So here are the details. My friend and I both have 13-inch Mid 2010 MacBook Pro's. Same processor and specs since they were purchased at the same time, but originally had 250 GB hard drives. His hard drive failed and needed a new one. Put a 500 GB Seagate Momentus 5400.6 in his computer, and tried using a flash drive with "Install OS X Mavericks" on it to install Mavericks on his new hard drive. No matter what, it wouldn't install. I finally was able to install OS X 10.9.4 on it by connecting the new hard drive to my computer with a USB hard drive enclosure. I put the hard drive back inside his computer and it wouldn't boot (stuck on the gray screen with apple logo and a spinning wheel). I then attached to the hard drive to his computer externally with the USB enclosure, and then it booted and worked perfectly.

So, it seemed like the problem was with something inside his computer, but then I switched our drives, and that doesn't seem to be the case anymore. I put my original hard drive into his computer, and his new hard drive into my computer, and they both booted and worked perfectly, so I have no idea why his computer will not boot with the new hard drive internally.

To summarize, his computer boots with: 1) new hard drive connected externally (won't work if it's internal), and 2) my hard drive internally but my computer boots with: 1) new hard drive connected externally AND internally, and 2) my hard drive internally. Both hard drives have OS X 10.9.4 installed

If anyone has any idea what's causing this and how to make his computer work with the new hard drive internally that would be greatly appreciated.

Edit: Update I was able to test the computers with some other hard drives. I have his original hard drive (which apparently needed to be replaced), which I was able to read with my computer and install Mavericks on. I also installed Mavericks on a 1 TB Toshiba hard drive. Here's the results with all 4 hard drives installed internally on either computer:

His computer: 1) Works perfectly with the original hard drive from my computer (recall they are the same model MacBook Pro) 2) Stuck on gray screen with apple logo and spinning wheel when booting with 500 GB Seagate and 1 TB Toshiba hard drives 3) Folder with question mark when booting with his original hard drive (which is why he said/was told it needed to be replaced originally)

My Computer: 1) Works with all 4 hard drives, including the one that causes his computer to show a folder with a question mark.

  • Put a 500 GB Seagate Momentus 5400.6 in his computer, and tried using a flash drive with "Install OS X Mavericks" on it to install Mavericks on his new hard drive. No matter what, it wouldn't install. Any error messages? Try reading the installer's log while installing (you can trigger the log window from some menu in the installer).
    – pietrodn
    Aug 3, 2014 at 17:58
  • The error message I would get is that it could not create a recovery partition. No suggestions that I found online were able to resolve this issue. When googling that message, I found sometimes it can be caused from Boot Camp partitions, but I never had Boot Camp installed on this hard drive Aug 3, 2014 at 18:03
  • 1
    Maybe the partition scheme is not correct (MBR instead of GPT). Before the installation, try running Disk Utility on your friend's Mac with the new HD installed internally, and manually repartition the drive with GPT partition scheme, creating one partition. Then the installer should be able to resize that partition to create the Recovery HD. To do so, just follow the instructions from this Apple KB article, from the section Erase and reformat the storage device.
    – pietrodn
    Aug 3, 2014 at 18:09
  • Yep, that's the guide I followed when installing, so I'm sure it was/is a GPT partition scheme. It's strange that it couldn't create the recovery partition when trying to install with the hard drive in the computer, but it installed no problem when it was externally attached to mine. It currently boots up when attached externally to his or inside my computer. But it won't boot when installed internally in his, even though they are the same model. Aug 3, 2014 at 18:18

3 Answers 3


Could you swap hdd cable and see If that help ? Also take a look here, where the general consensus seems to be that the issue is the hard drive cable: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/2648100?tstart=0


I had a similar issue, it was an OCZ drive with a "known" (not to ME) incompatibility.


Hey I’m so sorry to hear about your troubles, but you swapped a lot of drives around which is decent troubleshooting.

I would DEFINITELY check all of your cables. I have a mid 2012 and my stock hard drive is still doing awesome, but since Mojave... things haven’t been too great. I ran so many HDD diagnostics and they all say it’s good.. I mention this b/c if it was taken care of it could last a while, haha even tho they’ll be extinct soon enough.

But looking at this as a tech, I would check your cables, and if you can swap them out. Anything you can physical see is important.

Also, roughly 90% of my repairs: PC, Mac, mobile devices, diagnostic ultrasound systems... Sometimes issues can be resolved by an older backup.

So if the cables end up being okay and don’t seem to be your issue, and definitely verify that. I’d check the last time you replaced your battery, and if you can run any power diagnostics. Use software, but if you’re trained crack that sucker open and make sure your drives even getting the energy it needs...

If not the battery it could be an issue with the board, but cross that bridge when you come to it, and if it does PHYSICAL INSOECTIONS are key.. I’ve actuslly found bad caps, haha a bad timing chip for an u/s system, and just SMD components that may deserved a magnified view and testing.

If I’m wrong I’m sorry that with Mac laptops I’ve only been studying for the past two years + what I learned in a NetOps course. (I was going to take the exams and open up a 3rd party repair shop not run by some business grad that rrpoaced broken screen once, I would like to establish some sort of standard in that industry.)

I have repaired and or modified 2-mabookpro’s, 3-MacBook Airs, and iMac, so my experience there may not be to par however I promise I’ve proudly repaired a lot of systems. It’s a rush when you get.

check out this video if you need help resolving s power issue

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=T_sCEe7fHkw YouTube Video, schematic and repair walkthrough of power circuitry and MagSafe

You’ll see, once you resolve your issue (you willmbut please don’t give up the hell is how you learn more) you’ll have all sorts of neurons firing haha

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