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Macbook Pro Early 2011 Startup Problems

2015-10-11   Views:1


Hi everyone. I have been having issues with my Macbook Pro starting up since about mid-December. Initially, I had this problem every few weeks, but recently it's been happening about once a week or more. Some details: My Macbook Pro is early 2011, 15

Hi everyone. I have been having issues with my Macbook Pro starting up since about mid-December. Initially, I had this problem every few weeks, but recently it's been happening about once a week or more.
Some details:
My Macbook Pro is early 2011, 15", and is running Mac OS X Lion 10.7.5.
Processor is 2 GHz Intel Core i7
Memory: 4 GB 1333 MHz DDR3
Storage Capacity: 50GB SATA Disk
Intel HD Graphics 3000 384 MB graphics
There have been multiple issues, but I think they're all related. The laptop works just fine while it's turned on and the screen is working.
The main issue I've had is that I used to always just close the lid when I was finished using the laptop. The first issue is that every once in a while, when I opened the lid, the screen wouldn't turn on. More recently, the screen is getting light, but it's just a blank black screen and I can't do anything; there's no mouse onscreen and none of the keyboard buttons do anything. When this happens I need to use the power button to turn off the Macbook and once I hear it turn off I try to use the power button to turn it back on again. Usually if I hold the power button long enough (about 10 seconds) I hear the startup sound start, but I never get the final chime. I can hear the fans going so I know the laptop isn't dead, but nothing is responsive and nothing comes up on the screen. Sometimes if I leave the Macbook this way the fans start getting really loud like they're working harder than usual. I'm not entirely sure how and why the Macbook finally starts up normally again eventually; I'm starting to think that it's just a matter of waiting and when I come back to it after 5/10 minutes it will eventually startup normally. Once or twice when I had the problem I unplugged the laptop from the power source and flipped the closed laptop so the lid was facing down and the bottom up and left it that way for at least a minute. Everything started up fine when I tried again. However this hasn't worked the last several times I've tried. Overall, the power button just seems really unresponsive when this happens since I need to hold it for longer than usual to even hear any sort of startup noise.
Every time this happens now I try holding down the power button to turn it on, hear it make some noises, but not the startup chime, hold the power button down to turn it off, hear it click off, and try the same thing again. During this I try various things like PRAM and SMC resets and holding down various buttons, but eventually, usually after taking at least a 2 to 3 minute break from this, the laptop finally starts up again like normal and I have no idea how it's working again.
For a while I thought that the SMC reset might have fixed the problem, but it's still happening. I've already taken the Macbook in to the Apple Store twice. The first time they ran all the hardware tests, but everything seemed to be working fine. The second time they reinstalled the software and I was hoping that would fix the problem, but the problem has persisted since the reinstall so I know this probably isn't a software issue. This also isn't caused by the laptop being moved or dropped or anything since often it will work fine, but when I come back to it without moving it an inch, the screen won't turn on again.
For a few days this problem was a daily thing. Every single time I opened the lid the screen wouldn't turn on. Eventually I learned that this was probably because the laptop wasn't registering that the lid had been opened and so it didn't know to turn back on from sleep mode. After reading some articles online I decided to start putting my laptop to sleep by using the shutdown dialogue before closing the lid and this seemed to work for a while, but it no longer seems to be the solution. This doesn't happen every time I open the lid, but it happens enough that it's wasting a lot of my time and energy in trying to get it to work and trying to figure out the problem every time it happens.
There has been a second problem as well and I'm not sure if it's related, but I want to mention it in case it is or in case someone at least has a solution to this problem. The laptop, while on, works just fine. But every once in a while when I'm using regular programs on the laptop, out of nowhere, the screen will suddenly become just a black or gray screen or a white/beige screen with vertical lines and sometimes a buzzing noise to accompany this. When this happens all I can do is restart the laptop with the power button. This has not happened too often to be that much of a hindrance, but it still worries me. (Early on, before the screens with vertical lines, about two or three times the laptop would just shut off by itself without any warning while I was in the middle of something.) I doubt that it's related to a specific program. It's happened while I've used programs I always use. Once when I was using Skype, once for Google Chrome, once for Photoshop. Recently there was also a time when I was playing music on iTunes and doing things on Google Chrome and suddenly the music stopped and the mouse was frozen in place. The force quit keys didn't work so I needed to power down and restart
I've read several online discussions and articles and I think there may be a problem with my video cable, video chip, display driver, or logic board (or logic board battery). I'm nervous about opening up my laptop myself since I'm worried about causing any damage in the process of attempting to fix hardware. I also worry that if I bring it into the Apple Store again it will pass all the hardware tests so I won't be able to get anything fixed.
Does anyone have any suggestions for what steps I can try to fix this? Should I go back to the Apple Store? Is there something specific I should tell them?
Sorry for such a long post. I just wanted to thoroughly explain my problem.

The replay answer
There have been many reports of graphics problems with early 2011 Macbook Pros. There is a long-running thread on this forum about it but instead of wading through that -- it's miles long -- take a look at this article, which sums it up, more or less. t-critical-gpu-failures-system-crashes
You may have already done this, but try starting up in Recovery mode by holding down Command and R keys together, and in the window that appears, select Disk Utility and Continue. Then select your startup disk -- usually called Macintosh HD -- and in First Aid click on Repair Disk.
This will let you know if your disk has any problems.
Also try Safe mode by starting up while holding down the Shift key.
If you go back to the Apple store try to find out if yours is one of the problem computers from early 2011.
P.S. Your disk is probably 500 GB.

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