Disassembling the MacBook Pro

I had quite a scare today when my new MacBook Pro wouldn’t boot. It would turn on, the screen would go white, and after about 20 seconds it flashed a question mark in a box on the screen. I thought it might have been related to a very minor drink spill incident (which resulted in my purchase of an iCurve stand) but it worked after the spill so I was a bit perplexed. I was not looking forward to going to the Apple store and parting with the laptop and getting charged a bundle so I opted for a little DIY troubleshooting.

I didn’t have the Apple install DVD with me (they were at the office) so I dropped in an XP install CD (I’m running the latest firmware which can boot those), booted that, and it told me it couldn’t find a hard drive. Then I went looking on how to disassemble the MacBook so I could pull the hard drive and test it. Thank god for ifixit.com’s complete MacBook Pro disassembly instructions, I followed those to remove the 20 or so necessary screws and open it up to get to the hard drive. I didn’t have the requisite T6 Torx screwdriver required by 2 of the screws but I managed to get by with a small allen wrench which fit well enough.

With the MacBook totally open I was able to remove the hard drive. My plan was to test it in my PC laptop to see if the BIOS would recognize it but before doing that I just reinstalled the hard drive to make sure no connectors were loose. Low and behold just disconnecting and reconnecting it did the trick.

macbook internals

I followed the instructions in reverse order to reassemble it and after about 45 minutes I’m back working on it now. Phew!

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4 Responses to Disassembling the MacBook Pro

  1. Rob says:

    Hey Todd:

    I had my Aluminum Powerbook in my JavaOne bag and, like an idiot, put my water bottle in there, and that leaked. I thought I was in trouble. It just worked, but later, I had the thing where the power cord got yanked and when they went to fix that, they said they saw mold on my circuit board, so they replaced that. Should have DIY’ed that. Anywhere, beware that risidual moisture may pose a longer term threat.

  2. Ben Atkin says:

    45 minutes? Damn, that’s fast. You’re putting my laptop fixing skills acquired at my last job as a Dell service tech to shame.

  3. Todd Huss says:

    Rob, once I had it open I made sure it was dry and clean and couldn’t find any risidual moisture. I opted the DIY route because I was afraid if I took it in and there was moisture on the inside they would tell me the warranty was void and charge me a bundle for any repairs. If I couldn’t fix it then at least I could clean it before I brought it in ;-)

    Ben, the instructions on ifixit.com were so easy to follow and the notebook easy enought to dissassemble that it was really quick and easy. I spent a lot longer trying to take apart my Dell laptop a few weeks ago when the screen gave out so I think the 45 minutes is more a testimant to Apple than to me.

  4. Naresh says:

    A ThinkPad X60 would’ve diverted the offending fluids out the undercarriage – http://arstechnica.com/reviews/hardware/x60.ars/3 :)

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