Archive for the ‘MacBook’ tag
So you have an Apple MacBook or MacBook Pro that needs a larger hard drive. Not an uncommon problem.
Maybe someone in your family decided to give you the gift of a bare hard drive, or maybe you have another 2.5” drive that is kicking around. In either case you decide that you don’t have the time, knowledge, or tools to install the drive into your Mac computer. Also, if your Apple laptop is under warranty, the hard drive is NOT a user installable part, so if you install it yourself, you’ll void your Apple warranty. Thankfully, MacMedics is an Apple Authorized Service Provider who employs Apple Certified Technicians.
MacMedics to the rescue! We’ve installed thousands of hard drives in Apple laptops, so we can install yours as well. For $150 we’ll install your new hard drive and perform a bit-by-bit clone of your data from your old drive to your new hard drive. As long as your old drive is healthy enough to copy, $150 is all you pay. In most cases this service can be performed same day, if you bring in your Apple laptop in the morning.
Don’t have your own hard drive and you don’t trust Best Buy to sell you the right speed, brand, or size of hard drive? Don’t worry as both MacMedics service locations in Millersville and Lanham, Maryland stock all sizes, speeds, and types of drives.
So from 160 GB all the way up to 1 TB (depending on your model of laptop), we can help!
Keep Your Stapler Away From Your MacBook’s MagSafe Power Connector
Don’t forget that the magnet inside the MagSafe connector on your MacBook or MacBook Pro is very strong.
It WILL pull metal objects into it, and as you can see in this picture a staple is the perfect size. This is a “used” staple, but an “unused” stable also fits into the MagSafe port perfectly.
This unit was working, but even after some other seeming unrelated damage it stopped working. We’re wondering if this staple had anything to do with it.
There have also been reports of certain type of “sand” being picked up and stuck inside the MagSafe connector. It’s a good idea to keep and eye on it, and be sure to promptly remove anything you find.
If you spill coffee into your MacBook or MacBook Pro, the trick is to get it to MacMedics fast. Don’t try to fix it yourself, and just because it seems to be working OK, does NOT mean you’re out of the woods. Best thing to do is try to mop up excess liquid, remove the battery, then get it to us a quickly as possible.
Here are some Do-It-Yourself procedures to avoid:
1. Don’t try to turn the unit on NO MATTER WHAT. If there is liquid in the unit, and it’s making a connection between anything, then that could very well be the end of your laptop.
2. Don’t try to take the unit apart yourself. It’s not that hard to take off most MacBook’s top case, but to ensure the liquid is gone, the logic board needs to be removed in almost every case.
3. Don’t try to clean your logic board or any other part of your computer with “distilled” water. In fact, we don’t recommend you even try to clean it at all.
4. If moisture gets in, it’s usually not going to go away on it’s own. If your computer seems to be working after a spill, then that means you most likely got lucky and we might be able to fix/save your MacBook or MacBook Pro. But, in order to do so, turn the unit off and remove the battery. The liquid problem almost never goes away on it’s own.
5. If you have something like coffee, orange juice, soda, and many other type of acidic liquids, two things, 1. the acid will cause more corrosion than just water, and 2. Anything that has sugars in it won’t totally evaporate, it will just turn in a syrup which can cause it’s own set of problems. If you are growing a corrosion “science fair” project inside your laptop, you’ll end up with something that looks like mold that we call “creeping crud“. This stuff is nasty, because as long as it’s inside your unit, it can sort of “grow” and “creep” to reach other parts of your computer and cause more damage along the way. Anything it touches and then grows on will get get fried if power is applied (even well after the liquid is long gone). It’s also very brittle and it can crack off and then “float” around inside of your unit causing more issues as it “pinballs” its way around the inside of your computer.
6. Do us a big favor, don’t put your Apple laptop into an oven to dry it out. This can cause a whole new set of problems. We just wrapped up writing an estimate on a Unibody MacBook Pro that the owner tried to take it apart, then tried to clean the keyboard with water, and then baked the whole thing in the oven. Total repair $1700. New computer $1200.
One other thing to think about: Your hard drive. If your data is NOT backed up, your liquid soaked laptop could be putting your data at risk. This is the first thing we look a when working on a liquid spill case. We remove the hard drive and check to ensure that your data is safe. Most DIY repairs don’t take this into account, and most won’t take the controller off the hard drive to ensure there’s no liquid under it. When making a back up plan, you should take into account laptop damage as a possible way for your data to get in harm’s way. Please ensure you have a back up (tested and working) at all times.
Here’s a testimonial for one that we fixed a while back. This client was smart and he got the unit to us quickly, so we could get the coffee out while it was still wet.
“Well I’ve received my MacBook delivered back to me via your courier; and, I have to tell you that it was like getting a member of the family home from the hospital. Five days after buying my MacBook, I spilled coffee across the open laptop: I was certain that I had just spent $1,200 for coffee I wouldn’t get to enjoy. I never dreamed you could have saved my files– much less the entire computer. I am in awe of the dedication and skill it must have taken to disassemble my laptop, clean it piece by piece, and then return it to me as good as new. Thank you for the attention, the care, and the professionalism you demonstrated in far exceeding my expectations in quality of service and affordability. I highly recommend MacMedics, and would encourage any Mac user who drinks coffee to put your number on speed dial.”
Getting An Accurate Macintosh Repair Diagnosis Is Important. You’ll Always Get One At MacMedics, And Never For More Than $99
Getting An Accurate Macintosh Repair Diagnosis Is Important. You’ll Always Get One At MacMedics, And Never For More Than $99
Recently, a MacMedics client showed me an on-line review of another Apple Authorized Service Provider that shares the Metro area with one of the MacMedics offices. To keep things as fair as possible, I won’t name names or locations.
Here’s a copy of the review that was marked 1 out of 5 stars:
“Let me fill you in on my story. I’m a sophomore in college, and I own a MacBook Pro. One day the display just stops working. External displays don’t even work. So I bring it to an Apple store nearby. They tell me they can’t cover it under the warranty because of the “external damage” (really nothing more than a few scratches and a small bump or two). So, they want to charge me $1300 for repairs. I figured I’d just take it to an Authorized Service Provider, and have them fix only the parts that aren’t working. Little did I know that about a week later I’d get a call saying they couldn’t do anything for me and that they’d have to charge me $125 for “Diagnostics” when they can’t even tell me what’s wrong with the thing. Overall, if it’s a hardware problem, I’m not even sure if it would be worth trying to save the computer. You may as well just buy another one?”
Let me tell you why this type of situation never happens at MacMedics:
1. If you bring in a unit that is obviously beyond our help or obviously not worth a repair, we won’t try to entice you to check it in for a diagnostic if we don’t think it’s going to be worth fixing. In many cases, if you stop by with your sick Mac, we’ll be able to tell pretty quick if we think it’s worth fixing or even worth looking into. We’ll often plug a unit in to see what’s up with it while-you-wait if we have the open bench space when you stop by. We know that nobody wants to be without their computer, and in many cases if we find out your issue is a simple problem like a bad power adapter, bad battery, corrupt power manager, or a bad stick of RAM it can often be repaired right on the spot.
2. If we do have to open up your MacBook or MacBook Pro to look inside for trouble, and we deem that it needs a repair that is either too much for you, or just to expensive in general our fee for the diagnostic and surgery is only $99. That fee is only charged IF you decide NOT to fix your Mac laptop. Otherwise that $99 diagnostic fee is 100% applied to whatever repair is needed, if you choose to have one performed.
3. If you bring us a Macintosh computer for service, we will usually have an answer for you the same day and always within 24 hours of drop off at the most. Never a week or more as was the case in the review mentioned above.
4. If your unit is super sick (like it needs a $1200 repair) it may still have salvage value. A. We’ll help move you into a new Mac and transfer all of your data (if your data is healthy) for a flat fee of $99. B. If you unit has any value to us, we’ll offer a trade-in value for it. (That’s not something Apple does or anyone else we know of.)
5. If your MacBook laptop has suffered a liquid spill, we offer a $150 “estimate” service, which will get you an estimate on the total repair, and 1-way take apart on the laptop. We’ll remove the logic board, look under the hard drive and even try some basic cleaning and testing to see what is wrong with your MacBook. Unlike our $99 fee, the $150 liquid estimate is work we have to perform, so it’s really like the first leg of the repair, so any needed repairs and parts are in addition to the $150 estimate fee. See this MacMedics Blog post for more info.
6. Our in-lab techs will be honest with you. We will try to find the cause of your computer’s issue, and report back to you with ALL of your options. If we can repair your Mac cost effectively, we’ll go in that direction. If your repair is more than 50% the cost of replacing the unit, we’ll most likely recommend replacing it.
In some cases of a major hardware failure, MacMedics, might be able to move you into a pre-owned Mac. We often can move over your upgraded hard drive and/or RAM to try and maximize the value of what you have already paid for. We’re flexible, and we’ll do whatever we can do to help you get your Macintosh repair (or help you buy a new Apple computer) completed as cost effectively as possible.
We really do love what we do, and no matter what your situation is, we would LOVE to talk to you about your problem. Give us call, send us an e-mail, or just stop by either of two Apple Certified Mac Labs in Millersville or Lanham, Maryland.
A new client in our Washington DC office, brought us a MacBook that had a dying hard drive. He needed the data, so Mike H, one of the talented MacMedics in Lanham was able to recover it all.
Folks, this would be so much easier if everyone had data back ups. I promise you that even without countless “Data Recovery” cases coming in every day, we’ll still be able to stay in business. If you don’t have a tested, working, and automatic backup working for, it’s TIME to get one. We can help if you need guidance.
If you have a back up, then test it, and please consider a clone back up and an off-site back up to boot. You can never have TOO MANY back ups.
Our client in Washington DC sent this:
“Dear Mr Stibolt
I want to let you know that I received excellent service from Mike at your DC location near Bowie, Maryland. My MacBook was very ‘sick’ and Mike helped repair it, and save my data
I will surely recommend MacMedics to friends and family…
The Apple Store won’t upgrade your hard drive for you. But, MacMedics can, and we can do so either in or out of Apple warranty.
Here’s a common hard drive scenario that we help MacMedics clients with every day.
Your hard drive has failed, but you’d like to replace with a larger hard drive.
This makes perfect sense. Your MacBook with a 120 GB hard drive kicks the bucket, and in the process of replacing it, you’d like to upgrade it. MacMedics can help!
In Warranty: If your Mac is under warranty AND it’s hard drive fails, we can upgrade you to a larger capacity hard drive “under warranty”. All you do is pay for a new hard drive in the capacity of your choice.
Here’s how it happens:
1. We diagnose your computer’s hard drive as failed.
2. We order a new hard drive from Apple.
3. We install a new third party hard drive in the capacity of your choice.
4. We will install a new operating system on your new hard drive. (good time to upgrade your OS if you wish!)
5. You pay MacMedics for the cost of the new hard drive.
6. We send your old hard drive back to Apple.
7. We give you the Apple replacement hard drive to keep.
Your total cost: Just the price of a new hard drive, assuming we don’t also have to worry about or recover any of your data.
The free “original” size hard drive is yours to keep and you can sell it, keep it as a spare part, or use it to upgrade one of your other Macintosh computers.
Installing a new, large, faster, and more robust hard drive in your Macintosh does not void your AppleCare warranty. The only caveat that you have to keep in mind is that the Apple warranty WILL NOT cover the third party hard drive under Apple’s warranty. But if it should fail it is covered by a 1-year MacMedics warranty.
Out Of Warranty: If your Mac is out of warranty, we can also replace your hard drive with any size hard you would like. Most hard drive “upgrades” or “retirements” are done for our flat fee of $150 plus the cost of the hard drive. (Black or White original MacBooks are done for $99)
Obviously, if we have to recover your data from a failing hard drive, and provide other services in order to get your computer back in shape other charges may apply.
Here’s how it happens:
1. We diagnose your computer’s hard drive as failed.
2. You choose a new hard drive size and speed.
3. We install that new hard drive for you.
4. We clone your data from old hard drive to new hard drive
5. We test and run updates on your computer.
MacMedics keeps all popular hard drive sizes and speeds in stock at all times, so we can get you back on-line as quickly as possible.
This is just one more reason that MacMedics is often a better choice than trekking to your local Apple Store and dragging your iMac or Mac Pro through the mall.
Update 2/4/11: Apple completed it’s repair extension program covering the Seagate 7.01 type drives on February 04, 2011.
Update 2/1/11: We’ve noticed (and others on the Internets) that Seagate drives that have the firmware version of 3.CAE are in the same category as the Seagate 7.01 firmware drive that are prone to catastrophic and sudden failure. MacMedics STRONGLY recommends that both the Seagate 7.01 AND 3.CAE hard drives should be replaced no matter where they are installed or how old they are. Having an effective back-up is great protection, but if you’ve got a ticking time bomb in your computer it could blow up at anytime, and you could still lose data. Also, no time is a good time to have your hard drive blow up. It could happen before a big trip or project and the computer would be unusable until the drive was replaced, and the data that you HAVE backed up can be restored. In some cases that could take an entire day as Time machine often take several hours to fully restore. Also, MacMedics recommends having a clone of your hard drive in addition to your Time Machine back up. Read all about Time Machine warnings here.
Update 2/16/10 Apple announces repair extension program for MacBook Seagate 7.01 hard drives. Get details from Apple.com. If you have an affected MacBook, call MacMedics and we can arrange to have hard drive replaced.
This post has been updated on 3/11/09. It appears that more of these drives are starting to let go. MacMedics is recommending a proactive approach. These drives should be replaced before they fail outright.
We have seen a number of MacBook hard drives fail due to a certain type of failure. 2.5 inch SATA Seagate hard drives with the firmware version 7.01 have a fatal flaw that can cause a serious hardware problem. In some cases we’ve also seen this drive supplied as an Apple service part and we’ve seen it in MacBook Pros and Mac Minis. Because of the nature of the failure, data recovery is usually NOT possible if this type of drive fails in the manner that we have seen. MacMedics is recommending that if you have this make, model, and firmware version of this drive, that you proactively replace it. For more info, please get in touch with your closest MacMedics office.
See this screen shot to learn how to identify if you have this drive installed or not:
Update 9/19/08: The affected Seagate drives do come in different sizes (we’ve seen both 60GB & 80GB). If you have a Seagate drive (look for the model that starts with ST) AND you have 7.01 firmware of any size capacity, then you should look to replace the drive.
Update 10/18/08: Several customers and folks who have read this post have asked about hard drive replacements. MacMedics offers four ways to replace this drive.
1. We can sell you a new hard drive, and ship it to you if you want.
2. We can sell you a new hard drive and install it in your MacBook at either our Millersville, MD or Lanham, MD offices for $49 plus the cost of the drive.
3. We can sell you a new hard drive, install it, and clone your data from your old drive to the new drive for $99 plus the cost of the drive.
4. We can sell you a new hard drive, install it, then install a fresh Apple OS (you could upgrade to Leopard here if you wish for $129 extra), then migrate your data from your old hard drive, and we will update your system for $150 plus the cost of the drive. This is our full service hard drive replacement where we update your OS, check all of your setting, clean the system out from top to bottom, so when you get it back it’s factory fresh with all of your data in place and ready to go.
Our drives carry a 3-year warranty.
Update 3/11/09: We’re still seeing these drives come in for data recovery. We had two in one day this week. Check your hard drive in your MacBook to ensure this drive is not in your Mac. If this drive kicks the bucket, there is only a small chance that it can be recovered. Any recovery attempt would have to be done in a clean room.
We are working with a data recovery company that has had “some” success in recovering the 7.01 Seagate firmware drives. If you are serious about recovering your data and willing to pay the “clean room” recovery price, which is about $1000, then feel free to get in touch with our partners at Gillware via this link.
If you think you have a Seagate 7.01 firmware drive and you think it has failed, it is extremely important that you leave it powered OFF! This failure can result in platter damage, so the longer the unit runs, the lower your chances for recovery. If you turn the drive on and you get three quick clicks in a row, then there’s pretty much no question that you have this problem. I’m looking for an audio recording to post here. I’ll Twitter about it when I post it.
This is a really serious problem. 1. If you know of anyone that has a MacBook, MacBook Pro, or a Mac Mini, tell them to check their drive before it’s too late. 2. Get a back up and test it often. 3. Don’t generate data you care about without having a back up! Hard drives are cheaper then ever (as low as $99 for decent 250 GB portable drive Pay $99 now or $1200 (or more later).
I’m working with a very sad client that lost 4000 digital photos to this exact drive failure. His drive has already been sent to one of the leading recovery firms, and they could not recovery any data from it, and told him it was a lost cause. Gillware is taking a second look at that same drive for free to see if they can see any data on it at all. Oh, and by the way if you do need “clean room” recovery Gillware will look at your drive and evaluate it for data recovery free of charge. They also have a very fair two-tier pricing plan for lower priced “non clean room” recoveries and full price for advanced “clean room” recoveries. If they can’t get your data you’d don’t pay anything. No crazy up front agreement, price ranges, or high pressure sales tactics either. Just the way I like it.
If you are shipping your sick hard drive off to a “clean room” recovery company (any company), don’t ruin your data recovery chances by packing and shipping your hard drive incorrectly. Packing peanuts are not safe to use, and make sure you have a static bag. If you’re in the area, feel free to stop by our Millersville, MD or Lanham, MD office and we’ll be delighted to give you free shipping supplies and a static bag for wherever you’re sending your drive. Yup. We really do care that much about your data.
Update 12/5/09. We made a video to show folks what these drives sound like when they fail:
Nobody likes to see a broken Macintosh laptop LCD, especially us. We love Macs, so we don’t like to see them hurt and broken after a bad drop or other unfortunate incident. Replacing the MacBook LCD can be an expensive repair when you seek help from Apple. When having your MacBook serviced by the Apple Store or Apple Depot service, they will require you to also fix any other case damage that may also be damaged due to the incident that broke the screen in the first place. Also, if your unit suffered some past minor liquid damage that did not end up causing any problems with the unit, but let a trace, Apple will also require you have that repaired as well. Another factor is that when working with Apple Service, you cannot “exchange” a physically “broken” or “cracked” LCD panel. If you choose to have the repair handled by Apple you will have to purchase the LCD service part outright, which means that there is no “credit” given for the “defective” part.
MacMedics offers a flat-rate discounted LCD replacement service for the Black and White MacBook screens for $349. We’ll replace your broken or non-working) MacBook LCD with an OEM part, and return it to you as quickly as possible. If your MacBook has case issues or other problems associated with the broken LCD we’ll work with you to find the best solution for fixing those issues as well. Best of all if our replacement LCD screen has a problem it’s covered by our MacMedics full one-year warranty. (Fine print: we won’t replace the LCD if it’s been broken a 2nd time, so let’s be careful out there!)
Lots of companies are now jumping on the Mac service band wagon. When you have a major Mac service service need like an LCD or logic board, please consider that MacMedics is the regional leader in the Baltimore-Washington area for Apple Macintosh sales and service. We pioneered on-site Macintosh service, and our in-lab service is also highly regarded and award winning. Macintosh computers are highly engineered and as such they often have very small parts, various sized screws, and very tight fittings cases. All three of these things frequently trip up firms that are NOT specialized in Mac service. (see our blog post about how a big box store fried a perfectly good working iBook) We frequently see computers after they have already been someplace else and NOT properly serviced. MacMedics is an Apple Authorized Service Provider and we’ve been fixing only Macs for over 20 years. So, before you ship your beloved laptop (or desktop) to places unknown, consider sending it to MacMedics. Also, all non-warranty Apple repairs are covered by our no hassle 1-year MacMedics warranty. If it fails, we fix it free.
Most MacBook LCD repairs are completed within 24-hours, which is impossible to accomplish if you send your MacBook to the West Coast for service. Also, be sure to read our Blog post about a MacBook that we worked on recently that had been to a mail-in depot repair center.
Ship your unit into us, or drop it off and for a limited time we’ll send it back to you via Fedex standard air shipping free of charge.
Add a 7200 RPM 500 GB hard drive to any MacBook or MacBook Pro LCD replacement service for just $159 which includes a bit by bit clone copy of your data. When you get your unit back, your data will be in just the same place you left it. Also, your old drive is yours, so we’ll return that as part of the service, or we can make it into a portable back up drive for $40.
MacMedics is now also offering Apple iPhone 3G and iPhone 3G S service and repair in our Millersville, Maryland office. Got a cracked screen or LCD?? Don’t pay Apple $199 to get it fixed! Come see us and we’ll take care of your iPhone 3G for $89.95 or your iPhone 3G S for $99.95. Most repairs are completed SAME-DAY, and best of all, NO LINES here at MacMedics.
Well you never know what’s going to come through the door at the MacMedics Mac Lab. Today a PowerMac 6500 came in for some work. As you can see it’s sitting right next to a new Uni-body MacBook. New or old we can handle it. SCSI to SATA we’ve got you covered. Got an old Mac with some forgotten data on it? We can help! Bring it in and we’ll burn it to a DVD for you.
When a “Big Box” store with a national advertising campaign hangs out their shingle for Mac service, it might feel like a good option. We’re quickly learning from our clients that having a Mac serviced by someone that’s primarily working on PC’s and not super experienced on servicing Macs might be a bad idea.
Lots of companies are now jumping on the Mac service band wagon. When you have a major Mac service service need like an LCD or logic board, please consider that MacMedics is the regional leader for Apple Macintosh sales and service. We pioneered on-site Macintosh service, and our in-lab service is also highly regarded and award winning. Macintosh computers are highly engineered and as such they often have very small parts, various sized screws, and very tight fittings cases. All three of these things frequently trip up firms that are NOT specialized in Mac service. We frequently see computers after they have already been someplace else and NOT properly serviced. MacMedics is an Apple Authorized Service Provider and we’ve been fixing only Macs for over 20 years. So, before you ship your beloved laptop (or desktop) to places unknown, consider sending or bringing it to MacMedics. Also, all non-warranty Apple repairs are covered by our no hassle 1-year MacMedics warranty. If it fails, we fix it free.
Today, we had a client with a MacBook that had liquid spilled on it. They wanted to act quickly, so they took it to their nearest “Big Box” store, and the guys there quoted them a new logic board. When confronted with a large repair bill, they called MacMedics for a second opinion. We told them it would be a good idea to have us look at it, and ensure that it really did need a new logic board. It’s a good thing they brought it to us, because it turned out they panicked about the amount of liquid that was spilled, and that was not a factor. We think all the unit needed was a “System Manger Controller” reset and it was back on it’s feet. So for $49 they got an in-depth spill inspection and a SMC rest and they were good to go.
In another case of a client taking the “Big Box” route, we had a customer who wanted to get his hard drive upgraded in his G4 iBook. He brought it to us, and because we did not have the exact size drive size he wanted (super rare for us), he opted to take it to a local “Big Box” store for service. It should have been a pretty quick turn around as it was just a hard drive upgrade. After a few days and a few phone calls to their shop to ask about the unit’s progress, it was clear they were having issues with his iBook. We had just seen his computer here when he checked it in for a drive upgrade, but when we figured out we were out of stock, he took the unit with him. Nearly a week later he called me for advice. I told him to pick it up and bring it in for me to check.
We found numerous issues:
• The iBook had not be reassembled correctly
• There were missing screws
• There were stripped screws and screws in the wrong hole
• The iBook’s frame was broken
• The iBook’s logic board was fried as it would no longer display internal or external video
When we added up all of the repair costs to get this super sick iBook back in shape, it looks it’s a better bet to go with one of the new White $999 Apple MacBooks instead of fixing this one. It’s still here, so I assume he’s having a hard time getting the offending service department to pay for their mistakes.
I ran into our client who had the problem with the big box store’s repair department at the Stefan G. Bucher Art Directors Club of Metropolitan Washington event on Thursday (MacMedics was a sponsor). He gave me an update on the status of his complaint. He ending up taking the offending service department to Small Claims Court here in Anne Arundel county. The court date is coming up quick, and it appears they are not going to settle out of court. I have to say I’m pretty surprised. Our client has pictures and other pretty convincing evidence to show the court. I’ll let you know what happens.
I heard from this client yesterday and he informed me that the “Big Box” store that damaged his computer did settle out of court with him for $1000. That of course does not really take into account that he he had to buy a new computer out of pocket, and that he had to wait over six months for the court case. Sad, that the folks that did the damage, waited until the day before court to settle up.
We’re always accepting exciting and difficult in-lab Mac repair work (like liquid spills, LCD screen replacements, hard drive upgrades, and of course data recovery (PLEASE check your back up system if you have one, or get one now that works automatically (like Time machine), so if you’ve got an Apple computer that’s not working correctly, bring it by and let figure out what’s going on with it. MacMedics has a long award-winning track record for service, and as an experienced Apple Authorized Service Provider, we have the tools and knowledge to quickly take care of your repair or data recovery situation.