Shutting down during startup, possible keyboard malfunction?

I know this is a common problem, with many other questions on here pertaining to Macbook Pro's that shut down while booting up. But in this situation, there is an interesting twist that seems a bit more uncommon. It seems if while booting up, I hold down any key continuously, the machine boots up and stays running. However, if I do not hold down a key, it will shut down after 10-30 seconds. Or if I release the key after a few minutes, then it shuts off. I've been trying to install OS X on a drive, but with it shutting down during install, it's a challenge. Is it possible that something with the keyboard is causing the issue? Would replacing the keyboard potentially fix the boot up problem? Seems weird, as the keyboard is working (in that I can type, hit command key combos and such). But like I said, if I hold a key down it will boot and stay running, but with no key held down, the system will shut itself down. Hoping there's some short or something being caused by the keyboard, and that the problem isn't a faulty logic board. Anyone have any experience with this same kind of issue?

Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

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The problem of the MBP shutting down during boot was due to a faulty keyboard. I replaced the keyboard with a new one, and now it runs like new. Someone had previously spilled some liquid on it, because it was sticky and nasty when I ripped out the old KB. I'm guessing there was a short somewhere.

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I think your over focused on the keyboard here. I suspect you really have a drive issue as the OS can't load as it's finding it is bad. So when you hold the keyboard you're just interrupting the boot process.

Lets diagnose the drive which is the first thing I would do here. Do you have access to a second Mac? If you do you can try connecting the two together via a FireWire or Thunderbolt cable and booting up your MacBook Pro in Target mode. If you don't have the needed cable you could create a bootable USB thumb drive to boot your system up.

Then run Disk Utility from the other system or via the USB thumb drive. I would recommend you download the OS installer and copy it over to the thumb drive as you may need to re-install it.

Given the state of your drive I suspect recovery services (either) would help you here.

Update (05/22/2016)

Once you put the drive in and it still has problems you'll need to swap out the SATA drive cable. Follow this IFIXIT guide: MacBook Pro 13" Unibody Mid 2010 Hard Drive Cable Replacement and you'll need this version of the cable: MacBook Pro 13" Unibody (Mid 2012) Hard Drive Cable, Apple P/N: 923-0104

MacBook Pro 13" Unibody (Mid 2012) Hard Drive Cable Image

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This macbook doesn't have an hdd in it at the moment. I do have one arriving in a day or so. I've only tried booting from the Snow Leopard installation disc so far. The person I bought the mbp from had the boot issue before me, and I was hoping it was due only to a corrupted OS. I will test to see if installing the internal hdd makes any difference (will come with Snow Leopard pre-installed.) It just seems that if the issue was due to a corrupted OS or failing hdd, the problem wouldn't happen without the hdd in it (but I'm new to Mac, so my knowledge is pretty limited).


I would recommend you create a bootable USB thumb drive from a friends Mac so you can verify things before you put in the new drive. If the external boot up drive fails (thumb drive) you also have a swelled battery problem which could explain keyboard & trackpad problems.


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