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Sell me your broken computer

Macbook display problem

NiiNii
edited September 2013 in MacBook Pro
Hi guys

This is nii writing from Ghana..my 15 inch macbook pro isn't booting to the desktop..it starts alright but when it gets to the login page, everything else goes white and nothing seems to work..I hear the fans spinning but the screen is just white and the keyboard becomes unresponsive..no caplock lights..I've tried safe mode, recovering and even reinstalling the os but I get this blue vertical lines on the display..wish I cld post an image for u to see..I really need help here..it's been 4days now..thank you and best regards

Answers

  • Hi! Thanks for the post!

    First, what are the last 3 digits of your serial number, so I can identify exactly which MacBook Pro you have?

    We need to figure out whether this is a board issue, a hard drive issue, or a video system issue. If this is a 15" Aluminum Pro with silver keys, you're probably seeing the beginning signs of the classic video issue that many of these get, and unfortunately there is no real solution for that. The fact that it works fine in setup but then shifts to this other screen is also evidence of a video chip/board issue.

    But anyway, I would try a different hard drive, or booting to an external hard drive, in order to rule out your current hard drive. I would also connect your laptop to an external display and see if you can see the operating system externally (while you have the blue lines on the laptop screen). If you can see it on the external monitor while it's blue on the laptop screen, that is evidence of a problem with the internal display hardware, while if it looks the same externally as well, that's evidence of board or video chip issue.

    I would also reset the PRAM and PMU/SMC. Sometimes a laptop will be configured with its own screen to be the secondary display, and resetting the PRAM will point it back to itself. Unlikely, but worth a try.

    Thanks, and let me know how it goes!

    John
  • The last 3 digits are F8V..I have tried resetting the smc, nvram and all that..I even took it apart and blew off the dust hoping that mightbe a factor but all to no avail..i tried connecting to an external TV thru hdmi but nothing shows up..just a white screen on the macbook and blank screen on the external..but it takes me to the desktop after removing the setup thru "rm /var/db/.applesetupdone"..the desktop works fine after creating a new account..but it doesn't show again after restart..I don't know how to boot from an external hd too..

    These are my issues so far..
  • Hi john, I sent an image of the vertical blue lines to ur email..hope u check to see what I've been describing..the vertical blue usually comes when I go into recovery and sometimes blank..but the white screen shows up when I'm trying to boot it up..
  • It's looking more and more like a board issue, especially considering the external video did not work.

    Just to be clear, when you reinstalled the OS, did you boot from restore media, format your hard drive, and go through the whole standard install? I would do that, if you haven't. If you connect an external hard drive via USB, that drive will appear during the OS install procedure, and you can choose to install to that drive instead of the internal drive. You can then boot to the external drive by powering on in option mode (hold down option when powering on) and selecting it. Once you have the external hard drive with the OS installed on it, I would also attempt to boot from it with the internal hard drive removed, in case the internal is experiencing some kind of corruption that is disrupting the overall system. That's rare, but it happens.

    I would also power on with one stick of RAM removed, and then power on with the other stick removed, just to rule out a bad RAM slot. Bad RAM slots, when occupied, will cause laptops to behave in a variety of ways.

    I also wonder what OS media you are using, and if it's got a problem. You might want to get a generic Mountain Lion DVD and install from that, just in case what you have is the culprit.

    Lastly, if all else fails, I'd take it in to the Apple store and see what they say, if you have one in the area (I'm not sure to what extent Apple even exists in Ghana). Or if not, you can probably mail it in to one. They have tests they can apply that are not available to the general public, which can identify issues. If it's out of warranty and has a bad board, you can usually ask for a "depot repair" for about $300.

    Thanks, and let me know how it goes!

    John
  • Thanks for the reply..I booted from a bootable usb..tried reinstalling and the blue vertical lines comes up..sometimes blank..no way for me to run the install since the screen is blank or blue..how much will it cost to have a board repaired? I really need to get it running..and the booting from external, is it any external usb at all? I have a 1tb external hd and I'm wondering how the macbbook will be able to recognize it during start up..
  • As for repair, like I said, the best way is to have Apple do a depot repair for around $300. They don't repair it -- they replace the board. Logic board repair is very hit or miss, and paying the average "repair guy" to fix your board is generally not going to produce good results.

    Yes, any external USB hard drive with the OS installed to it can be a bootable hard drive. If you have a friend with a MacBook, connect your drive to it, install the OS to that drive from the other machine, and then see if yours will boot to it once you have a bootable USB drive.

    It almost sounds like you have a corrupted firmware. That's not common but I've heard of it happening occasionally. If that's the case, I don't think there is a solution.

    But definitely try some other restore media, because you haven't ruled out that yours is not bad.

    Thanks,

    John
  • Ok since I can't get into the main account, is it any possible for me to setup another account and copy the documents and files on the primary account..basically a way to save the items on the hard driv..so corrupted firmware means the mac book is useless? And beyond fixing?
  • edited September 2013
    Possibly, but it's too early to come to conclusions. It may be simply a problem with the OS on the drive, or with the drive itself, so the logical thing to try is to boot from a different drive that has a fresh copy of the OS. You can even take the drive out, put it in another MacBook, wipe it and reinstall the OS (assuming the drive is good and that it will take the OS), and then put it back in your machine. If your laptop works at that point, you know it was the operating system. If it doesn't, you know it's probably the board. You can also take note of how the other laptop behaves with your drive in it, and similarly if it behaves the same as yours, you know it's the drive/OS, and if it doesn't, you know it's your laptop.

    Another method is to put your laptop in target mode (hold down "t" while powering on), and connect it to another MacBook via FireWire or Thunderbolt. Your hard drive's icon should appear on the other machine's desktop, assuming it is readable. You can then back up your data, wipe the drive, and reinstall the OS from the other laptop.

    There may be a tricky way to do what you are describing via command line, but I'm not sure how that work work. I'm a hardware guy, so my preferred method (and probably the easiest way overall) is to swap drives and take note of the difference. You have to logically rule out the various possibilities one at a time, until the answer is all that's left, sort of like a geometry proof. If you stare at a geometry proof without taking logical steps forward, the answer is never clear and any conclusion at that point is just a guess.
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