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I have a MacBook that will boot up from an external SSD that has macOS Sierra installed.
However once I boot into macOS and see my disks using diskutil list, no physical internal drive is found. Only the external SSD as disk0.

The internal SSD on a MacBook from 2016 is soldered onto the logic board, and after opening the MacBook, there was no corrosion found, and no liquid was ever spilled onto it. So I don't think that the SSD died.

Is it possible that if the SSD is alive and well, that it then wouldn't be listed as a useable drive? I had deleted all the partitions like "Macintosh HD" and "Recovery disk" by mistake, and maybe now the drive is not accessible by the MacBook?

Also, its worth knowing, the MacBook came with OSX - El Capitan, but still boots with macOS Sierra.

Thanks for your help in advance.

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  • Boot into Internet Recovery (Hold Cmd-Opt-R while booting). Then open Terminal, (under Utilities menu), as issue the command diskutil list | grep disk0$ -a 5 and edit your question with the new info. – Allan May 11 '20 at 13:14
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first you should go into macOS Recovery and go to Disk Utility. Select Macintosh HD and then Info. See if the disk is listed as bootable by Disk Utility. If it doesn't say bootable, then try running first aid. If the Disk is not recognized, then see if it is recognized when booting macOS Sierra from the external drive. By doesn't boot up, if you mean it is stuck on the Apple logo, then you can try resetting the SMC and NVRAM/PRAM. Also, try using power-on self diagnostic (you must disable Firmware Password). If none of those work, then try using Single user mode (reboot then Command + S). After that, run fsck_apfs. I am aware that this probably won't work if the MBP won't boot but if you can access macOS Recovery, then you can rest assured that this is not an issue with your SSD being dead. Good luck!

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  • Hello, I tried to boot into macOS recovery, however it would not happen. In the middle of the apple logo and progress bar, it just reboots. – Masu Apr 11 '20 at 4:26
  • Try creating a bootable macOS Installer. This should have the same tools as macOS Recovery. From there, try troubleshooting. Check this out for the bootable installer: support.apple.com/en-us/HT201372 – Todd Apr 11 '20 at 4:28
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Short term: hold CMD+S on power on, wait till you land in console, look at what the system tells, take a look at dmesg | less command and see if it spills any disk related errors.

check: fsck_apfs -fyd / although this does assume you can get to the console by booting internal add.

Long term: Boot any decent Linux from USB with holding C on power on.

I suggest Manjaro/Arch more common Ubuntu, you will have much more diagnostics available then through recovery.

Can you boot in single mode from that disk? (Cmd-s holding after power on)

If so try to read and post what dmesg says. You cant copy / mount anything to other devices to until diskarbitrationd daemon is running, (making screenshot with a phone is faster) you can start it by launchctl and mount a volume and save logs but you must dig into launchctl

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Ok, I installed a different logic board with a different internal SSD, and the internal hard drive was recognized.

I took a closer look at the original logic board and saw the SSD had green gunk on it, and saw there was corrosion on the chip.

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