dead (I think) Macbook Pro - need advice please

Posted:
in Genius Bar edited January 2014
2008 pre-unibody MBP. Didn't wake from sleep. When I lifted the lid, the white pulsing light became steady, but the screen remained black. Keys, etc., were unresponsive. Had to shut down by holding the power button. It doesn't seem to be merely a display issue. When I power it back up, and wait long enough that it should be booted up, then close the lid to put it back to sleep, the light still remains steady and I hear the fan-like sound of the hard drive spinning. So it doesn't seem to be fully booting. I tried putting my Snow Leopard disc in (the CD drive whirs on startup), thinking I might be able to boot from disc, but no go; and now the disc won't eject either. Screen has remained completely dark during all this.



I replaced the hard drive in December with a 500GB Hitachi because I needed more space -- it was a clone-externally-then-swap job that went smoothly and had been working just fine since.



I have been doing Time Machine backups to a G-Drive Mini, so I still have everything.



Advice appreciated. I'd like to know if this is symptomatic of a hard drive failure, or if it sounds like this thing is dead.



-typed on a Samsung netbook.



EDIT:

I should add that this computer is treated VERY nicely. Never handled roughly. Only has one scratch in 3-1/2 years of use. So it couldn't be caused by shock or abuse.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 3
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,804moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by frugality View Post


    Advice appreciated. I'd like to know if this is symptomatic of a hard drive failure, or if it sounds like this thing is dead.



    A hard drive failure would typically boot to a screen with a flashing folder icon and it would allow you to boot from the system disc. The drive likely wouldn't spin up fully either.



    First thing to try would be an SMC reset by removing the battery and power cable, press and hold the power button for 5 seconds, then put the power cable back in and boot up - I'd leave the battery out to eliminate it as a problem.



    If you have an external display or TV with VGA input and a suitable adaptor, try plugging it in and see if it shows anything while booting.



    Also try removing each of your RAM chips in turn and booting up:



    http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Repair/I...1260-RAM/652/1



    If nothing works, you may be looking at a logic board or GPU failure. These machines had the old 8600M GT GPUs that broke due to a manufacturing defect.
  • Reply 2 of 3
    frugalityfrugality Posts: 410member
    Thanks for the tips! Did all but the monitor check, since I didn't have a monitor or TV. No dice. Took a drive to the Apple store thinking it'd be a 'recovery' case, so I wanted to know how best to go about retrieving my files. Turns out they are replacing those graphics cards for free -- even though my MBP is 3-1/2 years old and I don't have Apple Care. So my MBP is 'in hock' at the moment, but looks to be coming back as a working machine soon...



    Thanks again
  • Reply 3 of 3
    parttimerparttimer Posts: 250member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    A hard drive failure would typically boot to a screen with a flashing folder icon and it would allow you to boot from the system disc.



    Not necessarily. The internal HD and the DVD drive share the same I/O port on the motherboard. If the HD has crashed it may have frozen/blocked the I/O port on the motherboard: the MBP will try to read the installation DVD (if you're in a quiet place you can hear that), but fail. Because no data gets through to the CPU on the motherboard. So the MBP won't start up from the DVD. Although there is nothing wrong with either the motherboard or the DVD drive.

    That happened to me last year. Same symptoms on my MBP as the OP's. Whence I also thought the motherboard was fried. So I took it to the Apple Tech center (where they explained that shared I/O port thing to me) and picked it up the day after, fully functional and with a new HD. Free of charge under the Apple Care plan (extended warranty for 3 years).



    The lads there DID stiff me however! Because my MBP felt decidedly sluggish after that episode, but I couldn't put my finger on what caused that. It was almost 2 months later when finally the penny dropped for me:

    they had replaced my 7200 RPM HD with a 5400 RPM one...

    But there was also a bonus: the new HD came with Snow Leopard preinstalled (the crashed one ran under Leopard)...



    Time Machine, in any case, was a lifesaver. As usual.

    And a time saver: one-and-a-half hours after I got the MBP back with the new HD the entire contents of the old one had been restored to the new one, and it it was up and running exactly as it was just before the old HD crashed.
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