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MacBook Pro does not boot: steps to fix

23 Sep , 2015  

My MacBook Pro does not boot! Here are the steps that I used to fix it, as a note to myself and to all in the same unpleasant situation.

A foreword: these steps are things that you can try in a specific case where a MacBook pro does not boot. Read the description and see if your machine is in the same situation: there’s a good chance that you might be able to recover. However if your MacBook is not booting for another reason the solution might well be a different one.

UPDATE: my MacBook Pro has been plagued by a known defect to the logic board GPU, so apple replaced it for free and now the system boots up fine. There is a little flaw now: if I put in the screw near the magsafe the battery won’t charge anymore… but I guess I’ll have to live with it!

The Problem:

From a completely turned off computer press the power button: the screen stays black, with no backlighting, the power LED does one “breathing” and then stays solid on; the startup noise from the DVD drive can be heard, but not the typical chime of OS X booting; the fans are on, at normal speed. This happens on a MacBook Pro 15”, Early 2011 model.

The Cause:

What causes the problem is turning off the machine with the power button pressed for 5 seconds, while the OS was not responding or for any other reason. No matter what the machine is doing, 5 seconds of power button press will turn it off.

The Fixes:

If you are already thinking of shelling out another 2K+ don’t panic and try one of these solutions.

Solution 1:

This one is from youtube user Rodney Walker : in this video he explains these steps:

  • disconnect power from the Mac
  • press the power button for exactly 10 seconds
  • don’t release the power button and connect the magsafe power adapter
  • keep power button pressed until the screen turns on and the machine boots normally

Solution 2:

If this is not working after 10 seconds of reattaching the cable, you’ll have to try another method. This worked for me the first time, but not the second time it happened.

These steps worked for me the second time:

  • turn on the Mac and wait for the power led on the front to be solid on;
  • disconnect the magsafe power adapter;
  • wait for the battery to discharge completely (yes, it’s long, sorry);
  • wait for another half an hour after the power led has turned off and the power button has no effect;
  • connect the magsafe adapter, boot the machine.

At this time it will come up as normal.

Solution 3:

If still your MacBook Pro does not boot try this as a last resort and only if you’re confident of what you’re doing and you have previous experience of working with computer internals:

  • open the back panel with a small screwdriver;
  • take out one RAM module at a time and try to boot.

These steps are again from Rodney Walker video.

Reset the System Management Controller SMC:

If still your MacBook Pro does not boot try again with the first two solutions and resetting the SMC:

  • turn off with 5s power button
  • press left side control + option + shift + power button for 5s
  • release power

You might see magsafe LED momentarily turn green, and then go back to orange, assuming your battery was not full: this indicates a successful SMC reset. I did this several times before discovering solution 2.

Good luck!

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