Dead MacBook Pro
October 26, 2011 2:28 AM   Subscribe

Turned on my macbook pro this morning and was dead. torch on screen shows nothing. Tried booting with start up disk and 'C', again nothing and cannot eject disk. Am resigned to buying new one but am in India/Far East for at least a year so if anyone knows a way to resurect a dead Mac - or even how to get the start up disk out, would be glad to hear. Thanks
posted by nickji to Computers & Internet (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Is the thing receiving power? Do fans spin etc?

With drawer drives there should be a pinhole on or near the door, insert a paper clip firmly and it should open. With slot drives try one of these 1) hold the trackpad button while booting, if that fails then 2) leave the thing alone for about 10 minutes and it should eject the disc by itself.
posted by epo at 2:41 AM on October 26, 2011

Is it not powering on?

Is it always plugged in?
Did you turn it off last time you used it?
How long have you had it?
posted by hal_c_on at 2:41 AM on October 26, 2011

Can you connect an external display and investigate that way?
posted by epo at 2:43 AM on October 26, 2011

Do you get a startup sound when you reboot? Could it be an issue with the screen backlight? If so you may be able to see stuff on the screen very faintly. I get a problem with my MacBook Air screen occasionally where the screen stay black on wake from sleep - which I discovered, bizarrely, can be fixed by trurninf the machine upside down, briefly, then back the right way.
posted by iotic at 3:25 AM on October 26, 2011

Anecdotal: My macbook (2006-era) which had a logic board replaced in 2009 would not start up in any way after shutting it down one evening. The battery was still newish and had a charge, the magsafe was showing proper behavior, but the power button just didn't do a damn thing. Pulling out the battery and connecting the charger wouldn't get it to turn on either. I resigned to saying it was broken and put it in a closet for 2-3 weeks.

When I removed it from said closet, battery was drained and magsafe lit red to indicate it was charging when that was reconnected. System powered on just fine and has been powered on and only placed in lid-closed standby since. I'll reboot, but am afraid to power down at this point. Not sure if it's a flaky power button or something wonky on the logic board.
posted by ijoyner at 6:08 AM on October 26, 2011

Pull the battery, plug in, try starting that way.

If that doesn't work, find another power adapter and try that -- a failed one would lead to a dead battery and no start -- though if the magsafe's indicator is green, that should mean power is flowing.
posted by eriko at 6:26 AM on October 26, 2011

Depending on vintage, you probably can't pull the battery without opening the case.

Have you tried a different AC adapter?
posted by spitbull at 6:50 AM on October 26, 2011

Pull the battery and power cord. Reset the PMU by pressing and holding the power button for at least 5 seconds. then reinstall battery and power cord, and attempt to restart normally.

If this is a Macbook where the battery cannot be removed,
Note: Portable computers that have a battery you should not remove on your own include MacBook Pro (Early 2009) and later, all models of MacBook Air, and MacBook (Late 2009).

Shut down the computer.
Plug in the MagSafe power adapter to a power source, connecting it to the Mac if its not already connected.
On the built-in keyboard, press the (left side) Shift-Control-Option keys and the power button at the same time.
Release all the keys and the power button at the same time.
Press the power button to turn on the computer.
Note: The LED on the MagSafe power adapter may change states or temporarily turn off when you reset the SMC.
posted by Gungho at 7:27 AM on October 26, 2011

you could try resetting the PRAM:
That sometimes fixes the most random things.
posted by aloiv2 at 8:28 AM on October 26, 2011

If the above don't work, try a couple of permutations of putting a single RAM module in a single slot. In my experience bad RAM can break the boot process right at the start (before chime, or even video on). I also remember having a disk failure which was in the disk's control logic rather than data corruption and that made it stick at a grey screen before the chime.
posted by larkery at 9:18 AM on October 26, 2011

Need more information.

Is it plugged into the mains (and the LED on the Magsafe is on)? If not, do that first.

Is it going "bing"?

Is the backlight coming on? Have you tried turning it up with F2?

Does the caps lock LED light up?

If none of that stuff happens you probably need to reset the power manager.

If it is on, but hung, you need to do command-control-power to force reboot.
Or alternatively hold down the power button for a few seconds til it turns off, then press it again to turn it back on.

If it is going bing, and trying to startup, but getting nowhere, do command-option-p-r straight after the bing, and hold it til it bings a second time. That's known as resetting the PRAM.

You can also try booting in safe mode by holding the shift key down right after the bing.
posted by w0mbat at 9:23 AM on October 26, 2011

The first thing you need to do is determine whether the firmware is responding at all. Follow the previous posters' steps for resetting PRAM/PMU (as applicable), then try the following:

Power on while holding down the trackpad button
Power on and immediately after hold down the alt key (to reach the startup selection screen). In this screen you can eject the disc with the eject button on the keyboard, or by clicking the eject symbol on the screen

Resetting PRAM should reset any volume settings, and give you the default mac startup chime. If you do not get this sound, or cannot reach the startup selection screen after performing this reset, then you have a hardware issue and will need service.
posted by fearnothing at 9:31 AM on October 26, 2011

Which model of Macbook Pro do you own?

The reason I ask is because I literally had this happen to me two days ago. I could hear the computer starting, and then... Nothing. Nothing on the screen, and otherwise totally unresponsive. After taking it to the Apple store, it was diagnosed with a faulty logic board. While this is normally a $550 repair process (if you go through Apple), my 2008 Macbook Pro was a model that was known to have this problem, and so I got a replacement for free. Hurrah!

FWIW, I have a friend who experienced a similar problem with their Macbook Pro 2 months ago, and they also got a free replacement.

Bottom line: It might be worth a trip to the Apple store for a quick diagnosis!
posted by genekelly'srollerskates at 10:04 AM on October 26, 2011

Thanks for all advice. Guess it will be the store. FYI white LED at ffront of machine lights, battery is fine, mag power is fine. but no screen even with torch, no eject from button - nothing. Have tried all suggestions twice. Sad to see it go, but is 3 years old. maybe time for a new one. hope time machine works.. . .
posted by nickji at 12:33 PM on October 26, 2011

oh, and no 'Bing'
posted by nickji at 12:59 PM on October 26, 2011

No advice on re-animating the Mac, but wrt to getting it to a store, if you're going to be in Delhi anytime soon the Apple Service Centre at Green Park is fantastic. Great people, quick service. I can't recommend them enough.
posted by Tamanna at 3:26 PM on October 26, 2011

My friend's macbook pro just had a similar problem last week (not kidding, it was just last week). He took it to the apple store, and it turns out there's a known issue with the video chip for that vintage of macbook. They fixed it for free -- turned it around in one day.

Don't give up hope. Yours might have the same problem. The symptoms sound the same.
posted by eleyna at 10:44 PM on October 26, 2011

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