Failing MacBook Drive Symptoms
Hard drives can fail in many different ways and with many different symptoms. In this case, the hard drive seems to work, the computer boots fully, but then freezes and won’t respond for a few minutes. When it does finally respond, anything you try to click on results in a few more minutes of waiting for the click to be recognized. This sort of symptom is usually caused by the data on the drive not being read properly by the computer. While a failing hard drive is one very plausible cause, this type of behavior can be caused by a bad hard drive cable, bad logic board connector, even bad RAM or OS issue. It is important to start with a thorough diagnosis.
Diagnosis of MacBook Issue
The computer in question here is a 2008 MacBook. This model has very few issues with the hard drive cable (the same can not be said for the 13″ MacBook Pro replacement models), and the logic board connector almost never is the issue. While just by seeing the model of the computer I am almost sure the hard drive is at fault, it is still important to verify the issue and run a full set of tests on the computer.
The best way to start diagnosing a possible hard drive issue is to remove the drive from the computer for testing outside the unit. This way if the hard drive fails testing, you know it isn’t because of a bad cable or connector inside the computer. While the hard drive is completing a surface scan, I like to run standard diagnostics on the computer using a known good hard drive.
In this case the hard drive failed the surface scan almost immediately pointing to bad sectors on the drive at least. When a hard drive reports a bad sector, it could be that the sector is bad, but it could also be caused by a scratch, or a week or broken read/write head. In this case the heads pass a quick test using a data recovery rig, so the data should be retrievable from he drive using standard imaging procedures.
Recovering the data if necessary
Having a backup is extremely important. If you have a current backup of your hard drive, if it fails you have almost nothing to worry about! If you don’t have a backup, then you have to worry about getting the data off the failing drive which is not a guaranteed process. Sometimes drives can fail so catastrophically that the data is not recoverable by anyone.
In this case as mentioned before, the heads inside the drive are testing good, so it is likely that there is a small amount of media damage or some bad sectors at the start of the drive causing the issues. I am extremely confident that the data will be fully recoverable if it ends up being needed.
Data Recovery Services Available in Boise
HippieTechs offers data recovery services in the Boise ID area. We are located in Downtown Boise right next door to the Flying M coffee shop. We always start with our free diagnosis on all data recoveries (and Mac Repairs). Once we get a sense for what is needed to successfully recover your data we will provide you with a quote. We generally have 2 data recovery tiers.