Replaced Failing MacBook Pro Hard Drive & Can't Get New Drive To Boot

Posted on 2014-07-18
Last Modified: 2014-07-23
I have a MacBook Pro 2009ish and the hard drive is failing.  I was able to restore the failing drive to a new drive using Disk Utility on another Mac.  If I hold the option key I see the new drive but after selecting it the machine sits for a minute or so on the grey screen then shuts off.
Question by:1namyln
    LVL 27

    Accepted Solution

    That suggests data corruption on the disk's boot files or kernel files.  It's best to just back up all your data and reinstall the OS.  I've just had this problem last week and did basically the following to "recover it.

    Since I wasn't sure if the drive was bad, I used Disk Utility, as you did, to duplicate the data to a new drive.  All the data was readable, but it would boot to a gray screen and turn off.

    I decided to keep the original disk intact, so I put the new disk on the system and installed a new copy of OSX and patched it.

    I then attached the old disk to an external USB to Sata Cable and copied the files using rsync from within the terminal.

    rsync -az "/Volumes/Macintosh HD 1/Users" /Users
    rsync -az "/Volumes/Macintosh HD 1/Applications" /Applications

    I could probably also copy /System and /Library if it was just the kernel that was corrupted, but I decide not to, in case it was something more.

    rsync -az "/Volumes/Macintosh HD 1/System" /System
    rsync -az "/Volumes/Macintosh HD 1/Library" /Library

    If you didn't copy the /System and /Library folders, you will have to install a few software packages that require installers, such as Microsoft Office.  About 90% of the Software will just work, since they're installed by dragging the APP into the /Applications folder.  You'll also have to set up some system preferences manually.
    LVL 10

    Expert Comment

    When you hold down command-R, does it boot to the Recovery Partion? If so, you can have it reinstall OS X from there without affecting your applications or user files. It has to download the installer online, though, so it takes a while.

    If you can't get the recovery partion, try holding down Command-V while booting, this is called "Verbose Mode" and may give a clue as to error messages or what it's doing when it fails to boot properly. You may wish to have a camera handy to snap a photo of the screen if the errors disappear when the screen goes dark.

    Let me know that error message or messages if you get that far.
    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    Ended up performing a clean install and manually recovering the files.  Lots of files are corrupted.  iPhoto is all a mess.  Never knew until this that the photos were all added to a single database file.  What a terrible design.   Thanks for your efforts.
    LVL 27

    Expert Comment

    I usually export the iphoto files.  I also prefer to connect the iphone or ipad to a Windows system to just get the files directly.  Having them in iphoto seems rather inconvenient.  I wish you could just mount the it as a disk on a Mac without a jailbreak or 3rd party software.  You could still have run the rsync commands to grab most of the files.
    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    Unfortunately I was pressed for time and moved forward before having a chance to do the rsync.  Your efforts are much appreciated.  Thanks.
    LVL 1

    Author Closing Comment

    Points are for efforts.  Thanks for the responses.  Ended up doing a fresh install to resolve my problem.

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