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For the last months I have had a problem with my MacBook Pro crashing when I applied pressure on the back described here in more detail:

MacBook Pro Mid 2010 13" freezes/restarts when applying pressure on specific part on the back

Since I didn't want to invest in a new MacBook I continued to use it without moving it around, which went fine for most of the time. Only sometimes I had a kernel panic when I had a lot of tabs open in Safari at the same time, for example.

Yesterday, however, after another kernel panic my MacBook wouldn't boot anymore. After the apple sign at the start (the starting tone is normal) it let's me choose the language and then shows me the macOS Utilities, also, booting in safe mode is not possible. First aid didn't work, it showed me the following errors (first picture: when I run first aid from the upper icon "Samsung SSD...", second picture: when I run first aid from the lower icon "--" - also the SSD doesn't have the name I gave it anymore in disk utility, in the first aid report however, it's still shown).

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The last time machine backup I made was about a week ago so it's not the biggest crisis if last week's data is lost. Therefore the first thing I tried was "Restore From Time Machine Backup". When it asked me where to put the backup nothing showed up to choose from.

Next thing I tried was "Reinstall macOS", but here when it asked to to choose where to install it, it only showed the 2.15 GB recovery partition.

Then I tried to erase the whole drive in disk utility which didn't work. (I guess because I'm accessing macOS Utilities via the recovery partition so I can't erase the whole drive while using part of it?)

I also put the SSD in an external case and connected it to another Mac but it only showed up in disk utility, not on the desktop. When I tried first aid from the other Mac it reported no problems, S.M.A.R.T. status is "verified", both in disk utility on my MacBook and on the other Mac. What is also weird is that it reports all the memory to be used, altough it had around 20GB free.

Also I started the MacBook four times with always just one (4GB) RAM in both of the slots to check if the RAM and the slots work.

So that leaves me with a few questions:

  1. Is my SSD dead (maybe because of too many kernel panics)? How would I know if I can throw it away? Would it even be possible to see macOS Utilities if it was completely broken? (I have experienced a few HDDs dying on me and I have an idea of how they behave when it's time to say good bye but a dying SSD is new to me.) My SSD is a Samsung 840 EVO 250GB, about 5 years old by the way.

  2. If it isn't dead can I save the data on it? (Not the highest priority because of the recent Time Machine Backup)

  3. I noticed that if I apply pressure on the point which always caused a kernel panic or flex the MacBook a bit it does not cause the MacBook to crash anymore. Does that mean that the problem described in the other question (link above) was a software issue after all or would a poor connection, a crack in a circuit board or an intermittent short circuit, etc. just not cause a crash in recovery mode?

  4. What are the next steps? Put the SSD in the external case again and format it from another laptop and try to install an OS via a USB memory stick?

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    It’s more likely that a failing SSD caused the kernel panics than that the kernel panics killed the SSD, – Mike Scott Sep 9 '18 at 16:27
  • So is there a way to be sure that the SSD is failing? Based on my descriptions would you say that this is the case? I also have another 500GB SSD that I used as a second SSD instead of the optical drive. Is it a good idea to try to install the OS on this one and give the macbook another try or would I endanger that SSD as well? – r-newbie Sep 9 '18 at 16:49

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