MacBook Pro Video Repair

Maybe you’ve heard of this story: 2011 MacBook Pros with bad graphics cards that get weird lines on the screen, restart randomly, and then die. I had read about it, fortunately, and I knew it was starting to happen to mine, but yesterday it suddenly went from bad to worse. If you’ve read the stories, then you know how mad some people have been, but you may not have heard that Apple finally did the right thing and extended warranty service for this issue. I had read that, so I was glad to call Apple and arrange for a repair.

First, I spoke with someone who could only offer limited help. She said I needed to take it to an Apple Store to have it checked out. When I explained that the nearest store is two hours away in another state, she eventually put me through to her supervisor who could authorize more options. He not only offered to let me mail in my laptop, but also offered to let me have it repaired locally at an authorized service location. I called them, and opted for that, once I learned that they had done this before and would be replacing the logic board.

Here are a couple of things I learned in the process. I couldn’t start up at all, so I couldn’t do a backup. Starting in Safe mode didn’t work (press the Shift key at startup) and neither did starting in Recovery mode (command R at startup). What did work was starting in single user line mode (command S) at startup. I was able to run a file system check (fsck -f), but that didn’t help. But it did suggest there was hope, even though letting the computer sit all night didn’t magically fix it. So I started in Target mode (press T at startup) and connected to another computer with a FireWire cable to rescue the files that were after my most recent backup. This was successful, but nothing would get it to boot up. Thanks to Zach Clawson for some of these suggestions,

I’ve generally been pleased with the support I’ve received from Apple about this. Both service people were helpful and understanding, and the supervisor who took the case over has been quick to respond when I told him I had taken it to the local service place. We’ll see how it all turns out. 

Of course, I also know that if this had happened a few months ago, my experience could have been very different. So I’m very glad my little MacBook held out until the repair extension went into effect. Now I just hope the repair shop does a good job and it comes back better than ever.

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