Mid 2010 Model A1278 / 2.4 or 2.66 GHz Core 2 Duo processor

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Perpetual Spinning Wheel on Desktop

Hi All,

I'm trying to fix my wife's laptop and have tried the below solutions to my problem.

The Problem: Constant spinning wheel at the desktop after clicking an application. This on occasion happened at the login screen as well. Sometimes I can click on a browser and open a few webpages until it starts happening again but it usually takes less than 3 minutes to occur.

A new problem today after installing the new HD cable is that once logged in it says that the calendar is set before 2008 and it keeps forgetting the Wifi network and has me reselect on each boot up.

Attempted Solutions:

  • Went to Apple store, they ran diagnostics and said they thought it might be the HD cable. I went out and bought one myself, installed it. No change.
  • Reset SMC/PRAM
  • Ran hardware diagnostics myself which was fine
  • Attempted to start with Option + Power but I installed a SSD before and it only shows that.

My next thought is finding an install disc and trying to install a new copy on the computer but would appreciate any thoughts. Thanks

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How full is your hard drive? I do have a lot more on this fix. Did you put a 2010 or 2012 cable in? How was the new drive formatted? Did you clone? Do you have a good anti-virus program installed (paid version)? Is the machine actually seeing ALL of your RAM (check in "about this Mac" memory. Are you on Santas' naughty or nice list?


-I don't know at the moment, I can't click on anything on the desktop. I venture to say it's not that full though knowing my wife

-Cable used: https://www.amazon.com/Eathtek-Sensor-Ma...

-I don't remember how I formatted it (embarrassing, I know). Want to say I cloned it though

-No good anti-virus

-Again, can't click on anything at the moment

-My wife? Nice list for sure haha. (That being said I have downloaded some torrents on her computer before)


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3 Answers

Chosen Solution

Hook up an external USB keyboard and mouse (any will do) to regain some control.

If you have another Mac (and i'm pretty sure you do as you cloned), hook them up in Target Mode so you can Disk Utility on the hard drive and repair it. Here's how:

Connect the two computers with a FireWire or Thunderbolt cable. Start up the computer to be used as a disk in target disk mode: If the computer is off, start it up while holding down the T key. If the computer is on, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Startup Disk, and then click Target Disk Mode.

Cloning used to be great but it fails on a new drive because the Repair Partition does not get installed.

At this point it would be better to back up your user data to an external drive, then wipe and start over.

Keep in mind that if you do find infections, most likely it has spread to any back up drives so they will need to cleaned too.

If possible it would be better to just wipe the drive with the backup of your old data.

A couple of ways to do it. From Target mode I would reformat the drive using the "write zeros" option to map out any bad blocks, then format OS X Extended.

Now you either install a system in Target Mode or do a clean internet install.

You can now see if it's working with a clean, correctly formatted drive or see if you have other problems.

If it's working OK, use migration assistant to move your data.

But before doing that:

You are not on Santas' naughty list, you are on his very naughty list. Downloading torrents is one of the very fastest ways I know of to infect a Mac. I would give you 10 to 1 odds you have brought home a social viral disease and given it to your spouse. bad boy ;-(

So before starting anything you need to try to clean that up. Do it first on your working Mac. There are some free ones at the App store, so start with those and find out how bad it might be on your working Mac,

If you find infections there I would seriously consider getting good anti-virus, anti-plishing protection. I like Symantecs Endpoint Protection: https://www.symantec.com/pages.jsp?id=ca...

Others on the site may have other recommendations on anti-virus programs.

Once you know the working Mac is clean then run it one the other one in Target Mode.

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Another problem - I bought a thunderbolt cable, started up the laptop in target mode, but I can't see the HD in the desktop of the desktop computer. In addition, I can't find it in disk utility either. Does this mean the hard drive is dead?

I was thinking of trying to use a formatted USB to reinstall on the laptop. Is that pointless now?

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Pull the drive, use an external enclosure or a USB to SATA adapter to see if it can be accessed. If it works, it's the hard drive/ IR cable and needs to be replaced with a new one from a 2012 model. It can be a combination of both. it's late so I'll give you the link if you need it later.


That's a bit confusing to me. So if I can access the HD then it's the HD/IR cable that's faulty? I would think if I could access the HD via some other method then it would be the cable or some other thing in the computer, no? I already tried replacing the cable once, maybe I needed a higher quality cable? I got a $13 one off of Amazon that had good reviews :-/


The Cable Mayer is talking about is in-between the drive and the system internally. If its bad (likely) you have no means to see to access the drive.

Think of it this way... A bridge is washed out across the river and you need to get to the other side, you'll need to find another bridge across.

Thats what Mayer is talking about here by using a cable like this: Startech 2.5" SATA to USB adapter


Got access to the HD with ease using a USB to SATA adapter. I already replaced the HD/IR cable once, should I do it again? Did I get the wrong one?



Sounds like you got a bad cable. How about also getting the newer version of the cable: MacBook Pro 13" Unibody (Mid 2012) Hard Drive Cable P/N 923-0104.


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So I just did a complete install/update to El Capitan from a bootable USB and it looks like things have been cleared up miraculously! Fingers crossed. Will continue to see if this holds up. Thanks to everyone to help troubleshoot.

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Miraculously? How about as a result of following directions? ;-)


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Ben will be eternally grateful.
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