Released April 2010 / 2.4, 2.53 GHz Core i5 or 2.66, 2.8 GHz Core i7 Processors

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How can I be sure that I purchase the correct hard drive?

I believe that the hard drive on my 15" MacBook Pro has died recently. After a session in which the computer was behaving sluggishly and repeatedly freezing, I shut it down, and attempted to reboot, only to find it stuck at the gray "Apple Screen" for hours on end.

Attempts to boot from the Apple back-up discs simply resulted in the computer ejecting them, so I have come to the conclusion that the hard drive is dead (I may be mistaken in this regard, but testimony I've read from others facing similar issues seems to suggest that HD failure is the culprit)

For what it is worth, the only previous issue I had with this computer was around 3 years ago, when it suffered from a "swollen" battery, which the Apple Store replaced under warranty (which has since expired)

As it is no longer under warranty, I would like to acquire a new drive and install it myself, but before I put down the money to do so, I would like to ensure that I purchase the correct, compatible hard drive for this specific computer.

  • It is a 15.4" MacBook Pro, Model No. A1286
  • It was purchased in September 2010, though the box has a 2009 copyright date
  • The packaging advertises a "Precision Aluminum Unibody Enclosure" and lists a "500GB 5400-rpm hard drive" under the specifications, as well as a "2.53GHz Intel Core i5 processor" (if this helps identify the particular model)

Any and all help is greatly appreciated!

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To start with here is the IFIXIT guide to replace your HD: MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Mid 2010 Hard Drive Replacement

As far as a replacement drive most 2.5" (9.5mm in height) drives will work in your system. Your choices are a classic HD, a hybrid SSHD (Seagate) which gives you a deep SSD cache with a standard HD, a dual drive (Western Digital), or lastly a SSD which does not have a spinning disk. The biggest factor here is costs. The SSD is the most costly per meg so people tend to get smaller drives to offset the cost, but then you may not enough space to store what you need.

If you found you had most of your drive full (500GB) you may want to look at a 750GB or 1TB drive. You do want to leave at least 1/4 to 1/3 of the drive free for the OS to use for swap space.

Update (09/04/2015)

OK, then your optical drive has a problem here as well. Have you tried cleaning it with a CD/DVD cleaning disk?

Do you have a SATA to USB adapter cable? If you do using it with your old drive will allow you to boot up under it, then using it to install a fresh copy of the OS and then migrate your data over as well.

The other thing here you could try if you have access to a second Mac is connect the two together using Target Mode and use the other Mac to install the OS. Here you could use the other systems optical drive to install the OS onto your system.

The last option here is using a second Mac configure a USB thumb drive (16GB or larger) as a bootable drive and copy over to it the OS installer

In any case I would recommend you download from the App Store the current OS installer.

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Thank you for the answer, Dan.

After following your advice, I received my new (1TB) HD today, and the physical installation was rather simple.

Unfortunately, my Macbook now refuses to power on.

The MagSafe charger shows a green light when plugged in, but the computer will not start.

I fear that I may have absent-mindedly closed it without shutting it down first, and let the battery drain completely over the course of the week.

Is there anything I can do to try and remedy this situation?


Can you explain what you see when you try powering the system. Do you get a Bong & does the display show something?


I should have been a bit more patient, as the laptop merely needed an hour or so to charge (I was seeing/hearing nothing when attempting to start it). It now powers on, the LED is orange, and I get the "flashing folder" gray screen.

However, when I attempt to boot from the OSX disc that was included with the laptop, the drive sounds like it attempts to read the disc, but ejects it after one or two tries.

I should note that it also did also ejected the disc when I attempted to boot from it prior to replacing the HD.


Dan, as I only have a PC to work with, I cannot access the download from the App Store, nor can I utilize Disk Utility. I did manage to come across a .dmg file for OSX Yosemite, and attempted to use the TransMac program to create a bootable USB. However, when attempting to boot from the USB on startup, I am presented with a blank gray screen and (functional) mouse cursor, with nothing else.

Shall we continue this discussion here, or should I start a new thread, as the discussion/issues have since moved beyond the initial question?


Keep it here for now. OK, Do you have a friend with a Mac? As you'll need to create the thumb drive from it. What likely happened here is the thumb drive you have is setup with FAT32 which the Mac can't work off of (as a boot drive) Sadly, you need to use Disk Utility from a Mac to delete the FAT32 volume and create a GUID with Mac OS Extended (Journaled) partition.


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