Very sick MacBook

Discussion of general issues, not related to a specific Mac or iDevice operating system.
anne murray
Forum Member - Level 1
Forum Member - Level 1
Posts: 41
Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:00 am

Very sick MacBook

Post by anne murray » Fri May 31, 2013 7:51 am

I have a 2012 MacBook Air which is completely unresponsive. I have a blank lighted screen with no sign of life anywhere. I cannot turn the computer off or reboot it. Here are the events leading up to this situation:

Two weeks ago I decided to shut down the computer and recharge it. I could not restart it. I left it for several hours during which the battery was completely recharged and was then able to restart. I wondered if my power button was not always making connections because I had had no trouble restarting the computer from the finder.

A few days later Apple issued a firmware update for my computer. This is the only time I recall Apple warning to backup the computer before installing the update. (I did.) The update shut down the computer after installation. I followed Apple's instructions but could not reboot it. Sometime later I was able to activate the power button and it did reboot.

http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1655

Yesterday the computer froze while in Safari. I believe I closed the lid at that point and later got a blank black screen and then the lighted empty screen. I can do nothing with the machine now.

I'm running Lion.

Many thanks for your thoughts.

User avatar
JerryFreilich
Forum Member - Level 3
Forum Member - Level 3
Posts: 424
Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2011 6:35 pm
Location: Bend, OR

Re: Very sick MacBook

Post by JerryFreilich » Fri May 31, 2013 8:12 am

Ann, I'm not too familiar with Air's specifically... but the first thing I would suggest is that you hold down the power button and keep it held down for a long time (even a minute if you have to) and see if that doesn't shut it down completely. Then try rebooting. It seems from your description as if the firmware upgrade did complete properly, so I'm thinking that's not related to this new issue.

If it was any regular Mac model, if the button hold-down didn't work, I would be thinking to hook the Air up to another good, working Mac via Target Disk Mode. Then I'd run the various disk utilities from the good Mac. Perhaps our other members know whether the Air supports Target Disk Mode, I don't.

anne murray
Forum Member - Level 1
Forum Member - Level 1
Posts: 41
Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:00 am

Re: Very sick MacBook

Post by anne murray » Fri May 31, 2013 9:00 am

I tried Jerry's suggestion of holding down the power button for 2 minutes - no luck.

I have a firewire port, but current MacBooks are not listed as being able to be the Target computer. Could my iMac be the target and the MacBook the host?

I also have a Thunderbolt port but no adapter. I've read about folks using Target DIsk Mode between an Air and another computer via Thunderbolt.
Last edited by anne murray on Fri May 31, 2013 9:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Stephen Hart
Forum Member - Level 5
Forum Member - Level 5
Posts: 3045
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2011 10:09 am

Re: Very sick MacBook

Post by Stephen Hart » Fri May 31, 2013 9:08 am

According to this Wikipedia article, this MacBook Air should support Target Disk Mode, assuming you can link the two Macs with ThunderBolt or ThunderBolt-to-FireWire.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Target_Disk_Mode

You could also start up the MacBook Air with a USB external drive with a known-good clone of your drive (or an external set up for diagnostics with an appropriate OS X version) and run diagnostics from there.

Is this MacBook Air still under AppleCare?
"Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."
Steve Jobs

anne murray
Forum Member - Level 1
Forum Member - Level 1
Posts: 41
Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:00 am

Re: Very sick MacBook

Post by anne murray » Fri May 31, 2013 9:48 am

I connect my backup drive via firewire, but I also have a USB connector. If I cannot restart my MacBook, how would I use Target Disk Mode?

Yes, I have 2+ years remaining on AppleCare.

User avatar
Stephen Hart
Forum Member - Level 5
Forum Member - Level 5
Posts: 3045
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2011 10:09 am

Re: Very sick MacBook

Post by Stephen Hart » Fri May 31, 2013 9:52 am

Jerry's suggestion of holding down the power button was to make sure the MacBook Air is off. To turn it on, you should just press the power button once.

Are you sure the MagSafe power supply is working and plugged into a known-good receptacle? If the battery was fully discharged (because it wasn't charging), you wouldn't be able to restart the MacBook.

If that all fails, I think you'll have to either take it in to an Apple Store or mail it off.
"Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."
Steve Jobs

anne murray
Forum Member - Level 1
Forum Member - Level 1
Posts: 41
Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:00 am

Re: Very sick MacBook

Post by anne murray » Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:22 am

I have connected my two computers via firewire. However, I do not see how it is possible to use Target Disk Mode to diagnose the MacBook Air since I cannot reboot that computer. Am I correct about that?

User avatar
Stephen Hart
Forum Member - Level 5
Forum Member - Level 5
Posts: 3045
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2011 10:09 am

Re: Very sick MacBook

Post by Stephen Hart » Sun Jun 02, 2013 11:21 am

anne murray wrote:I have connected my two computers via firewire. However, I do not see how it is possible to use Target Disk Mode to diagnose the MacBook Air since I cannot reboot that computer. Am I correct about that?
You're right. If the MacBook Air cannot boot, you can't do anything short of removing the flash drive and diagnosing it separately.

Did you check the power supply? It occurred to me that it's possible that the power supply isn't getting power from the wall, or the magsafe connector isn't working or that the power supply itself is faulty. In that case, the MacBook Air might be fine, just staying shut down because of lack of battery power.

Does your connector look like the one below? If so, it's a MagSafe 2, and we have one we could bring down temporarily to test.
Attachments
250px-Right_Angle_Magsafe.jpg
250px-Right_Angle_Magsafe.jpg (9.03 KiB) Viewed 1159 times
"Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."
Steve Jobs

anne murray
Forum Member - Level 1
Forum Member - Level 1
Posts: 41
Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:00 am

Re: Very sick MacBook

Post by anne murray » Sun Jun 02, 2013 12:01 pm

The computer charged the other day so I believe the power supply is okay. So long as the Air is plugged into the wall it continues to indicate that it is fully charged. Thanks for the offer, Steve, but my power supply does not look like yours.

The screen is lighted but blank, and the power button is unresponsive.

The power button was the initial problem. Then the computer froze while in Safari. I closed the lid, and the screen went blank when I reopened it - first black, then lighted.

I plan to take it to Tacoma one day this week.

User avatar
Stephen Hart
Forum Member - Level 5
Forum Member - Level 5
Posts: 3045
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2011 10:09 am

Re: Very sick MacBook

Post by Stephen Hart » Sun Jun 02, 2013 2:59 pm

I plan to take it to Tacoma one day this week.
Sounds like the best option. Just a guess: the earlier problems arose from the battery being too low to restart. This doesn't mean that the battery was dead. After plenty of time for recharging, it restarted. After that, I'll guess that the firmware update failed, leaving your MacBook with no OS. (Though in that scenario, the power button should still work.)

Or I could be off base on all counts. I'll be interested to read what Apple discovers. I hope you can get it resolved one way or the other at the store.
"Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."
Steve Jobs

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests