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clems
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Internal hard drive disk not recognized

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Hi there,

My internal hard drive disk has stopped working on my Macbook.

It is not recognized at the boot up, so I get the famous question mark. I tried with another hard disk and it is the same, so I guess the problem comes from the logic board.

When I try to access it from the external bootable drive using Disk Utility I can't see it either.

The disk I'm using is good, and it works when connected with USB (this is what I'm running now). But of course I would prefer to put it inside and connect it with SATA.

Now, I'm wondering what should I do. A new logical board is expensive, and it would be too bad to change it completely, because everything else is working perfectly. So, I'd like to get some advice, maybe for how to check the connectors, change the disk controller or add a new one, or whatever can help to get a more practical solution.

Thank you for your help.

Edited by: Dan ( ) , osvaldo, rj713, ABCellars, and oldturkey03 ( ) , iRobot ( )

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mayer
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First thing I would o is check all the connections on the hard drive data cable, then I would replace it. Here's the cable: MacBook Pro 13" Unibody (Model A1278 Mid 2009/Mid 2010) Hard Drive Cable

Here's the installation instructions: MacBook Pro 13" Unibody Mid 2009 Hard Drive Cable Replacement

Edited by: mayer ( )

Product Image

MacBook Pro 13" Unibody (Model A1278 Mid 2009/Mid 2010)...

Fix an unrecognized drive in your MacBook. Connects hard drive to logic board. Replacement SATA cable compatible with all Mid 2009 and Mid 2010 13" Unibody MacBook Pros. Options with or without bracket. — 20 available at 59.95 each.

good answer +

rj713,

Thank you for your help. I tried to look at the cable, unplugged it, then plugged it again, but nothing changed. I'm wondering how I could find precisely where the problem comes from. I'm affraid it comes from the logic board, since I don't understand how a cable could suddently stop working. And also because the hard drive is still power on, I'm hearing it. So, is there a way to be sure it is the cable, or should I try to change it anyway?

clems,

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john
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My problem was solved. It was the HD cable. Apple replaced it for free.

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OmegaOne
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I am having the same issue.

I had to remove the hard drive to back it up since it was corrupted and no longer booting (I tried to install OS-X Lion but it led to an impasse where it said that it can't install the OS since the drive was damaged but gave no options on how to start with Snow Leopard).

When I put it back into my Mac after the backup it worked for a while and even booted up in Snow Leopard (I guess since I used macdrive on a PC to try and repair it). After a while the computer decided to freeze up, and then it stopped booting altogether.

When I booted from my original OSX disk that came with the computer, disk utility wouldn't recognize any drives. I connected it via USB, which is when I decided to format it, reinstall Snow Leopard then upgraded to Lion; obviously the hard drive is working perfectly fine, since I'm using it with this configuration to send this message.

My internal hard drive connector cable seems fine, there are no visible signs of damage. The hard drive even switches on when connected to the internal connector. Sometimes when I hold down alt/option the drive will appear on the grey screen, when I select it the apple logo with spinning circle goes on for a while and then the logo is replaced with a no entry sign. It must be the ribbon cable, maybe something to do with the data portion...could it be something else?

I still have my 3 year Apple Care warranty, so I was thinking to take it in and say that it happened after installing Lion. What will be covered by the warranty in this case? I guess I could also replace my battery, which is way overdue (sucks that the warranty doesn't cover it, after 416 cycles it's at 61% original capacity, is that normal?)

Edited by: Dan ( )

I took my MacBook Pro to a AppleCare representative in São Paulo, Brazil (where I live), and they replaced both the cable and my hard drive at no additional cost. Unfortunately, all my data was lost since there was no way to recover it (I even told the technicians to try and clone the drive to no avail; although had it been successful, would have set me back about $55). I have asked for them to replace my battery at the beginning of the year (not covered by the warranty), and I am still awaiting the arrival of the replacement (about $165). Will keep you posted on more.

OmegaOne,

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uni
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This is happing all over the place, at least to the 500GB hard drives.

Same thing here, I can't see the drive in the utility tray, i put it in my other older (2008) macbook 15 it worked and I formated it in 1 minute. when I put it back in the macbook 13 (2009) it didn't work.

Frustrating to say the least, way to screw things Apple ;)

Edited by: Dan ( )

Please start a new question. Your problem and/or solution may be different. Thanks

mayer,

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john
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Same problem Omega One... found the solution ?

Edited by: Dan ( )

If you still have the original Apple HD in your system with this problem it's likely the SATA cable is defective. If you have replaced your hard drive and you started to encounter this problem you should first double check your SMC & EFI firmware making sure you have the latest Apple TN on how. Then make sure your HD is set for the correct SATA speed. many newer HD's are SATA III, your systems HD controller on the other hand is either a SATA I or II so you need to set the HD to the lower speed. Review your HD specs and vendors web site on how to do this.

Dan,

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paul
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Same problem here OmegaOne and john, and identical troubleshooting done.

I've also replaced the drive now with two different drives that don't show up in disk utility when connected to the internal SATA cable.

I've given up on the factory installed Seagate Momentus 500GB drive and have tried a WD Scorpio Blue 500GB and now a Seagate Momentus XT 500GB drive.

I can attach either one of those externally via USB and a drive caddy to do a format/install but am not able to recognize the drive when connected internally. I believe my 15" MBP manufacture date is June 2009 but I can't pull anything more specific on it now as I'm in the middle of another reinstall.

Edited by: Dan ( )

Just found this link with firmware updates for sata related issues: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1237 I'll try that next and see if it helps.

paul,

Didn't have time to go to an apple store so I ordered the replacement sata cable from ifixit and once installed the drive worked perfectly. I'd either go to apple or spend the $30 to try this option first before formatting a drive or buying a new one.

paul,

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ragingmountains
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I had the same problem. Drive would not boot up correctly, i could reformat and reinstall snow leopard but when i would try to reboot, nothing. I bought a new hard drive and it didn't work either. After taking everything to the Apple Store, they said that lots of the macbook pros from 2009, the hard drive cable/ribbon were just going bad and they replaced the cable for free.

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wendy
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Same thing here; 2010 MacBook Pro 15". I get the question mark when I boot up. I live in the rainforest of honduras - HOW TO FIX? No Apple Store for 1000's of miles. I do not understand your technical terms

Edited by: Dan ( )

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jakeaddair
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Same problem. 13" MBP 2009 - Thought it was the HDD.

Replaced SATA cable which I purchased from this site and my Mac is back alive. I carry my Mac around a lot with no carry case. I think the cable could have been damaged by pressure from the bottom flexing when being bumped around.

Edited by: Dan ( )

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USegnini
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Hello people!

Effectively, it was the cable. After trying everything I could, even buying a new HD, I founded this article and went to the Apple distributor here in Barcelona looking for the cable.

This time luck was on my side and yes I got the cable. Now Im back in track!

Thanks for the posts!

Umberto

Edited by: Dan ( )

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Jose Ochoa
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Hello everyone

My name is jose. I have a computer store in NY. www.spcmultiservice.com

the problem is in fact the SATA connector at the tip of the cable. It only makes good contact with some HDDs. the fix! is simple.

put 2 lines of masking tape on top of the DATA side of the HDD connector, then plug in the ribbon cable and turn on the machine. you will get the apple sign if the HDD has OS on it if its empty boot from cd and check on disk utillity.

putting the tape:

instruments: masking tape(blue or white), a small flat screw driver, and scissors.

put a piece of tape on top of the DATA side or if you want it could go accross the DATA AND POWER, NOTE, ON TOP OF THE PLASTIC AREA, DO NOT PUT TAPE ON THE PINS SIDE, I REPEAT DO NOT PUT THE TAPE ON WHERE THE PINS MAKE CONTACT. THE TAPE GOES ON THE UPPER SIDE THAT IS ONLY PLASTIC. cut tape very close to the edge. make the division between DATA AND POWER on the tape and plug into ribbon cable.

ENJOY.

if you are in NY and have this problem bring over your laptop and i will be happy to help you with it. call before you come 718-312-8723

Edited by: Jose Ochoa ( )

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Jason Vaughan
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Jose,

I'm not quite following where you are putting the tape?

Can you post a picture or a link to a picture at all?

Thanks for the help in advance!

Jason

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bgrinstein
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I tried Jose's trick. It was good enough to show the drive from Disk Utility (starting from the install DVD). Which is better than before when it was not even showing the drive. But that's about it, I couldn't get to boot up.

I then ordered the SATA cable (as described above in this thread) installed it, and voila, the MacBook Pro is up and running again.

Edited by: Dan ( )

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Jon
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Jose or bringstein,

Could you be more specific as to where you put the masking tape? Do you mean on the inside of the cable where it connects to the hard drive? Or the hard drive itself? Pictures would be incredible if you could find the time to do so.

Thanks a lot,

Jon

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bgrinstein
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Jon,

The tape goes on the hard plastic connector (that connects to the drive) at the end of the cable. You want the tape to reduce the inner space so that it forces the metal pins to make better contact, being careful not to place the tape over the metal pins themselves else you'll have no connection. I basically inserted the end of the tape strip into the thin slot of the connector, than wrapped around a couple of mm onto the outside of the connector.

**BUT** while the trick allowed me to finally see the drive from Disk Utility, I never got it beyond that. In the end I purchased a replacement for the cable and the problem was solved.

B

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Farshad
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Hi

The same problem here. My Optical drive also doesn't work, was it the case for you guys as well?

I hear the sound of it, but I can't eject the dvd inside it. My HDD works with USB, but not internally. I am not sure if it is just the cable or the whole SATA driver part in Mainboard.

Farshad - You really need to create your own question with your own information if the dialog offered here didn't help you. As I gather the answer didn't solve your problem.

Dan,

Hi Dan, Thanks for your answer, I described my case with complete details in: http://www.ifixit.com/Answers/View/13298...

Farshad,

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dave
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i had the same problem tried everything. MAKE SURE THE HARDDRIVE CABLE CLIPS IN!!!! on the video i watched to replace it, it showed the cable just sat not clipped. i got a new cable and clipped it in as my old one was not clipped in. its bloody works!!!!1 ohhh raaaaa

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