My dinosaur macbook randomly shuts down. I've reset the SMC and it still shuts down. Even the computer doesnt know its coming because you can hear the arm inside the hard drive clunk as it shuts down. If you leave it sit it will last longer on the next startup. Sometimes it wont even make it to the startup chime.

  • What's the exact model number?
    – drivec
    May 11, 2018 at 16:28
  • 3
    @YourAverageComputerGeek - Your OP does not ask a question. Are you trying to determine why this is happening? Are you trying to keep this from happening? Are you reporting that it happens so other people are aware? Whatever the case, can you please edit your post to include the reason for your post, please? Thank you!
    – TMHahn
    May 11, 2018 at 17:08

2 Answers 2


Try to boot macOS from external Hard Drive or SSD. If it's stable your internal disk is damaged.

Read about external startup here.


Your MacBook is anywhere from 8 to as much as 11 years old. In my experience, you are looking at hardware failure. This is difficult to diagnose online and may be impossible to solve in a laptop form-factor, depending on what has failed.

I would start with a full Apple Hardware Test. You will likely need the discs that came with your computer or a 10.6 or earlier Applications Install Disc 2. This doesn't always catch hardware failures, but when it does, it can help you figure out how to fix it.

If this produces no information, you may need to open the case and confirm that all the internal connectors and wiring is securely attached and not damaged in any way. Look for cracks in the logic board. Confirm no debris is inside the case. Check to make sure RAM is securely inserted.

If you don't find anything obvious, I've heard anecdotal evidence that suggests old, cracked thermal paste on the CPU or GPU.

At this point, I would start to consider buying a new MacBook. If you were comfortable with your MacBook's processing power and speed, you can get a MacBook or MacBook for around $999. If you go refurbished, you are currently looking at something as low as $849.

(As an aside, there could be an issue with the battery or power adaptor. This is tough to troubleshoot as it requires a purchase of a new battery and/or power adaptor, which can be more than $100. I see that as $100 that could go to a new MacBook, so I can't say I recommend troubleshooting down that path unless you are certain that is the cause.)

  • i already opened it, cleaned it, checked twice that all connectors were secure and in place, still no difference. Its probably the battery because when i opened the macbook i found the battery had expanded more than 1/2 an inch. i'm assuming because of overcharging and not a short circut. May 11, 2018 at 18:04
  • The only thing i'm confused about is how it was doing it for so long? the battery just expanded not even 30 minutes ago. I popped a new one inside (my friend lent me his brand new one), and the problem still persists. I also popped a Yosemite hard drive into it, and got it to boot. I got to the select language screen and it shut down again. The 64gb sandisk ssd yosemite was on is now toast. I popped it into the computer we stole it from and now we get the blinking file folder (cant read drive error). May 11, 2018 at 18:12

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .