Mid 2009 Model A1278 / 2.26 or 2.53 GHz Core 2 Duo processor EMC 2326

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Can only boot from external drive: Internal disk not recognized

Hello all!

Recently replaced the SATA cable in my Macbook following a crash and it ran better than new for several months. Updated to Mavericks two weeks ago and it crashed again:

- Could not boot to recovery mode (prohibitory sign)

- Could not boot to safe mode

- Reset PRAM and SMC

- Used friend's computer to install Mavericks on external drive. Using external dock, I can now boot from the external drive.

- Can verify and repair internal drive (very slow) but cannot boot from it.

I read the "internal hard drive disk not recognized thread" and believe a lot of it does not apply to me because I used the SATA cable from ifixit successfully for several months. Anything else to try before replacing the SATA cable again?

Thank you!


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While you may have fixed your problem before due to a bad SATA cable your current problem sounds like the hard drive is having issues.

Have you checked the firmware level of your system to make sure its the latest? Here's the Apple TN on how to check and get the latest firmware: EFI & SMC firmware updates for Intel-based Macs

To double check if the drive is in trouble, you could pull the drive out and place it into an external case (FireWire if you can, USB will work just slow). Then using your other bootable drive repair & test it with Apples Disk Utility. If you get the same reaction then you are looking at a new HD here.

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Thanks for the input Dan.

I knew that the drive was not in trouble because I was able to boot from an external case just fine. I was able to repair and test both of the drives that I have.

I wrote to ifixit and they kindly sent me a brand new replacement SATA cable and its running good as new again.

Does anyone have any thoughts on why the cable would have died again so quickly? Any installation tips to protect the cable from this happening again? Or maybe it was just a bad part (that mysteriously and suddenly died after 2 months)?


Checkout this Answer: Malfunctioning Flex cable of HDD.


Hi Dan,

Read your post you wrote above. The second SATA cable that Ifixit has sent me has failed randomly after 7 months of perfectly good use. I am now wondering if a dent in the case / improper installation is causing them to fail. Here is the new post I have put up: Boot regularly from firewire port? / Repeated SATA Cable Failure




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