General discussion

MacBook Freezes on Startup. I've tried A, etc...

Sorry, it is not my intent to cross-post but I asked this question at the end of another thread, and that might have been the wrong thing to do. In any case -

My August 2007 MacBook runs OSX 10.4.10. It has performed flawlessly since my daughter bought it in 2007, and perfectly after I purchased it from her last september. The other night I was surfing the web while flying on a commercial airliner. (GoGoNet or something similar) Performance was kind of slow but I attributed that to the in-air wifi, which I had never used before. Then the browser started to hang with the spinning pinwheel. Option apple escape WOULD NOT force quit safari. After a few shutdowns using only the power button, the mac hung up on startup. I hear the chime, see the apple icon, the gear turns but it never goes past that point. It may be significant that the plane was flying through scary turbulence when my problems began.

When I boot up using the mac install disk 1, I can get it to start cleanly using the C key, the D key and NO keys. But when I run the hardware diagnostic, both short and long test, the mac comes up 100% clean. But i cannot see any test for the hard drive. When I try to run disk utility, the colored pinwheel arrives and it never goes away. When I go down the road of re-installing the system software, I cannot see the target drive.

When I put my ear on the deck, just to the right of the track-pad, I can hear the hard drive quietly spinning away with regular - not random - clicks.

I see that Apple is quietly replacing these hard-drives, but the affected computers seem to have a folder/question mark on the desktop on startup, not the apple/spinning gear.

Anyone, especially mrmacfixit, have any wisdom to share about what steps to take before I take it to the apple store for expert help? I really would like to be able to recover my photos and some files if the hard drive is going to be swapped. But I am resigned to the situation that these un-backed-up files will be forever lost.

Many thanks,


Discussion is locked
Reply to: MacBook Freezes on Startup. I've tried A, etc...
PLEASE NOTE: Do not post advertisements, offensive materials, profanity, or personal attacks. Please remember to be considerate of other members. If you are new to the CNET Forums, please read our CNET Forums FAQ. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Reporting: MacBook Freezes on Startup. I've tried A, etc...
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
- Collapse -
I would suggest an Archive and Install

of the OS using the installation disks.

Start up from the installation disk and proceed with the install. Shortly after the beginning of the install process the installer will warn you that you will have to change your options to proceed with the install.

Choose the Archive and Install (preserve user settings) and continue on with the install. All your data will be preserved and a new copy of the operating system will be installed on the hd.

Do NOT proceed with the install unless you have chosen this option. Failure to do so will destroy all your data.

Hopefully you have a backup of your important stuff, just in case the regular clicking indicates a defective HD.


- Collapse -
Archive & Install

Thanks, P. I wish I could get that far. I get the computer to boot up using Install Disc 1. I hit continue at the welcome screen, I agree to the terms of the software license, and then I am asked to select a destination volume to install OSX software. Of course, the box is blank. It is not seeing a volume, not seeing my hard drive.

I think the sun is setting on my hard drive. And no, I have no backup.



- Collapse -
I think that the sun has already set!

that is an ex hard drive, bereft of life, it has gone to meet its maker.

Replacement is the only cure now.

Data has gone unless you want to spend a fortune with a recovery company.


- Collapse -
Going to agree

Going to agree with Mrmacfixit. The drive appears to have died, and it's really probably only a matter of time before you get the flashing question mark icon at boot.

Laptops are quite notorious for killing hard drives. People hear "portable" and they think they can use them at pretty much any time. Portable really means that you can move it from one place to another, WHILE THE SYSTEM IS TURNED OFF! If you had a MacBook Air, with a solid state hard drive, then we might be able to talk about using it any time. You shouldn't use them in cars, on planes, or trains. You really shouldn't even use them in your lap where you might be prone to pick it up and set it down somewhere. Every little bump will shorten the life of the drive, until one day it just has enough and stops working. Laptops should ALWAYS be used on a flat, STABLE, surface. Preferably one that allows for adequate ventilation, so not on a carpeted surface or a blanket.

These are some of the facts of life about laptops that most people don't seem to know.

And on a final note... Odds of recovering anything off of your current drive are slim at best. If you want to try, get an external enclosure for 2.5" SATA drives, and plug it in when you get a new drive with a functioning OS.

- Collapse -
oh, well...

I thank you both for weighing in on this. I feel somewhat lucky because the unit is still under applecare. So, between applecare and the secret apple warranty on these drives, I fully expect to get this one replaced. The decision will be: is it worth the money and the trouble to get the pictures and the music, etc... recovered. And that assumes that something is recoverable.

I'll post again if there is a miracle.

many thanks.


CNET Forums

Forum Info