Jim Mitchell

Woes of MacBook Pro Unibody Owner

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A little more on my MacBook Pro woes…

Since I’ve had this machine, a MBP Unibody 2.6 Ghz / 4 GB RAM purchased in September of 2009, I’ve had to back it up, completely wipe the internal HD, and restore 5 times. Two of those times, I’ve completely zeroed the drive for extra measure. I even tried starting entirely from scratch once hoping that would finally fix my issues to no avail. In that time I’ve ended up with a “keys out of order” error more times than I can remember. Running a single user “fsck” at boot usually cannot fix the problem. I had to lay out $100 for DiskWarrior to finally resolve that. Still, through all of that, I seem to keep coming up with issues on this unit. I’ve never had this much trouble with any Mac I’ve owned–ever.

Here are the symptoms that eventually lead up to the disk to going bad: When putting the machine to sleep for more than an hour by closing the clamshell, upon waking by re-opening it, the MBP will spontaneously log itself out, sometimes only once, other times it will happen multiple times in a row (I think I counted 5 logouts once). Usually, after all that excitement, any app that I try to launch will immediately crash. I do not keep any apps running when putting the unit to sleep anymore. I’ve lost too much work because of it. Twice I’ve gotten kernel panics instead of spontaneous log outs. It is far more likely that this machine will wake with an issue than not.

Logs allude to crashed threads in windowserver, CoreGraphics, as well as a video driver (not sure which right now). I’ve tried removing every single system add-on that I’ve ever installed, but still have problems. I’ve also cleared every single cache I can get my hands on and then some, but still have problems.

Right now, I’m testing the memory using Memtest. When I left for work this morning, it had not found any problems yet. If it were as simple as a bad memory module I’d be thrilled — but to be honest, I’m thinking the problem lies in the 7200 RPM drive I had installed as a BTO option when I ordered it from Apple. It’s always seemed to be a little finicky.

Because of this lemon fresh Mac, I’ve lost countless hours, and have fallen way behind schedule on a project that I promised would be delivered a month ago. I’m finally giving up and visiting the Genius Bar at my local Apple store tomorrow. So far, I’ve had pretty good luck with them helping me solve issues with other machines. Hopefully they can with this one too. I just hope I don’t have to send it back to China to get fixed. That would put me another month (or more) behind schedule.

More to follow, I’m sure…