Original poster
Aug 31, 2010
Hi Everyone,

I am a bit exasperated really and looking for a little help as to next step. Approx 3 months ago, I purchased a 13" MBP. This was approx 3 weeks prior to refresh (approximatly). One night I closed the MBP and put it on my chair and went to bed.

Next morning it was burning hot and the screen wouldn't come on. Long story short, the guy in the Apple store replaced it, although it was just over 2 weeks old. The Genii say yep it is knackered. Straight swap

All well and good. I put all my stuff back on, set it up etc. EXACTLY the same thing happens about 3 weeks later. Genii again agree it is knackered.

This time I speak to the manager and they swap it for a 15" with a hefty discount on the cost of the upgrade. All is great, until tonight. Same thing happened. Screen stays dark but the machine gets VERY VERY VERY hot.

The real pee take is that I bought not only a case for it today but also an Airport and additional charger.

I mean, what can it be. This isn't my first Mac. I had a MBP G4, a MBP Core Duo, Mac Quicksilver and a Mac Mini.

The only thing I can possibly think is that because I run a lot of VMs at once it is spiking the CPU in some way that causes a heat spike that borks the board when left running. I have never actually had it go off whilst using it.

I did a SMC reset on all 3, no effect btw.

What do I do now ? I mean the store are going to be arsey, but it isn't me


macrumors 65816
Apr 25, 2005
Canada, eh!
Unfortunately you got a string of lemons (pun intended!). All you can do is go back. It's your right. It's a hassle, yes.


macrumors 604
Oct 24, 2013
Actually it could well be you.

If it is the same problem every time then it could well be an incompatible bit of software that you keep reloading onto your MAC.


Jan 3, 2014
If it is the same problem every time then it could well be an incompatible bit of software that you keep reloading onto your MAC.

This. Three lemons with issues is one thing but the chances of three lemons with the same symptoms of failure and the lead up to it is infinitesimally small.

I'd suspect a combination of something preventing sleep and running the CPUs hard. Even then it seems hard to believe it causes harm - what happened when everything cooled down?


macrumors 6502a
Jan 8, 2007
Sunny but Cold.. Canada
Hmmm.. 3x with the same results is unlikley, so __

Well, as above I must wonder if it is something running on 'in the dark' perhaps ~ and let us 'assume' that you are telling them exactly what you are doing/ the machines go back in loaded as they were when crashing (so that the 'experts' can attempt to assess the cause) and accordingly they are none the wiser ~ If so, then I guess you must continue the MBP Exchange Carousel Dance..

** That being said, above you mention
One night I closed the MBP and put it on my chair and went to bed.
~ could you enlighten us as to what was running still and whether it was actually asleep before you were..?? If it was put to sleep, do you think it perhaps Woke Up and continued on some chores while sitting there closed.. and that something similar happened with another TWO machines?? I have a few chairs in my house that IF a computer was set down shoved into the cushions while 'running hot' and continued to run WITH the lid closed, that there is a very good chance that it would Burn Up as well!! You cannot jam your grille on your car full of fluff while driving down the highway, and modern computers are really not much different in that respect.. ;)

Good Luck with the Quest, I hope it is a simple fix, eventually!!


macrumors 6502a
Jun 24, 2012
So is it waking from sleep due to the large number of VMs and then not being able to sleep again due to some processes preventing it?

Then it simply overheats because it's on a chair and it's closed up.

What happens if you sleep it but leave it open?

If you wake up and the machine is already awake then it's clearly some software clash causing this - three machines in two slightly different product lines that fail in the same way after the same amount of time suggests a common factor that *isn't* the machine itself.

I suspect software, followed by some environmental factor that cooks the machine despite the safety cut out system.


macrumors 68020
Aug 22, 2014
When you close your MBP, do you shut down the virtual machines first? If not, that's probably it.


macrumors 6502a
Feb 9, 2008
When you close your MBP, do you shut down the virtual machines first? If not, that's probably it.

I agree that if the OP has had 3 computers spread over 2 models fail in exactly the same way within a matter of weeks, then that is too much of a coincidence to ignore.

HOWEVER, everyday software should NOT be able to cause the computer hardware to self-destruct. If it does, then that is a problem with and a fault of the design of the hardware, not the software. The hardware should be capable of protecting itself from things like overheating, whether by throttling down the clock rate of the CPU/GPU or, in extreme cases, fully shutting off entirely. Whatever it takes to prevent permanent physical damage to itself.

Sure, if you have a piece of software that is designed to circumvent these safety measures (e.g., something that is able to wrestle fan control away from the SMC), then that's another thing entirely. But we aren't talking about that. If VMware is actually what is killing the OP's machines (which I doubt), then that would be Apple's fault. It's not the responsibility of the software to make sure it doesn't overtax the hardware it is running on; it is the responsibility of the hardware to prevent itself from being overtaxed.

Personally, I think there is more to this story than we know...I don't think VMware or another piece of end-user software is what is at fault, but there is definitely something fishy going on. Power spikes/surges? Improper ventilation (as someone else theorized, maybe it's a really cushy chair that it's being set on at night, and that's causing the air intake holes to be blocked on the bottom sides of the computer)? Who knows at this point. But it is absolutely not normal for MacBooks to fail like this. I don't want to throw the OP under the bus, but the odds are that user error is somehow a factor here.

-- Nathan
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