A week ago my MacBook crashed. When booting, a folder with a question mark showed up on my screen indicating severe trouble. I tried holding the Opt key while booting, but the Mac would not recognize any drives. I removed the HDD physically and enclosed it in a external USB enclosure. I could read/write and hence backup the data that way.

I tried:

  • erasing the disk and making a new recovery disk. The MacBook could not recognize the disk.

  • swapping the HDD with a Kingston HyperX SSD 120 GB. The Mac can find the disk, but won’t install either Lion, Mountain Lion or Snow Leopard on the disk. The installation reports problems with missing elements. I tried both Boot USB (L+ML), Recovery USB (L+ML) and the installation disk (SL). No luck.

Note: I can read/write on the SSD in the external HD enclosure - so it should not be a SATA controller related problem ...

Stats: late 2009 MacBook 13", all stuff in it is stock from Apple.

Suggestions as to cause and solutions for this issue would be much appreciated!

  • What do you mean by "my MacBook crashed"? Was that a physical crash or a software crash? You should try to perform a PRAM Reset which contains information about the Startup disk selection.
    – gentmatt
    Commented Oct 30, 2012 at 11:17

1 Answer 1


It's very likely that some internal hardware is down.

Since you said it yourself, the drive works using other interfaces and using another drive inside it doesn't.

Since on a MacBook there is just one mainboard I don't thing you can do something.

  • Okay - will need to ship it of to the insurance, then! Thanks for the reply, @Matthieu Riegler. Commented Oct 30, 2012 at 7:04

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