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White Macbook won't open - the screen goes white and then nothing

Amanda C

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Hi Brian,

Desperately need some (more) advice. My  (grown up) son's white Macbook (about six years old,  and don't have the exact model number), had been running very slowly for the last few months, and he ordered a new MacBook Pro last Friday (which he then cancelled cos his mate said they were about to bring out a new model). I don't know what iOS it was running, but he says he hadn't updated it for quite some time - he thinks at leat a year.

So yesterday he went to open the Macbook and it wouldn't start up. It turns on, then the screen goes white and then absolutely nothing. Tried numerous times.

The last few months there has also been an intermittent high pitched screeching noise on startup that last several seconds, but this  time that didn't happen and he did't get past the white screen, but you can hear a whirring sound.

About a year ago he replacde the Macbook hard drive for a larger one and I know that drive was partitioned (by my partner Paul) and the partition he was using was almost full, as I told him last week when he was ordering the new one, he need to back up and clear some space on the almost full partition. The other partition was empty, even though Paul had told him when he partitioned it to store films on the partition, but he hadn't - he had clogged up the one partition with everything.

Paul used to be a Mac technician about ten years ago and tries to keep up to date, but he doesn't do that job any longer so isn't an expert any more.

He has taken the drive out and copied it on to another external drive, but as yet has not been able to restore/recover any data.

Now here's the really bad bit - my son is an actor and is totally anti-technology. Doesn't do Facebook or Twitter and hates anything to do with computers.He is totally tech-phobic.

 He backed up about three months ago, but since that time has been writing a film script (which is almost finished) and has not backed up. I know that is totally his own faulty, but he is literally going mental (mostly at me! ) at the thought of losing all his work - not blaming me, but just ranting about how Apple control everyone's life and they deliberately make computers to break after a few years.

Seems to think they have something personal against him - yeah, yeah I know that's his dramatic actor side of him.

So do you have any suggestions at all for this sad old white Macbook. He now doesn't care about waiting for a new model,; he just wants to get back his data (primarily his film script) and get it onto a new machine. Do you think he should try the Apple Genius route - or another data retrieval company. We are based in London, England.

Waiting in hope and anticipation.


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This whole situation isn't good. Sounds like the motherboard or even the HD has failed. Professional data recovery is not cheap. Like kiss that new MacBook goodbye not cheap. 

Now splitting the partitions, one for programs, one for data is great for the technical types, not for the average person who hates technology. They will want to dump everything to one partition, no matter what they are instructed to do.

Side note: This is why I answer some questions the way that I do. It's for the majority and the folks who really aren't tech-savvy. I'm sure there are plenty of members who are screaming at the keyboard on a normal basis. :) 

There is a method to my madness, but I'm digressing here...

OK: The old MacBook isn't worth repairing. I'd get a new one and purchase a SATA to USB adapter cable. Basically, you will turn that internal drive into an external. These adapters should be between £10-£20. Maybe as much as £30. You can get them on Amazon. I'm hoping the HD with the data can be accessed with the new Mac. It won't be read on a Windows machine, you'll need a Mac. 

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Thanks so much Brian. I totally agree about partitions - great if you have an inkling; not right for my techno-phobic son.

I think he may want to go ahead with professional data recovery because of the lost script - luckily money is not too much of an issue - he just got paid the most obscene amount of money for a Bose commercial! Not that he'll want to part with it for something computer based, so I guess I'll be in for another ear bashing! When he's on a rant about how Apple control everyone's lives i just have to remember - he's an actor, he doesn't really mean all this shit that he's saying!

Do you happen to know of any reputable Pro data recovery companies in the UK, cos otherwise it's just lucky dip.

And I'm afraid Windows is a dirty word in our household, we are all Mac disciples, although nowadays we often wonder why we have the brand loyalty! All that we loved about Mac (my first was an LC back in 1990), has long gone. Now it's a love, hate relationship.

I'll keep you posted. One other thing, as I mentioned the reason he cancelled the new MacBook Pro order was that his mate told him a new one was rumoured to be announced within weeks - do you think any new features/upgrades are going to be worth waiting for. He basically does emails, writes scripts, watches movies and downloads music from iTunes? I'm thinking he's not going to benefit much from waiting for the next generation?


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Wow. I remember the Mac LC it reminded me of a Pizza Box. And the  Mac SE. And the Mac 128. :)

i don't know of any in the UK. I usually recommend Gillware for data recovery. Gillware.com

i also found this one that seems to specialize in Mac Data recovery:


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