Girlfriend's Mac in a coma
June 8, 2008 6:36 AM   Subscribe

Why won't my girlfriend's MacBook start? It went to sleep when we did, last night, and when she got up this morning it was just: BLACK.

This MacBook was just bought, brand-new, in November/December 2007. I was up reading MeFi last night, just walked away from it and went to bed. When we got up this morning my lady went to check her e-mail, and the screen was just black and unresponsive. The little white glowing light on the lower right edge (under my right palm, on the front) was on.

We tried all manner of keys, nothing. Held down the power button to shut it off, heard the whine of a drive stopping spinning, the aforementioned white light went dark.

I turned the machine back on, heard the drive spin and the little white light turned back on -- but still, a black and unresponsive screen.

My gf is *super* bummed right now, thinks her computer is dead. I am hopeful -- I think I've seen this happen before and it turned out ok. But what's going ON here? And what can I do to restore my girlfriend's computer ... and her spirits?

Thanks so much, guys ...
posted by chinese_fashion to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Check the monitor brightness buttons on the top left, just in case. The lowest setting turns the monitor off.
posted by stavrogin at 6:42 AM on June 8, 2008

Is it charged up? It won't come back from sleep when the battery is dead. Plug it in and try to wake it.
posted by loiseau at 7:04 AM on June 8, 2008

Ok, take video settings out of the equation. Hold the power down until you hear and feel the MacBook shut down.

Assuming the MacBook is still making start up chimes, hit the power on, once you hear the chimes hold "command s."

At the command prompt, type: /sbin/fsck -fy

let it do it's thing. type: "reboot" when it's done. See if it boots. If not, shut it back down, and Zap the PRAM. On start up hold, "command, option, p r"

Also, flip it on it's belly, make sure the battery is taking a charge by pushing the little battery button. Could be a bad power supply (doubtful, from what you are describing though). take out the battery and see how it behaves while just on power.

I have more ideas, but these are the obvious places to start.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:47 AM on June 8, 2008

Best answer: Try resetting the pmu and maybe any other power/battery maintenance stuff they recommend at

If you're really unlucky, it might be this hard disk failure problem which happened to my macbook. Think you can check the serial numbers on apple's website to see if yours is affected.
posted by theyexpectresults at 7:48 AM on June 8, 2008

Seconding the brightness comment. It's happened to me before, more than once.
posted by mkultra at 8:07 AM on June 8, 2008

Are you absolutely sure that the battery hasn't gone dead? I've panicked before when my Macbook wouldn't start (when it should have had plenty of charge) but realised that it had somehow discharged itself. So try plugging it in. (I know it sounds obvious, but try anyway!)
posted by badmoonrising at 8:53 AM on June 8, 2008

Nice Douglas Coupland reference.
posted by WCityMike at 10:44 AM on June 8, 2008

I got my own MacBook around then too, and I also have problems with sleep mode issues. About all I can recommend is that, if it's absolutely not turning back on even after a hard power-off, that you take it to your closest Apple Store. If you bought it under a year ago, they'll generally fix or replace it out right free of charge.
posted by DoctorFedora at 11:12 AM on June 8, 2008

Response by poster: Hi folks, and thanks for all your tips. I ended up resetting the PMU, per theyexpectresults' advice. Worked a treat, too!
posted by chinese_fashion at 11:34 AM on June 8, 2008

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