Today my MacBook showed up some wheel of death and I waited and waited and then after a long time (10 minutes) decide to force shutdown.

Ok, I know its not a good idea but I've done this before and then put in the installation disk and with Disk Utility I could easily repair the boot, if it's crashed. But this time Disk Utility could not find my hard drive.

I believe its not a physical issue, once started from a forced shutdown and no noises with the hard drive. But how can I repair my hard drive if even the software cannot find it?

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Ps.: I have already opened my MacBook, disconnected the hard drive, and plugged it again. You know, just in case, but no effects.

  • Have you tried zapping the PRAM with Command, Option, "P" and "R" ? Sometimes that can get a hard disk recognized. Hold the keys down after restarting and don't let go until the machine restarts again. Then let go and see if it boots.
    – Richard
    Aug 14, 2012 at 21:11
  • I have tried, but unfortunately didn't work
    – Luccas
    Aug 14, 2012 at 21:12

5 Answers 5


I'd say this is almost certainly a hardware issue. Likely something internal to the drive (if it sounds like it spins up normally, probably some part of the onboard electronics), the hard drive cable or the SATA controller on the logic board.

I'd advise taking it in to an Apple store if you can (especially if it's under warranty), but if you want to try it yourself, the first thing to do is try a different drive, and see if that gets recognized. If it does, your drive is dead, if not, it's a problem with the logic board or the cable. You can get replacement parts from iFixit, but if it's the logic board, then you're better off getting a quote from Apple for a replacement.

  • Yes, it's almost certainly a hardware issue. I'm an Apple Certified Macintosh Technician.
    – user9290
    Aug 14, 2012 at 22:26
  • Thanks CanuckSkier and @WheatWilliams for all the answers! Well, here is what's going on now. I removed my hd and connected it to my brother's same macbook and it boot up. And his hd in my macbook got the same freeze screen. Possible solution: switch the hd flat cable? I've didn't test yet, but should I?
    – Luccas
    Aug 15, 2012 at 2:00
  • The cable is definitely a possible culprit. It could also be something on the logic board. If you're comfortable switching the cable, you could try that, but I haven't done it - no idea how difficult a procedure it is.
    – robmathers
    Aug 15, 2012 at 2:12
  • The logic board you mean the motherboard?
    – Luccas
    Aug 15, 2012 at 2:41
  • I can't imagine a cable problem or sata controller problem with the fact of a forced shutdown... or just coincidence
    – Luccas
    Aug 15, 2012 at 3:15

I will tell you guys that the problem is the hard disk cable. You need just to replace it and everything will be fine again.

  • I had the same issue, went to an apple store yesterday. And they confirmed it is an hdd cable issue and replaced it. It detected 1 out of 2 times when they ran test, so hdd might get detected intermittently.
    – palaniraja
    Jan 20, 2016 at 9:44

I had this problem too. Fortunately had an identical (working) macbook pro in the house. It was the HD cable. Note that the cable from my other macbook pro looked a little different, but the connectors were the same and it worked ok in the newer macbook pro unibody 13".

  • I saw many posts describing weird behavior resulting from faulty HD cables in the MacBook Pro. You may want to have a look at the iFixit guide and shop.
    – n1000
    May 26, 2015 at 13:46

What I did was format my disk, Then it popped up with the questioned folder I was confused, and after hours of rebooting and holding alt/options and command R/P I just went to where it said install OS X again. Verified it with Apple again. (Press continue). And now I'm playin The waiting game for my computer to restart and hopefully get back to normal [Macbook Pro early 2015]


I had the same issue. Went to Apple store and of course, they mentioned is the cable (apparently it was a QC problem), so it was free replacement and labour. However, later the y came back to me to say that apparent my hard drive had crashed (totally dead and not detectable), an issue that is uncommon. Leaving me no choice but to just get a new laptop since its not worth paying for a replacements on a 4 year old computer (also had to replace battery). Brought my hard drive for data recovery and the guy was shocked as well because it also haywired their system, pretty scary i think. Now i'm going to be paying 500 dollars to have it shipped to a data recovery center.


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