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I'm running Mountain Lion on my Mid 2009 MBP. Recently(for last few months) it's acting really slow. Simplest actions are taking forever to perform. So I verified disk using the Disk Utility and it said that Incorrect number of file hard links and The volume Macintosh HD was found corrupt and needs to be repaired. It suggested me to restart and repair. I did that but about a week later it became slow again. I verified again and this time also it gave the same message.

Can I be certain that it's a fault of the HDD and just change it?

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You can't be certain but most likely that it is the Hard Disk. An engineer with more tools than the plain OS might be able to tell more exactly but still a risk. Tools like Diskwarrior or TechTool might diagnose more but I do not know how good they are. –  Mark Mar 4 '13 at 9:40

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I took the laptop to Apple service centre. They ran few diagnosis and it turns out the hard disk was fine. One of those test results said that the hard disk is corrupted, and it needs to be formatted and repartitioned. So they formatted the HDD and reinstalled the OS. That seems to have fixed it.

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