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Unable to log into Mac OS X-Puts me back at login screen

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Hello,
 
I have a MacBook Pro that I believe is approximately a 2006 model. It is running OS X Lion.  The problem I have just started this evening.
I was using the laptop and some applications were not working properly. I tried to open an app called Things and also Word.  Both would bounce in the dock like they were opening but then would stop and never opened.
 
I then rebooted the mac because of this and have been unable to get in since then.  When it gets to the login screen I have an option to log into my ID or as Guest. I choose my ID and enter my password and press enter.  It acts like it's logging in but then goes to a white screen with the pointer and then back to the login screen like I never logged in.  I then of course click on the icon for my ID once again and enter my password for the same thing to happen again.  It's like an endless loop and takes around 10-15 secs with a white screen and goes back to the login screen.
 
I'm not sure if this is connected but for the last 1-2 months I've had this issue with it freezing up/rebooting.  It seems to happen when I am running many apps at once or doing something else that's very intensive.  Often what I experience is the entire screen locks up or the dock locks up.  Sometimes it will just turn off, sometimes it will reboot, sometimes it goes to a black screen with a lot of white writing where I need to restart.  Some days it happens several times a day and other times once a week. I simply have not spent the time to look into it. I hope that this earlier issue is not a logic board since that would not be worth fixing but I have concerns that it may be memory.  It has the full 4GB installed.  Also, I used Data Rescue 3 to analyze my hard drive a couple weeks ago and it was showing many spikes where they say your hard drive is getting close to failure so I had planned to put a new hard drive in in another week or so.
 
The reason I'm describing the earlier incident is I'm wondering if they are related.  I have done a boot with the Option key pressed to get into the screen where I can choose Restore Disk.  I then used disk utility and seems it found a few errors that I believe it repaired but I still have the same issue.  Fortunately I have a cloned drive using SuperDuper that was done about a week ago and I use Time Machine and it had backed up about 30 mins before this incident. I am wondering if I should choose the option to restore from Time Machine.  Since I did some work in the minutes before this I don't want to take that option yet.  
 
Does anyone have any idea what's causing this and how I can repair it?  
 
Thank you.
post #2 of 3
If the drive software is reporting that it is close to failure, you should fix that as soon as possible. Hard drives should only be expected to last about 5 years - they can last longer but your machine is 6 years old now:

http://www.dailytech.com/Study+Hard+Drive+MTBF+Ratings+Highly+Exaggerated/article6404.htm

"real world tests in the study showed a consistent average failure of about six years."

I guess you must have a Core 2 Duo as you were able to install Lion on it. You might want to consider an SSD instead of a hard drive. It is a bit wasted as you only have 1.5Gbps SATA but it will still be much faster than your old drive and offer a decent speed improvement overall.

If you are happy with the storage capacity you have, a smaller drive would suffice such as the following:

http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Electronics-sata_6_0_gb-2-5-Inch-MZ-7TD120BW/dp/B009NHAF06/ref=dp_ob_title_ce

The 256GB version is quite affordable too though. You just do what you've done already but boot from your Superduper clone - hold alt/option while the drive is connected via USB or firewire and try booting from it. Then clone that to your SSD and install it in the machine.
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

I was able to successfully boot from the SuperDuper cloned drive this morning so it seems that the hard drive is likely the issue.  This system came with a 160GB drive but I upgraded it to another drive at a later point. I have a 500GB drive now but I was getting low on space so was planning to upgrade in the near future.

I just ordered a 750GB drive from an online store.  I like your suggestion of a SSD.  This laptop is old but I hope to get at least one more year out of this laptop and I plan to get the new Retina 15" Macbook Pro.  I'm hoping during that time the price either goes down or I can get a larger SSD.  Unfortunately as you can tell I use a lot of data so to get the size SSD I want the price is very high.  

Of all things my fiancee's MacBook Pro's HD failed about 2 weeks ago.  She had a 640GB and had a shop upgrade it to a 750GB drive and that's the size I'm going to have put in mine.  Hers was just under 3 years old so was still under warranty but mine is definitely older.  I would imagine SSD's have their issues also but I'm ready to switch to SSD and away from standard HD's.  I know the speed increase and other features are well worth it.

Thank you for your advice and at least this new hard drive should keep me going for a year or more until I get the new MacBook Pro.  

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