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My girlfriend's Macbook (white unibody 2010) is having some problems booting.

It can be erratic, but it generally seems to follow this pattern:

  • Turn it on, 1 long deep beep, and then nothing (light stays on), turn it off
  • Turn it on, nothing (light stays on), turn it off
  • Turn it on, boots up as per normal.

Apparently the 1 long beep signifies a RAM issue, but when it finally boots up all of the RAM is present, and there is absolutely no problem at all with the Macbook - it will run for an entire day without a single crash or problem.

I've also tried this from the official Apple forum with no joy:

with the unit plugged into power, hold the power button for 10 seconds. While still holding it, press the left hand shift, control, and option keys for 10 seconds. Let go of those three keys while still holding the power button for 10 more seconds.

Any suggestions on a possible fix please? Thank you.

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I once had a similar issue with my Mac Mini. Swapping the two RAM Modules seemed to help temporarily, but the issue came back and got more frequent over the next weeks/months. At the end replacing the RAM with another brand fixed it persistently. (It was "third-party" RAM from Amazon.)

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There could be a large number of issues, but as you've said it could be the RAM chips, we should start with the possibility that the RAM has become loose, you should try reseating the RAM...

I could not describe it better than this iFixIt guide: https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/MacBook+Core+2+Duo+RAM+Replacement/512

While you have the RAM out take a photo of the label, it should say how many GB each chip is and what type i.e. PC5300 or whatever.

Following this when you have rebuilt the machine follow the instructions also for a SMC/PRAM reset...

Again these instructions are clearer than what I could write: https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT204063

After this if the issue continues try finding some cheap replacement sticks on eBay and follow the guide to replace them.

If the issue persists still after this we'd be looking at more serious issues such as the main logic board, and on a machine of this age there is not much point in any more in depth repairs, however the next step would be to open the top case and check for loose connectors, debris and liquid damage.

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