Superdrive Failure After Upgrading From Snow Leopard To Lion

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A few days ago my wife’s MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid-2010) suddenly couldn’t read CDs or DVDs. Inserting a disc results in the drive spinning up and down a few times and then ejecting the disc after a moment. We quickly realized this was the first time she had tried to use a disc since I upgraded her computer to Lion.

So far, I haven’t been able to fix the problem. I’ve tried several different suggestions, but I haven’t hit on the correct one. My assumption is that one of two problems have occurred: (1) The Snow Leopard to Lion upgrade resulted in a software problem that affects the Superdrive or (2) it’s purely a coincidence and the Superdrive has simply suffered from a hardware failure.

In the worst case, the MacBook Pro is still well within the AppleCare warranty period so we can have it repaired, if necessary. I’ll try some additional tips as I come across them before we resort to sending it off or visiting an Apple Store.

This doesn’t seem to be an uncommon problem. Quick searches turn up numerous complains from individuals using different configurations who upgraded from Snow Leopard to Lion and ran into the same problem. I’m including a few related links. If I find a solution that fixes our problem I’ll add an update to this post.

Updated 11/11/2011: The fact that this problem just started after upgrading to Lion may be a coincidence. I went through some additional diagnostics this evening. The one step I did that has convinced me that this probably is a hardware failure was an attempt to boot from a CD. My assumption is that if the drive issues were caused by a software problem then it wouldn’t appear before booting into Lion.

While it’s true that my wife hadn’t tried to use the drive since we upgraded to Lion, that doesn’t exclude the possibility that the hardware failed sometime before or after the upgrade. In addition, I have noticed signs indicating that the body area where the drive is located isn’t well reinforced. On more than one occasion, and with other models with similar body designs, that when one holds the laptop in a way that puts pressure in that area that it seems to transfer into the drive itself. In my opinion it’s very possible that the drive can be damaged if one has a disc in the drive while putting any kind of pressure on that area of the frame.

It looks like we’ll need to take the MacBook Pro to an Apple Store for repair.

Updated 11/12/2011: The nearest Apple Store is a long drive from our house so we opted to call Apple support and mail the system back for repair. The initial call was painless. It didn’t take much to convince the Apple tech to enter a ticket to have the drive fixed. I updated him on what I’ve done and when I mentioned it wouldn’t boot from a CD he agreed that the drive was most likely bad. It was a good experience overall. I didn’t have to go through the troubleshooting steps again – the tech accepted my conclusions without forcing me to follow a script.

Updated 12/12/2011: The weekend after my wife submitted the support ticket she received the box to ship the laptop on Tuesday. Her laptop was repaired and back in her hands by the Thursday of the same week.

:( iMac Hard Drive Replacement (Part 1)

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Over the past week, since I last had Time Machine run on the iMac, I purchased a few items from iTunes and downloaded some new e-mails. I decided it was time to run another backup so after work I powered up the iMac.

And then I heard the hard drive click of death…

The only thing that appeared on my screen was a folder icon with a question mark in the middle of it. Unfortunately, it’s very clear that the system hard drive has failed.

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Where Can I Find ImageX for Windows 7?

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It seems that the imagex tool is only available as part of the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK). For Windows 7 the kit is an ISO disc image available for download from Microsoft. The Website reports that the download size is 1 GB, though my download currently shows that the file is 1.7 GB.

While writing this post I’m in the process of downloading the disc image. At this point I don’t know exactly what I’ll need to do to get the file into an active Windows 7 installation, but I’m assuming I’ll be able to boot the Windows PE disc and then copy the imagex tool out.

My intention is to use this tool to backup an active Windows 7 system. The image will be stored on a drive attached to a Mac across the network.

It may be possible to find a site that offers only the imagex tool itself for download. However, I think downloading the file directly from Microsoft in its current packaging is probably the best method.

Update: The WAIK can be installed directly into a running system without having to boot into a Windows PE environment. However, imagex seemed to have an issue with creating an image on a network share. It’s likely that I was missing some steps or information. I ended up going the easy route and simply using the built-in Windows backup utility instead.