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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Consumer Hardware & Components > Internal Hard Drive Woes

Internal Hard Drive Woes
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May 2, 2007, 08:00 AM
 
Hi all,

I bought a Macbook Pro this winter to replace my Powerbook. Things were going well with the laptop until recently, when I put my computer to sleep, placed in my backpack and rode off to campus from my apartment on my bike (as I had done numerous times with the Powerbook for over two years).

When I tried to wake the computer from sleep, the status indicator light would wake from sleep, but the screen was black and the computer would give no sign of life. After waiting for over ten minutes, I thought that perhaps the computer froze over, and did a hard reset by holding the power key and restarting. I could hear some noise, like something was spinning (hard drive, fan, something else?). But still, the screen was black, and after ten minutes again, no sign of life. After the initial spinning noise, the computer made no further sounds. Nothing else could be detected as working. Frustrated, I tried to remove the battery and reinsert the battery, plug the computer in to a direct source, let the computer fully charge, etc. I had hoped that this was simply a battery or electrical issue, and that my battery had gone bad. Unfortunately, the same signs and symptoms were demonstrated from the computer.

So, I thought that the computer isn't as important as the files were. I had been hoping at this point that my hard drive had not gone, and decided that it was time to perform a dissection and extraction. I took the computer apart and took out the hard drive. Using a spare external SATA 2.5" hard drive case I had bought, I hooked up the drive to my old Powerbook and attempted to extract info off it. When I first plugged in the USB chord, I could hear the hard drive platters spinning. Unfortunately, after five minutes of waiting, the hard drive was not recognized by the system. I unplugged the drive, heard the platters spin down, and thought that perhaps the external drive casing was bad. I re-inserted the new drive, and this time, the Powerbook clearly identified the new drive. Obviously, the casing was not bad.

So, I am left wondering. Is my hard drive really gone? I can hear the drive spinning, but nothing can recognize it. I don't hear any clear clunking noises to indicate that the head has hit the platters (which I've experienced before). What could be the problem? Is there anyway that I can save the info on this drive? Would AppleCare be able to help me (the computer is still under warranty)?

Anyone have any suggestions or ideas as to what more I can do, or what could be wrong?

Fortunately, the new external Western Digital drive has exactly the same specs (160 Gb, 5400 RPM) as my internal hard drive, so at least I do have a replacement drive for the Macbook Pro. But still, I would hope I can get to the data, as that is what is most important.

Any help, thoughts would be much appreciated.

Thanks.
     
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May 4, 2007, 03:28 AM
 
Does anyone have any ideas?
     
Addicted to MacNN
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May 4, 2007, 04:07 AM
 
I presume you had no backups, which would be your best bet, otherwise, if the drive is not recognized, then you're stuffed.
     
cgc
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May 4, 2007, 09:43 AM
 
Of you really want to recover the data there are companies that specialize in data recovery (they usually advertise in the back of PC magazines). I would suspect that's very expensive, however.

If I were you, I'd contact Apple or go to an Apple Store and talk to one of their "Geniuses" at the Genius Bar. Can you boot from CD?
     
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May 5, 2007, 08:59 AM
 
Since I can hear the drive spinning, I think the mechanical drive head may have failed.

I am pondering possibly opening the drive under static-free conditions and placing the actual hard disk in another drive (in the process ruining both drive cases). I figure, what have I got to lose? A cheap SATA 2.5" drive is about $30 or $40.

So, does it sound like the drive head failed? Are my instincts correct?

Or is it more worthwile to ask AppleCare to simply replace my hard drive.

I realize that if I use the 160 Gb drive from the external case as replacement (and put it in myself), it won't be covered under AppleCare, versus if I let them replace it, it would still be under warranty. Still, AppleCare won't give me my useless drive back, will they? The data is important, but not worth thousands of dollars. Hence, why I feel like risking opening the drive myself.

What do you guys think?
     
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May 8, 2007, 05:47 AM
 
Thoughts? Should I try this?
     
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May 9, 2007, 01:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by some_user86 View Post
Since I can hear the drive spinning, I think the mechanical drive head may have failed.

I am pondering possibly opening the drive under static-free conditions and placing the actual hard disk in another drive (in the process ruining both drive cases). I figure, what have I got to lose? A cheap SATA 2.5" drive is about $30 or $40.

So, does it sound like the drive head failed? Are my instincts correct?

Or is it more worthwile to ask AppleCare to simply replace my hard drive.

I realize that if I use the 160 Gb drive from the external case as replacement (and put it in myself), it won't be covered under AppleCare, versus if I let them replace it, it would still be under warranty. Still, AppleCare won't give me my useless drive back, will they? The data is important, but not worth thousands of dollars. Hence, why I feel like risking opening the drive myself.

What do you guys think?
You will be guaranteed to ruin both hard drives if you try opening them up. You basically can't open them up in a home environment. If one bit of dust from the air hits the platter, it will pretty much ruin the hard drive.
Macbook 1.83 Ghz CD, 2 GB RAM, 320 GB HD, OS 10.6.2
     
   
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