Is my Macbook Pro doomed?
July 11, 2015 7:43 PM   Subscribe

So I played a bit rough with my Macbook Pro and when I switched it on its hard drive started whirring/clicking loudly. This continued last night and this morning. However, it now seems to be working normally. Will this be OK or is the hard drive doomed?
posted by dontjumplarry to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If you go to the Disk Utility application and click on the drive containing Macintosh HD, you should be able to check something called the SMART status (in the text on the bottom of the window). It might tell you it's about to fail, in which case you know! But if it tells you it's fine, there still could be an undetected problem.

I would back up the drive right now regardless. They all fail eventually. Mine did and started clicking beforehand.
posted by vogon_poet at 7:49 PM on July 11, 2015 [6 favorites]

This happened to me. It's DOOMED. Back it up immediately.
posted by infinitewindow at 8:53 PM on July 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

Clicking is generally bad. Disk utility may be able to rescue your disk but I would strongly recommend backing it up and budgeting for a drive replacement.
posted by kalessin at 8:54 PM on July 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

What is your attitude to gambling? Like to have a bet sometimes? This might be an opportunity to have a bet with yourself, after all, what have you got to lose? Oh, right ...

Seriously, if losing a bit of data (whatever is done since the last backup) is not a problem, and a bit of downtime while it is fixed is not an issue, just do regular, frequent backups to another drive and let things play out. It may never fail.

Otherwise, you know what to do.
posted by GeeEmm at 8:55 PM on July 11, 2015

This is the universe telling you that spinning disks are dumb and it's time for an SSD. They're cheap now.
posted by contraption at 9:01 PM on July 11, 2015 [5 favorites]

Yeah, if you’re hard drive is clicking, some part inside of the drive is doing something that it shouldn't be doing, and the drive is in fact doomed (if this were a cartoon, the drive would be on fire right now). You should probably not be using it unless you are actively in the process of backing it up.

Personally, the first thing I would do is just drag-copy all of your irreplacable personal files (documents, MP3s, etcetera) onto a thumb drive or backup drive—that way, you’re not wasting your drive’s limited life-span (which could be hours... days...? No one knows) on needlessly copying gigabytes of system files that you can easily re-install later.

And since you’re going to get a new drive, it doesn't make sense to get another spinning-platter drive—go SSD and enjoy the boost in speed!
posted by blueberry at 9:30 PM on July 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

Spinnydisks rely upon moving parts travelling at high speeds in exceptionally precise trajectories. Clicking means they're not doing that. Back up your personal data now, buy an SSD. Silver lining is that your MBP will feel like a new computer.
posted by holgate at 9:53 PM on July 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

Make a Dropbox account, pay for the cheapass upgrade to 50gb or whatever, and move EVERYTHING you care about on to it. Alternatively, backblaze will do the same thing automatically.

A new hard drive or ssd is about $50. Expect to pay maybe double that to have someone put it in, if they aren't the Apple Store.

You need a new one. Yes, as others have said, it's toast.

Make a backup now or tomorrow you'll be swearing up a storm when it died in the night or 2 minutes after startup.
posted by emptythought at 11:09 PM on July 11, 2015

Once you have the new drive, putting it in is pretty easy, all you really need is a small Phillips screwdriver (and maybe a pliers to loosen/tighten those weird screws on the side of the drive) and the instructions on
posted by blueberry at 11:42 PM on July 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

  • your drive is doomed, the rest of your macbook pro is probably okay.
  • you can use the ditto command in terminal to copy files; if you're trying to drag-and-drop copy a whole folder but one file is borked, the entire transfer is hosed.
  • if you're replacing the drive, it's a user-replaceable part and won't void the warranty (unless it's a macbook pro with retina display, but those have SSDs, so.)
  • the weird screws blueberry mentioned are T6 Torx screws, and you need those to secure the drive into the brackets.

posted by heeeraldo at 12:25 AM on July 12, 2015 [3 favorites]

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