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MacBook Pro models with 13" displays

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13" Unibody MacBook Pro won't boot up properly

Hi iFixIt community!

I have a 2009 13" Unibody MacBook Pro and it's been and incredible and indispensable resource to me for the last year. Unfortunately, last night after returning home from Christmas festivities with family, my MacBook Pro experienced some issues and I'm currently unable to use it.

For a better part of the afternoon yesterday, my older brother used my MacBook Pro to play various online flash games while I helped cook dinner and, as usual with flash, the processors were warm and the fans were on, but not intensely so. After he was done using it, my younger brother checked a few things on Facebook and that was about the extent of its use because we were leaving soon to meet with family. Before we left, I attempted to quit Safari, but it started to hang and beach ball. I force quit it, which was successful, but it took quite some time to get it to close, which I found peculiar. No other applications were open and I closed the lid to sleep it as everything seemed okay. That's how it remained for about 6-8 hours until I returned home.

When I did get home, the bottom of the MacBook Pro was slightly warm as if a video had been playing on it recently and upon opening the lid, it would not come out of sleep mode. I held the power button down to shut it down and then attempted to restart it. The first few attempts yielded no success, so with the following few attempts I reset the PRAM and the PMU. Resetting the PMU allowed it to boot up and login, but when the OS loaded, Finder was hanging again and beach balling. I shut it down again and became a bit frustrated.

I popped in my Snow Leopard install disc and after a bit of trouble, I was able to get it to boot from that. I ran disc utility, verified and repaired the startup volume, and restarted. This time it booted up, loaded the OS, and worked alright...until I starting using Spotlight...then everything started freezing up again. I shut it down once more and after that, couldn't get it to boot up in any mode (safe, single-user, install disc, nothing). It just got hung up at the bluish-grey screen before the Apple logo appears and that's how it remains. I could get it to boot to the install disc again today, but only with the hard drive disconnected. I reseated the RAM cards, but still nothing.

I connected my hard drive, using an external enclosure, to another Mac and inspected it to make sure files were there and that everything on it was fine and that was the case. Disc utility did say my Windows Boot Camp partition was corrupted, so I erased it, but that didn't solve any issue. Currently, Disk utility says my hard drive is okay, so I'm wondering if I have a more serious hardware issue on my hands or if it's a software issue.

I have AppleCare and plan to take my MacBook Pro to the Apple Store, but I was just wondering if there was anything else I could try before I had to resort to traveling the 34 miles to get there.

Thanks for any helpful solutions or suggestions that you guys might have to offer. :)


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That's really strange, this all points to a bad HD- do you have DiskWarrior?


The hard drive mounts fine, all the files are intact, and disk utility says it's okay. I looked at it in DiskWarrior and hardware diagnostics said that the drive's built-in S.M.A.R.T. system indicates that it's functioning normally. I ran repair disk permissions and check all files and folders as well, but near the end of that process I got an alert saying that an unexpected error occurred while attempting to perform the file operations (error codes 2903 and -8902). Should I run it again? Will I need to graph or rebuild the directory? Thanks for your help!


Not sure if rebuilding my directory was necessary, but I made two attempts and got a kernel panic both times. I decided that it wasn't worth it for such hassles.


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After taking it to Apple, I discovered, with the aid of some very friendly Apple Geniuses, that the hard drive cable somehow ceased functioning and needed to be replaced. That prevented my MacBook Pro from being able to bypass the hard drive upon boot, therefore not allowing it to boot from any other external media. As a plus, it was a free one-day repair!

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