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#2806 - 09/03/09 04:32 AM Hard disk eating MacBook?
arjen Offline

Registered: 08/12/09
Loc: Amsterdam, NL
Hello Mac-wise,

A short de-lurk here from a longtime user with limited hardware knowledge:
A friend asked me for help with her first generation white MacBook (2GHz Intel). Short history:
- original HD dies one month out of warranty. Replaced by local repair folks.
- second HD dies 6 months later, replaced at no charge.
- (maybe not relevant) keyboard functions badly or not at all: replaced at owner cost.
-third hard disk dies, the Hitachi 120GB the repair folks put in there as replacement just over a year before.
- owner asks me to look (does not want to see repair folks again). Mac is mainly used for Mail and web, mostly at home.

I replaced the HD with a known good one (clone of my own) - all worked fine.
Then put a fresh 120GB in, installed OS X and ran Apple Hardware Test. All is fine.
No one trusts this MacBook anymore: will the 4th HD fail too?
Could there be a power supply malfunction or something else that goes unnoticed, but kills the disks one by one?
In no way has this MacBook seen real heavy duty service or treatment. (My own of the same vintage has been used constantly and intensively and never shows any problem).
I'm happy with any opinions, and with the new forum in general!

Amsterdam, NL

#2814 - 09/03/09 09:22 AM Re: Hard disk eating MacBook? [Re: arjen]
joemikeb Offline

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
I don't blame you for your lack of confidence after 4 drives. I would be pretty leery too:
  • When you say "the hard drive failed" specifically how did they fail?
  • What were the indications of failure?
  • What diagnostics were run?
  • How reliable are the "local repair folks"? Are they Apple Certified?
  • What brand(s) of hard drive were used in the replacements?
  • Did the keyboard work before the first drive replacement?
  • Did the keyboard work after it was replaced?
  • Why was it necessary to use a drive cloned from your Mac?

I neglected to say welcome to FineTunedMac. My bad. blush

Edited by joemikeb (09/03/09 09:23 AM)
Edit Reason: add welcome
joemikeb • moderator

#2836 - 09/03/09 02:46 PM Re: Hard disk eating MacBook? [Re: arjen]
Virtual1 Offline

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
the seagate hard drives as of lately (2.5 and 3.5") are very unreliable, and are well known for catastrophic failure without warning. I've replaced over 100. Western digital lately have been the apple oem installed brand of choice.
I work for the Department of Redundancy Department

#2845 - 09/03/09 03:59 PM Re: Hard disk eating MacBook? [Re: joemikeb]
arjen Offline

Registered: 08/12/09
Loc: Amsterdam, NL
Thanks, Joe, for your reply. I've seen the MacBook only with the 3rd failed disk, a Hitachi 120GB, installed - at that point its keyboard was new and had been tested OK. It would not start up from anything or react to any startup keystroke; the screen stayed white, no Apple or questionmark, refused to eject startup DVD.
First thing I had handy was my own former drive, ready to go with system and all. This worked fine. So did the blank Western Digital HD I put in after and formatted with a fresh System, it passed the Hardware Test.

Later I tried to mount the old Hitachi, connected by an external SATA>USB cable: nothing but clicking noises, neither Disk Utility nor Data Rescue II could see anything: more alive than a doornail but running like a limping headless chicken.
Anyway, not wanting to waste anyone's time: all is well for now, I have to assume it's just an extraordinary case of bad luck.
Best of luck to FineTunedMac!

#3035 - 09/05/09 10:35 PM Re: Hard disk eating MacBook? [Re: arjen]
MacManiac Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Paradise....on the central Ore...
One often overlooked potential for repeated hard drive failures is to have defective ram installed....if the fates conspire once again to kill the hard drive in this machine prematurely, I would take a hard look at the ram.
Freedom is never free....thank a Service member today.


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