you rawk for making me go :cool:

    On the issue at hand though, it's bad news, because I checked the warranty and it says that if the machine has a problem after some non-authorized third party did anything to it, the warranty is void. Other stuff in the same vein too (would take a while to translate), but basically, it doesn't sound as though it would work in my favor to attempt anything like it at this point. Even if I manage it, and having never done it I've no accurate predictor of success, if something else were to happen I could be stuck with a void warranty. I don't trust them enough not to pull something weird :confused:

    But in a couple of years, sure I'll be bashing the plastic over at ifixit ;)

    Thank you very much for this clear, systematic and matter-of-fact contribution; after the customer service waffle, it is much appreciated :)

    You said it made the sounds after it failed. Does that mean it never booted up afterwards until you changed it? Mine did the sounds during shut down, stopped when shut down was over, and did not do them 24 hours later when I did a bootup/shutdown. Is that how it happened with yours, and then it 'failed'? I'm sorry, it could be that I don't fully understand the meaning of 'fail' referring to hard drives :) I mean I can tell it means 'time to say goodbye', but the detail escapes me :)

    Thanks also for your explanation of how a technician would determine what the problem is. It seems a simple experimental procedure I guess. I have no idea why they said they need so long; could be they can't look at it before a certain number of days due to a backlog. But I did tell them about the paper-writing problem, hoping if this was the case, they could shuffle things around a bit and maybe squeeze me in somewhere sooner but it didn't seem to make a difference.

    So I might have to try your idea with the external drive. I imagine this would have to be an external drive like what I used for my Time Machine backups right? I will still need to pay about $140 for a new one, because I don't have an extra one other than what I used for time machine, but I'll do it if I have to, I think it still works out cheaper and safer than trying to install a new internal one myself. My only worry is that they may decide that if I pick it up without letting them run all the checks, I forfeit the right to come back about this later, which could put me in a bit of a spot :eek: But I'm going there tomorrow to talk to them, see if they are more willing to work with me on this if I show up in person. If I need to know the details of how to do that, do you know where I could find more info?

    Everyone, thanks for your help and support. You're the best:D:apple:

  13. MacinDoc macrumors 68020


    Mar 22, 2004
    The Great White North
    My MB HD died right when my MB put itself to sleep due to low battery. When I plugged it in, it was frozen, so I rebooted it. Nothing but grey screen and those mechanical sounds you mentioned.
    If you're within the warranty period, you should have the right to send it back any time for repairs that are due to manufacturer's defects. You should be able to work this out with them. In fact, make sure that they know that you expect to not lose your place in line for the repairs, and that you will bring the machine back as soon as they are ready for it.

    As far as booting your MB from another HD goes, you can use any external USB or FireWire drive (or if you don't mind installing it yourself, any internal notebook drive). It doesn't have to be formatted for Mac. Do you know anyone who has a spare drive kicking around that they can lend you for a few weeks? It just has to have enough storage for OS X and whichever word processor you are using, so a monster-capacity HD is not required.
  14. roisin and mac thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2008

    Just to warn ya though, it's a bit long, if you don't want to read it. I'm real tired and can't write concisely so I just write as I would have spoken if I were telling this live ;)

    I went to Rainbow today to see if by showing up I could be more successful at convincing them to at least look at it quicker. When I got there the woman at the counter checking in the machines (same as last time) recognized me and remembered I'd called about needing it to finish my project, and told me it was ready. Before I got too happy though, she said that the entire episode was my fault since I hadn't installed all the updates, so 'the noise was because the operating system wasn't up-to-date'. I clarified which noise she meant, and she said the mechanical noise--no explanation given on the earlier trrrrrrrr noise or the odd Safari behavior. It came as kind of a surprise really, because I've been really diligent when it comes to updates. I ALWAYS install them exactly when I get the message from Updates--I seriously dump anything I'm doing and do the download right there and then, even when it involves a restart--it's just not something I'm willing to mess with. So I still feel kinda in the dark as to what happened & how.

    When I bought the computer, the reseller people had opened the box and set it up for me (didn't ask them to, they just did it of their own accord), and I checked that they had set up updates so that I got notified. I was expressly told I didn't need to look for updates myself, so I didn't :) I asked the person at the service counter to explain to me what more I could have done to prevent this from happening, but she didn't know and she wouldn't let me speak to the techies round the back so one of them could explain it. Can any of you helpful and knowledgeable people explain it a bit better to me maybe (sucking up, moi? :p ah well, 'tain't sucking up if 'tis true!)

    Anyway, I was due to take my beloved MB home with me, when on opening the lid to check everything seemed to work before taking off, I saw the screen was in a heck of a state (had handed it in in the usual immaculate condition I like to keep it in). I started to get scared aaall over again (remembering the girl's fag-end over the open battery compartment on monday, yikes!), so I checked the screen, and there it was, my big screen-related fear: a scratch. Not a great long one, about a half inch, but it was still kinda upsetting--I'm dead keen on keeping it in great shape. I mean see here, I don't remember being more inanely pleased with anything I have owned since I was like 11 and got a playmobil medieval castle for Christmas. Just 5 months of using it, and I cherish that thing! Then some guys I ain't even allowed to talk to myself go and put a scratch on it?? Hunh :mad:. Anyway I pointed this out to the woman, who after pretending there was nothing there, eventually had to accept there was, so to prove it was not a scratch, vigorously rubbed over it with her finger before I had a chance to stop her :rolleyes: I asked her to fetch a cloth to clean the screen, see what if anything was really damage and what was just smudges (didn't have my clean up stuff with me), which she did after some whining and eyerolling, and began to clean it. Some of the scratch thing looked less pronounced after that, but it was still clearly there, as were a bunch of other unidentified marks I had initially thought would go away with a little wipedown, like little drops of liquid. Those wouldn't go, and when I started to ask what was the matter with those, the chick stated they were there when it was brought in. Hoo boy, she really shouldn't have said that, it pushed my buttons. I clean the MB religiously every weekend, which is more often than I change my own sheets (tmi :D), i'd even done it the very same morning, what the heck?

    Anyway I got freaked out--they kept a 5-month old machine for just two days and got its screen like that, who's to say what went on inside? plus generally, I have yet to come across a place were the skills were good but the service was bad, so there was that too making me not trust them as much as I wanted to--so I had to leave my MB there to go and speak to one of their Customer service higher-up folks, who said she'd look into it and call me tomorrow *shrug*.

    What do you guys think I ought to do about the screen issues? They are not hugely pronounced or anything, but they do bother me in that I'd rather any damage to my macbook was done by myself :p Seriously though I'm also worried about all the stuff you hear about dead pixels--I'm not sure what that is and how much of a concern it would be, and if it is important, how likely it is some of the treatment it received will result in that. Bear in mind I didn't get a chance to boot up the laptop--the stuff on the screen took the discussion elsewhere and where things went, I had to go talk to the customer service person--so I still don't know how that works out.

    Meanwhile, I'm writing this on my mom's local-chain-store-built Windows laptop, which is noisy, and hot as the seventh ring of hell :p, and I'm really missing my little guy :) I guess it doesn't help I'm youtubing ibook videos on the firefox tab next door;)

Share This Page