Early 2011 model, A1278 / 2.3 GHz i5 or 2.7 GHz i7 processor.

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Question mark folder: is my HD the only broken thing?

Hi,

i was just surfing the internet when my mac froze. I rebooted it and then i had my first encounter with the question mark folder. I rebooted again entering the recovery utility(by pressing alt) and from there i saw that my HD is gone.

So, now, trying to see the glass half-full, it was a while that i was thinking about doing an hardware upgrade, so this looks like the perfect occasion.

I have only two questions, since everything in the recovery system looks like working properly (i'm writing from it right now), am i doing good thinking that mine is just an HD failure and i just have to replace it to get the mac back as new?

And if the answer is yes, do you recommend the controversial solution dual HDD + SDD or a SSD Hybrid Hard Drive? I've seen too many different opinions abut it, i'm fairly attracted by the dual drive thing, cause i never use the optical reader, but some reviews about its various risks scare me a bit. Thanks!

Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

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First you may want to read up a bit on Apple recovery services, Apple TN: OS X: About OS X Recovery

From the sounds of it you reformatted your HD after it appeared to die from the recovery partition. If that is the case unless you have backed up all of your stuff you may have lost access to the files. If you still need to get to something you still have a small window here to salvage the files. What's most important right now is not to alter the HD as any new file could overwrite what are now hidden files. A good disk utility like Drive Genius can recover the files still, but the more you alter the disk the less you will be able to recover.

OK, lets say you are beyond that issue and just want to move on replacing your HD.

We have a very large pool of Mac systems desktops & laptops. At one point we did the dual drive setup on the laptops to give them some zing and make managing apps easier.

For a while it worked, but Apple changed things enough with the intro of the Unibody design'ed MacBook & MacBook Pro systems the dual drive setup was not going as smoothly as it once was.

Also, at the time hybrid drives (SSHD) started to show up. Yes, the first generation had some issues (which I think is what you are thinking about), but the 2nd & 3rd generation drives are much better!

With a better SSHD's we have moved onwards dropping the dual drive setups and going only with SSHD drives with all of our HD based laptops (like yours).

We have now well over 200 systems with SSHD's in them and any dual drive systems that come in for service gets converted to a SSHD as well. They are holding up quite well and while the performance is not quite as good as a straight SSD its dam close.

While it may appear nice to do away with the optical drive the drives I/O has issues running a HD or SSD in many of the unibody HD models. Here's a reference on the issue from OWC but it makes no difference who's carrier you use the issue is the same. Go to the bottom notes area and review the section in Red OWC Data Doubler.

In addition to the SATA compatibility issue most of the Apple HD's don't have crash protection so moving them over to the optical bay puts the drive at risk of crashing as there is no crash protection services off of the optical drives SATA port.

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