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Claire
16-12-2009, 04:29 PM
Calling all Apple experts again!

My Macbook has sort of died! All I get is a grey screen with the Apple logo and a turning gear wheel. I've tried pressing command - option - P - R on start up and I've tried starting up in safe mode but nothing helps. After 5 mins of the grey screen the Macbook turns itself off. We've booked an appointment at Apple Southampton for Sunday but is there anything I can try in the meantime?

Skywatcher
16-12-2009, 04:36 PM
Hmm the mains is working ok? sounds abit power supplyish to my uneducated brain

catrancher
16-12-2009, 04:56 PM
is there anything I can try in the meantime?

Couple of things. I assume you have your original DVD (or CD) that Mac OS X came on. Should have come with your MacBook. Or the latest one you got if you've bought any OS upgrades (Leopard, Snow Leopard, etc.). Anyway, grab that disk. Now try this:


Insert the DVD.
Restart your mac (you may need to hold down the power key till it shuts off, then press again to restart)
Press and hold the "C" key on the keyboard while it starts. This will boot off the DVD.
Choose your preferred language when it boots up.
From the menu bar, choose "Utility -> Disc Utility".
In Disc Utility, choose "First Aid - > Repair Disk". Just let this run. May take a while.
Still in Disc Utility, choose "Repair Permissions". Again, this may take a while.


At this point, you can try to reboot your Mac. That "may" fix it. Or not. :mental:

Beyond this, you'd need to have a good backup to do more. You do have a backup don't you? You've been running Time Machine. Correct?

Tom (:macwave:... :fingers: )

keith
16-12-2009, 05:04 PM
Put your ear next to it when you turn it on, can you here a tick .... tick..... type of noise or anything?

Sounds to me like your hard disk may have died (gulp)

keith
16-12-2009, 05:07 PM
Didn't see Tom's reply! That's definitely the thing to do though.. fingers crossed it's just a soft fault not a bad disk

Claire
16-12-2009, 05:11 PM
OK, I've tried inserting the disk and it won't take it (possibly a disc or DVD already in there) and listening to it when I press the power button I get a very brief and very feint clicking kind of noise.

Keith if the hard disc has died are we looking at new Macbook or new hard disk?

ukwdwnut
16-12-2009, 05:14 PM
new hard disk will be the thing to get if its out of warranty, not need to buy a whole knew one :)

keith
16-12-2009, 05:15 PM
OK, I've tried inserting the disk and it won't take it (possibly a disc or DVD already in there) and listening to it when I press the power button I get a very brief and very feint clicking kind of noise.

By far the simplest way is to reboot the machine, and press and hold the trackpad button at the startup tone until the disk comes out. If it doesnt and you're SURE Theres one in there, we can try other things


Keith if the hard disc has died are we looking at new Macbook or new hard disk?

New hard disk but you've likely lost whatevers on there unless you've backed it up or are willing to pay for data restore services

Claire
16-12-2009, 05:19 PM
New hard disk but you've likely lost whatevers on there unless you've backed it up or are willing to pay for data restore services

Photos and iTunes?

catrancher
16-12-2009, 05:21 PM
Photos and iTunes?

Have you been running backups? Time Machine? (Please say "yes"!) :unsure:

Tom (:macwave:... hoping for the best!)

Claire
16-12-2009, 05:21 PM
I've got a horrible feeling I'm going to be learning the harsh lesson of what happens if you don't back things up very soon.

Claire
16-12-2009, 05:23 PM
Have you been running backups? Time Machine? (Please say "yes"!) :unsure:

Tom (:macwave:... hoping for the best!)

:sorry:

catrancher
16-12-2009, 05:23 PM
I've got a horrible feeling I'm going to be learning the harsh lesson of what happens if you don back things up very soon.

:sigh:

Oh well... let's just wait and see how bad this actually is first. Did you do like Keith said; restart while holding down the trackpad button?

Tom (:macwave:... we're trying!)

ukwdwnut
16-12-2009, 05:25 PM
all is not lost claire

keith can you hook up a mac hard disc with a pcmcia card/cable so the drive is not used as a bootable disk just another drive just to see if the drive can have its contents backed up?

Claire
16-12-2009, 05:26 PM
:sigh:

Oh well... let's just wait and see how bad this actually is first. Did you do like Keith said; restart while holding down the trackpad button?

Tom (:macwave:... we're trying!)

Yep. Nothing happens.

Skywatcher
16-12-2009, 05:29 PM
I reckon its not plugged in ;)

ukwdwnut
16-12-2009, 05:31 PM
I reckon its not plugged in ;)

dont macs have batteries then, or are they an extra :wink: :lol:

Claire
16-12-2009, 05:32 PM
I reckon its not plugged in ;)

Is that code for "Here, borrow my iMac"?

keith
16-12-2009, 05:36 PM
Is that code for "Here, borrow my iMac"?

Game, set and match to Claire :lol:

catrancher
16-12-2009, 05:49 PM
Yep. Nothing happens.

Hmmm.... Ok.

Keith... do you think she might have a DVD stuck in there that it's trying to boot from? That could "possibly" explain the stuck grey screen. If so, we could try the old cardboard trick but I don't want to recommend that without a consensus. So... your thots?

Tom (:macwave:... digging real deep into his bag 'o tricks!)

keith
16-12-2009, 05:52 PM
Hmmm.... Ok.

Keith... do you think she might have a DVD stuck in there that it's trying to boot from? That could "possibly" explain the stuck grey screen. If so, we could try the old cardboard trick but I don't want to recommend that without a consensus. So... your thots?


Well, if there's something else in there that's bootable, in theory holding down the ALT key whilst booting should throw up a little menu offering a choice of booting from the DVD/CD or the Hard disc.

So that would help us diagnose a little further.

If it does prove to be a DVD then it's the cardboard trick, but I'm going to be holding my breath and fearful to watch the whole time if we go down that route.

catrancher
16-12-2009, 06:01 PM
Well, if there's something else in there that's bootable, in theory holding down the ALT key whilst booting should throw up a little menu offering a choice of booting from the DVD/CD or the Hard disc.

Ahhh... yes. Ala Bootcamp. Okay, we'll give that a shot first.

Claire,

Reboot your machine and hold down the "alt/option" key on the keyboard. You should get a little graphic on your screen that let's you choose which device you want to boot from. In your case, hopefully your hard disk will be an option. If you do get that option, just click on the icon representing your hard disk. Give that a try and let us know how or if it works.

Tom (:macwave:... remote diagnostics... it's a struggle!)

Claire
16-12-2009, 06:18 PM
When shall I hold down the alt key Tom? Before, during or after the chime when I turn on the power?

Claire
16-12-2009, 06:22 PM
Ok, I held it down as I hit the power button and it gave me only the hard drive as an option. I've selected it but am still only getting the greyish White screen, apple symbol and spinning
gear wheel thing.

catrancher
16-12-2009, 06:25 PM
Ok, I held it down as I hit the power button and it gave me only the hard drive as an option. I've selected it but am still only getting the greyish White screen, apple symbol and spinning
gear wheel thing.

Ok... we need to get you booted off your DVD that has Mac OS X on it. You said before that you couldn't get it in the disk drive. That it felt like there was something in there already. Is that still the case?

Oh... and is your Macbook a silver one or one of the white polycarbonate ones?

Tom (:macwave:... thinking, thinking...)

josh.p.
16-12-2009, 06:29 PM
Do you have someone you can lend an external CD drive off?

Claire
16-12-2009, 06:37 PM
White one tom. When I go to insert the disc it goes so far in and then nothing. Not so much like hitting a physical barrier, more just nothing grabs hold of it and pulls it into the drive. Does that make sense?

I have an external hard drive somewhere Josh. Is that the same thing?

catrancher
16-12-2009, 06:45 PM
White one tom. When I go to insert the disc it goes so far in and then nothing. Not so much like hitting a physical barrier, more just nothing grabs hold of it and pulls it into the drive. Does that make sense?

I have an external hard drive somewhere Josh. Is that the same thing?

Hmmm... that's odd. Are you pushing it far enough in? On my Macbook Pro, I've got to push the DVD almost all the way in before it get's grabbed. Can you push it in that far? So that only about 1/4 of inch is sticking out (9 or 10 mm if you prefer metric).

I'm afraid the external drive isn't going to do you much good in this situation. We need something we can boot off of and I doubt that your external has Mac OS X on it. Although once we get you fixed, it may be an option for Time Machine backups. :yes:

Tom (:macwave:... something's gotta work!)

Skywatcher
16-12-2009, 06:47 PM
Does it grab it when you are on the boot screen (you know when it offers you the HD to boot from)

Claire
16-12-2009, 06:53 PM
Yes Chris! Disk is in! I've selected it. What now? It's Mac OS X Install disc 1 btw.

Skywatcher
16-12-2009, 06:55 PM
Click it !

:macwave: I helped :thud:

catrancher
16-12-2009, 07:07 PM
Yes Chris! Disk is in! I've selected it. What now? It's Mac OS X Install disc 1 btw.

Like Chris said, click it! (Yay!)

Your Mac should now boot off the install DVD. Once it does, do like I said in this earlier post (http://wdisneysecrets.com/forums/181302-post3.html) from step 4 on. Then we'll see what we've got!

Tom (:macwave:... yaay!! Progress!! All hail Chris!)

Skywatcher
16-12-2009, 07:10 PM
It's nice to know we have the apple stores as backup though. Never felt that way with windows.

Claire
16-12-2009, 07:12 PM
Getting funny looks at a carol service so will do that as soon as I get back home.

catrancher
16-12-2009, 07:14 PM
Never felt that way with windows.

Agreed. While they're not perfect, the Apple stores are a whole lot easier to deal with than trying to get support out of Redmond. :mental:

Unless you're a very big corporate customer with monumentally deep pockets!

Tom (:macwave:... who works for one of those biggies with deep pockets!)

josh.p.
16-12-2009, 07:56 PM
Great stuff Claire. When I said external CD drive I meant a CD/DVD drive rather than a HDD, but thinking back now it wouldn't be bootable since it'd probably need an install or something :unsure:

Skywatcher
16-12-2009, 08:04 PM
:fingers:

just turned on the imac to learn about time machine.

hope it works claire I really do xx

keith
16-12-2009, 08:05 PM
Time machine is truly great :yes: I've recently set it up for mum for her macbook and she's already been able to retrieve older versions of documents and the like.

catrancher
16-12-2009, 08:21 PM
just turned on the imac to learn about time machine.

And then when you need a new wireless base station, you can get one of these:

Time Capsule (http://store.apple.com/uk/product/MC343/Time-Capsule-1TB?mco=MTM3NDY2ODg)

Works with Time Machine to provide a complete wireless backup solution!

Tom (:macwave:... I'm holding out for the 2 TB one!)

Skywatcher
16-12-2009, 08:22 PM
ok it took me the grand total of 5 minutes to learn how to partition my hard drive and use it as a backup disk, this machine is soooo easy to use - you can even click and drag the window to make the disc as large or small as you like. I know I should be using an external drive as a backup really but at least I have somewhere to backup stuff to but that will come with time.

The intention was to get XP on as soon as I got the computer so I could have windows if I wanted , but do ya know what - I simply haven't wanted to so far :lol: - I need it on the macbook pro as some of my astro software just wont run in mac but so far my iMac is pure OS and it may well stay so unless a game wont load :lol:

Claire
16-12-2009, 08:31 PM
I've encountered a problem. I click repair disk "Macintosh HD". It does it's thing for a minute or so and then I get a message saying -

First Aid failed

Disk utllity stopped repairing "Macintosh HD" because the following error was encountered:

The underlying task reported failure on exit

Skywatcher
16-12-2009, 08:33 PM
I would try again and then go to the apple shop.

But thats someone who knows nothing

Sure there are some magic beans they can rub into it at the store hun :fingers:

keith
16-12-2009, 08:35 PM
Sounds like a bad hard disk to me :( Chris is right, one more try then take it to the Apple store.

Ask them if they can get back the info for you and even if they say no, tell them you want to take the old drive back with you. As mr. ukwdwnut says, if you know someone who's reasonably savvi, they will be able to attach it as an external and SEE if they can save anything. Chances are slim but still.

Claire
16-12-2009, 08:40 PM
Ok. One more try. :fingers: everyone. I will let you know.

Skywatcher
16-12-2009, 08:42 PM
:fingers:


by the power of greyskull...........

Claire
16-12-2009, 09:03 PM
No joy sadly. Thanks for your input and help everyone. Looks like a trip to Southampton for me. :(

catrancher
16-12-2009, 09:08 PM
Sorry Claire!

However, like Keith said, if they have to replace the disk, make sure they give you the old one back!!!!

It can be mounted in an external enclosure with a USB interface and possibly used as an external drive. There are even products available that "might" be able to recover your music and photos. Here's one example of a product that gets pretty good reviews:

DiskWarrior (http://www.alsoft.com/Diskwarrior/index.html)

But once you get everything fixed, please, please start using Time Machine to backup your Mac! :yes:

Tom (:macwave:... sorry we couldn't get it fixed for you!)

Skywatcher
16-12-2009, 09:13 PM
:( :sorry:

josh.p.
16-12-2009, 09:26 PM
Uh-oh! :(

You can get a HD caddy for only like 10 on eBay!

catrancher
17-12-2009, 01:22 PM
Hey Claire,

Just an FYI... you "may" be able to replace the hard drive in your macbook by yourself if you're interested. I was just checking my favorite site for Mac laptop repair info (this is them (http://www.powerbookmedic.com/)). I've used them in the past a couple of times when I've upgraded the disk drives in both the MacBook Pro's that I've owned.

If your Macbook is the white 13" inch one that's a couple of years old, it's might be the A1181 model. If it is, the replacement of the hard drive looks trivial. Here's a link to the PDF document that shows how to do it (http://www.powerbookmedic.com/Manuals/13-inch-macbook-manual.pdf). And here's a link to some videos that show how (http://www.powerbookmedic.com/manual.php?id=1).

Looks like about the only tool you'd need is a coin (or something) to open the battery compartment and a small phillips head screwdriver. As Mac repairs go, this one looks ridiculously simple.

Of course, that's only if you've got the 13" Macbook (A1181).

All we'd have to do is find you a new internal drive. You can pick those up pretty cheaply.

Tom (:macwave:... should we explore this option further?)

Skywatcher
17-12-2009, 01:33 PM
If my past experience of computer problems is any judge it will start to work as soon as the chap in the shop turns it on

catrancher
18-12-2009, 05:36 PM
Here's another set of articles on upgrading your own hard drive in the various Mac models. Once again, the Macbook looks really easy!

Mac hard drive upgrades/replacement (http://www.macworld.com/article/145116/2009/12/upgradingharddrives.html?lsrc=rss_main)

Tom (:macwave:... always in favor of do it yourself. Especially if the warranties expired! :laugh2: )

Claire
18-12-2009, 06:37 PM
Looks simple! Anyone know how much I can expect to pay for a new hard drive?

Tink
18-12-2009, 06:41 PM
I don't know about a hard drive but adding more memory was so simple it stumped us for about a year! :laugh: Seriously! :lol: It was nothing more difficult than drop and click into place. It was the click that got us! :D :D

We are true tekkies now though that we got the click to click! :D :D

I'll bet you could replace that hard drive in a nano second, Claire! :yes:

keith
18-12-2009, 08:34 PM
Looks simple! Anyone know how much I can expect to pay for a new hard drive?

It's reallllly easy as long as you have a small enough screwdriver :) price, depends on how large a drive you buy but basically 30ish quid at the cheapy computer places up to 50 at the expensive places :)

catrancher
18-12-2009, 08:38 PM
small enough screwdriver :)

Phillips head. And a T8 Torx driver. :thumbsup:

Tom (:macwave:... really... it's pretty easy!)

daveann
18-12-2009, 09:26 PM
your all so technical here :) off to hide where i can understand whats being said :)

Claire
21-12-2009, 04:23 PM
Anyone got a spare hard drive? Good news is the data on the old one should be reasonably easy to recover.

Skywatcher
21-12-2009, 04:26 PM
great - the loss of data is a grim prospect :sigh:

I'm sure the great Keith will be along with a bargain store in a sec who will do you a good deal - looking at mine it looks like th easiest thing in the world to change :yes:

Claire
22-12-2009, 10:28 AM
Well I've purchased a replacement hard drive from eBay and have fitted it as per instructions but all I get is a black screen and a flashing power light. I've tried booting from the disc to install the OS X but nothing. I'm properly stumped!

keith
22-12-2009, 10:34 AM
Well I've purchased a replacement hard drive from eBay and have fitted it as per instructions but all I get is a black screen and a flashing power light. I've tried booting from the disc to install the OS X but nothing. I'm properly stumped!

you haven't accidently displaced the memory modules have you? may be worth checking that theyre still in firmly

Claire
22-12-2009, 10:51 AM
Two little green card things fell out at one point but I just slotted them back in. I've just gone and checked them again and they're as far in as I can push them but the L bracket doesn't seem to fit as flush as it did before. Yet I'm sure the green card thingys are the right way round. Should I admit defeat and take up knitting?

keith
22-12-2009, 10:54 AM
Two little green card things fell out at one point but I just slotted them back in. I've just gone and checked them again and they're as far in as I can push them but the L bracket doesn't seem to fit as flush as it did before. Yet I'm sure the green card thingys are the right way round. Should I admit defeat and take up knitting?

You've displaced the memory for sure then, that l bracket doesnt fit flush if you havent got the memory in properly and you get black screen + flashing light. You need to take off that L bracket again and carefully align up the memory and make sure it clicks back.

Claire
22-12-2009, 11:23 AM
Got it! Thanks Keith. Now my problem is when I go to install Mac OS X it asks me to select a destination but gives me no options. Any ideas?

keith
22-12-2009, 11:26 AM
Got it! Thanks Keith. Now my problem is when I go to install Mac OS X it asks me to select a destination but gives me no options. Any ideas?

Did you select the "erase & install" option?
That will format your drive before installing OS X. You will almost definitely need to format the drive somehow if it is a new drive.

If no go, you can choose disk utility from the menu at the top and you want to choose the "Mac OS Extended (journalled)" as the format in Disk Utility.

Claire
22-12-2009, 11:32 AM
Ok. Got that! You're uber clever! It's now checking my installation DVD.

keith
22-12-2009, 11:33 AM
Ok. Got that! You're uber clever! It's now checking my installation DVD.

great stuff, easy going from here on in, just relax and it'll do it's funky thang :yes:

Claire
22-12-2009, 11:47 AM
One more question then I'll leave you in peace! I can't find my Leopard Disc. Can I just go straight to Snow Leopard? I haven't got it but I'm sure if I smile sweetly at Santa...

keith
22-12-2009, 12:01 PM
One more question then I'll leave you in peace! I can't find my Leopard Disc. Can I just go straight to Snow Leopard? I haven't got it but I'm sure if I smile sweetly at Santa...

yep straight to SL should be fine :yes:

catrancher
22-12-2009, 12:52 PM
:peekaboo:

:happydance: :happydance: :happydance: :happydance: :happydance:

So, how's it going now Claire?

Tom (:macwave:... late to the party due to time zones!)

Claire
22-12-2009, 01:24 PM
Found leopard, currently installing. All is well with the world.

Skywatcher
22-12-2009, 01:47 PM
:fingers:

Claire
22-12-2009, 02:39 PM
:bouncing::flowerbounce::bounce:

Skywatcher
22-12-2009, 02:57 PM
Is this posted from your macbook?

catrancher
22-12-2009, 03:05 PM
:bouncing::flowerbounce::bounce:

Hmmm... I take it that everything worked ok then? :unsure:

Also, keep in mind, you can get an external carrier for your old drive that will turn it into a USB external drive. Something like this (http://www.powerbookmedic.com/External-SATA-35-Hard-Drive-Enclosure-for-Mac-p-17410.html). Of course, you'd probably need to find one over in the UK. You can install your old hard drive in one of these and then use the whole thing as an external USB drive. Then you can try to recover your data off the old drive that's now an external drive. Cool, huh! If the drive is in good enough shape, you "could" even use it for an external Time Machine backup drive. Although I might be a little careful with this last bit. If the drive was going bad before, it was happening for a reason.

Tom (:macwave:... self service computer repair for fun and profit!)

Claire
22-12-2009, 03:07 PM
Is this posted from your macbook?
:D:yes::D

Hmmm... I take it that everything worked ok then? :unsure:

Also, keep in mind, you can get an external carrier for your old drive that will turn it into a USB external drive. Something like this (http://www.powerbookmedic.com/External-SATA-35-Hard-Drive-Enclosure-for-Mac-p-17410.html). Of course, you'd probably need to find one over in the UK. You can install your old hard drive in one of these and then use the whole thing as an external USB drive. Then you can try to recover your data off the old drive that's now an external drive. Cool, huh! If the drive is in good enough shape, you "could" even use it for an external Time Machine backup drive. Although I might be a little careful with this last bit. If the drive was going bad before, it was happening for a reason.

Tom (:macwave:... self service computer repair for fun and profit!)

Thanks Tom. Thanks so much for the help and advice. I have learned my lesson regarding backing stuff up thats for sure.

Skywatcher
22-12-2009, 03:12 PM
:macbook:

The Mac family comes that little bit closer :D great to see such support from everyone and again - comiserations on your problems claire - hope you get all your photos and tunes sorted :hug2:

Claire
22-12-2009, 03:59 PM
Well I feel I've updated software for Britain!

Anyone know why my iPhone isn't showing up in iTunes?

keith
17-02-2010, 12:13 AM
Not sure when you bought your macbook Claire but Apple has admitted to problems with ones bought at certain times and offered to repay any repair costs people may have paid:

Users who bought MacBooks between May 2006 and December 2007 that are experiencing hard drive problems may be covered under a new repair extension program.

Apple announced the repair extension for users of the 13" notebook models on Monday.

"If your MacBook was purchased in the date range listed above and shows a flashing question mark on the screen, please take it to Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider and they will examine the hard drive to confirm if it is eligible for a replacement, free of charge, under this program," the company said.

The affected models have 1.83GHz, 2GHz, or 2.16GHz processors and hard drive capacities of 60GB, 80GB, 100GB, 120GB, or 160GB.

MacBook users affected by the issue can arrange for a repair with their nearest Apple Retail store by setting up an appointment with the Genius Bar or look up their nearest Apple Authorized Service Provider.

The program extends hard drive coverage for three years from the date of purchase or until August 15, 2010, which ever is longer. The program does not extend standard warranty coverage.

MacBook customers who have already paid for out of warranty repairs that qualify under this program may be reimbursed for their costs.

Claire
17-02-2010, 11:04 PM
Interesting! I bought the laptop in November 2007. I'll need to ask DH for the exact date. The thing is though I didn't get the flashing question mark.

keith
17-02-2010, 11:39 PM
Interesting! I bought the laptop in November 2007. I'll need to ask DH for the exact date. The thing is though I didn't get the flashing question mark.

Dont worry about that, it's just the way you booted up, if it'd got further you'd have got the ? :)

I'd definitely say it's worth a shot because Apple don't admit this stuff much unless there's a VERY VERY clear and definite problem that's their fault :yes: