1. Computing

Video:How to Fix Macbook Booting Problems

with Shane Murphy

Apple makes great computers, but they can still malfunction. See the most common causes for your MacBook not booting properly and the steps you can take to solve them.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Fix Macbook Booting Problems

Hi, I’m Shane Murphy, your technology Guru for About.com. Today we’ll talk about what to do if your MacBook Laptop doesn’t boot up properly.

Diagnose the Problem

Macs are obviously well built machines, but that doesn’t mean you won’t run into malfunctions every once in a while. Fortunately, there are a few easy techniques that will help you avoid a call to AppleCare. The first step is to try and diagnose the problem.

Fixing SMC Problems

Say you hit the power on your MacBook and nothing happens. You can’t see or hear any of the signs that it’s powering on. You may be having a problem with your SMC, or System Management Controller. Luckily, resetting the SMC is very easy and will often solve this problem.

Make sure your computer is off. Then, unplug the power cord and remove the battery.

Next, hold down your laptop’s power key for five seconds. Now, replace your battery and power cord and try to power on your machine again.

SMC Problems in Late Model MacBooks

If you own an Early 2009 model MacBook Pro, a MacBook Air, or a late 2009 model MacBook you’ll have to follow a different procedure for changing your SMC, since you can’t remove the battery.

First, shut down the computer and then plug it in. Now, press the (left side) Shift-Control-Option keys and the power button at the same time.Release all the keys and the power button at the same time.

Press the power button to turn on your Mac and you should be all set. As a normal by-product of this, you will notice that your date and time settings have been reset, so make sure you change them back.

Fixing RAM Problems

If you’re MacBook still won’t turn on, the problem may instead be with your RAM.

Before proceeding to reseat your RAM, or doing anything that involves touching the hardware components, it’s incredibly important to have the battery removed and the power cord unplugged to be completely safe. You should also be working in a relatively static free environment, so avoid disassembling on carpeted surfaces.

Only after you’ve removed the battery will you be able to access the RAM compartment anyways. Use a screwdriver to remove all eight screws on the main panel to expose the RAM sticks. Note that the screw in the bottom right hand corner will be far shorter than the others. After you’ve carefully removed and set aside each screw, lift the back panel up.

Your RAM sticks are stacked on top of each other and located in the middle of the motherboard. Carefully pull apart the two place-holders to let the RAM pop up, then gently lift out.

Test Ram Sticks

Leave one stick of RAM in the primary RAM slot and remove all the others. After reassembling the power components, try to boot up your MacBook. Try this with each stick of RAM. If it’ll boot up for one stick of RAM and not another then you’ve found your culprit.

If your MacBook still won’t show any activity upon hitting the power button you probably have a more complicated hardware problem; time to call AppleCare.

Fixing PRAM Problems

Say you turn on your MacBook and instead of a clean bootup it freezes at the Mac Logo, or emits a series of beeps, or perhaps takes an excessively long time until you finally get to the desktop. You may need to reset your PRAM. First turn your MacBook off.

Again, turn your computer on, but this time immediately press and hold the “Command” “Option” “P” and “R” keys. You must have these keys held down before the grey apple screen appears. Now release the keys and wait for your Mac to boot.

If none of these solutions worked, or if the problem seems to change after each attempted solution, it’s probably time to call an Apple specialist. Ultimately, it’s not worth causing a more serious problem by trying to come up with your own creative solution.

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