This morning when I woke up my computer it turned off itself. Now it won't stay on for more than a couple minutes. The computer will boot up normally, but soon it turns off again. When it turns off, I hear a tiny clunk that I think is the hard drive, but I'm not entirely sure.

What can I do to troubleshoot the problem myself?

This is about a MacBook Pro 13" Early 2011.

  • Click the power indicator, what does it show? – Rob Mar 19 '13 at 12:51
  • Inspector Gadgets question: How can you hear a tiny clunk while driving in the car? – user44516 Mar 19 '13 at 12:58
  • Please do not use a screwdriver!, Sometimes the battery is not locked in place, so vibrations could be in effect here. Make sure it is locked. When you say "Now it will not stay On" do you mean it is plugged in to the wall outlet? – user44516 Mar 19 '13 at 13:05
  • @Borderline I heard the clunk when I tried it again at my desk. :) – stephenwade Mar 19 '13 at 17:02
  • @Robuust The computer will boot up normally, but if I bump it at all, even typing on the keyboard, it shuts down again. Edited question to include this. – stephenwade Mar 19 '13 at 17:05

It could be something as simple as you power button is stuck, forcing it to shut down.

If you hold the power button for 10 seconds it will forcefully shut down the computer.

In that case it will make the tiny clunk noise, which is normal due to HD been turned off and the HD reader head dropping. Do not do this to often, since you might damage it.

The stuck power button happens to computers on the back seat of the car exposed to food and other stuff.

If the hard drive is dead, you will see a gray screen, and that bad hard drive would not turn off the computer.

  • Mac can have Blue or Grey screen, Blue is the dead hard drive, grey is system did not load properly. – user44516 Mar 19 '13 at 14:56
  • It's not a stuck power button. Sometimes it lasts until I log in, but then a tiny bump to the computer, even as small as typing on the keyboard, will kill it again. – stephenwade Mar 19 '13 at 17:03
  • Thanks for additional information. That helps narrowing it down. Now we can say it is not your hard drive and it is not your battery and it is not corrupt operating system. You said you get all the way till the log in screen ! But when you touch the keyboard to write your log in it shuts down ! I would recommend you take a look at the hard drive mount,= take it out than back in (ONLY when your computer is Off). If you have external keyboard plug it in and try with that. – user44516 Mar 19 '13 at 20:35
  • Psst! did you spill coffe on the keyboard! – user44516 Mar 19 '13 at 20:42
  • Also, just in case you have a bug or dead rive, try booting in safe mode : and it goes like this: To start up into Safe Mode (to Safe Boot), do this: Be sure your Mac is shut down. Press the power button. Immediately after you hear the startup tone, hold the Shift key. The Shift key should be held as soon as possible after the startup tone, but not before the tone. Release the Shift key when you see the gray Apple icon and the progress indicator (looks like a spinning gear). – user44516 Mar 19 '13 at 21:15

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