MacBook Pro Won't Boot


My husband’s elderly MacBook Pro keeps restarting but refuses to boot. We’d like to be able to keep it going until the next models are released, which should be soon. Here’s a summary of what’s going on:

I have a seven year old laptop that refuses to boot. It’s a MacBook Pro8,2
with a Quad-core Intel Core i7 CPU running the latest version of Sierra.
The reboot issues arose a few weeks ago when the laptop began needing
several tries (i.e., repeated self-reboots) to start up after I initially
pressed the power button. Now, nothing. The Apple logo and the progress
bar come on, the screen goes gray, then black, the laptop restarts, and
the non-booting sequence begins again, and again and again…

I’ve tried booting from Leopard and Snow Leopard install discs, holding
down the C key upon restart after sliding the discs in. After a few
moments, the CD drive ejects them before the computer has had a chance to
read them. I’ve also tried holding down the option key upon restart in an
attempt to boot from the hard drive image, which does display on the
screen along with a menu for selecting a Wi-Fi network. But, clicking
start only triggers the sequence described above.

I’ve also tried the remote hardware diagnostic test (holding down D upon
startup) in both basic and extended mode, only to be informed that there
are no issues with the hardware. I’ve even tried resetting the PRAM. No

I’m not sure how to proceed and would be grateful for any advice.
Fortunately, the laptop is fully backed up to an external drive as of when
the reboot problem first surfaced. The only other thing that seems worth
mentioning is that the trackpad on this machine hasn’t worked for several
years. It’s jammed from what I assume is a swollen battery inside the

My MacBook Pro is even older, and also has aswollen battery, so even though mine boots OK, I’d like to be able to keep it on life support until the next generation is released as well. Any suggestions as to what might help will be much appreciated.

(Tommy Weir) #2

Well, just to check first if you reset the SMC -

You may have a recovery area on your internal drive, holding down R while rebooting may launch you into a zone where you can run Disk Utility and do a check at least, possibly a repair. Possibly a restore using Time Machine once the external drive is attached.

Have you tried booting off the external HD if the backup was a clone?

If you have the right cable (Firewire) you can start the Mac up as a Target drive by holding down T when rebooting. A Firewire connection to your other Mac would enable you do load it as an external drive and at least do tests on the drive. The right cable would be Firewire-Firewire (either speed) or Thunderbolt-FW-FW-Thunderbolt depending on your two Macs and their available ports.

They do sound like they are on their last legs…


Thanks for the help! We’ve tried the first two options to no avail, and we’ll get a cable to try the third. Our fingers are crossed.

(Tommy Weir) #4

Prior to sourcing the right cable setup you could see if rebooting his with T held down will actually load up with the floating FireWire symbol.


We’ll try this too, and thanks for all your help.

(Doug Hogg) #6

Have you tried booting into safe mode by holding down the shift key.

"Start or restart your Mac, then immediately press and hold the Shift key. "

(gastropod) #7

Both of your macbook pros are old enough that you can open them and replace the batteries (and maybe put in SSDs while open anyway).

Swollen batteries are hazardous, and should be replaced as soon as they start to swell. Even if they don’t burst and catch fire, they can destroy the enclosing device from the pressure. You already suspect that it jammed the trackpad, but it could also crack the logic board.

You can get a new third party batteries from iFixit or OWC for about $90-$100 including tools. The replacement procedure isn’t all that difficult-just take your time, remember to breathe, and use a small dish for the screws so you don’t lose any.

Replacement instructions for the 8,2:

(Doug Hogg) #8

Re; new batteries and SSDs
Great suggestion – I just sent a friend’s 17" Macbook Pro to a 3rd party shop to be checked out because of a swollen battery. They put in a new battery and did some correction to its swollen case. Then we put in an SSD – prices are down. That Mac is definitely faster than it has ever been.