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Fix for MacBook Pro 7200rpm hard drive beeps, clicks, & freezes

Fix for MacBook Pro 7200rpm hard drive beeps, clicks, & freezes

Owners of Apple’s new unibody MacBook Pro notebooks with 7200rpm hard drives are suffering widespread problems such as beeping, clicking, and freezing. Apple’s still working on an official solution, but there is a way to fix these issues now.

A little over a week ago I ordered a brand new 2.8GHz 15″ MacBook Pro from Apple’s online store. I read about the difficulties people have been experiencing with their 500GB 7200rpm hard drives and figured I would try to save myself the headache by just getting a 320GB 7200rpm drive instead. The difficulties I’m referring to, for those who haven’t already heard, consist of the Seagate Momentus 7200.4 hard drives Apple uses in the MacBook Pro locking up the entire system. Many users report beeping and clicking sounds, followed by 10-30 second freezes where the computer is unresponsive to input.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered my own MacBook Pro is plagued by this glitch as well. It doesn’t beep at all, but it does temporarily lock up. I could hear all hard drive activity stop during the freeze and then start back up when it all of a sudden came out of it. This happened once on Day 2 and then again three more times within a 30 minute period on Day 3. For any of you folks who are compiling information about this problem to better understand it, my laptop’s hard drive model is ST9320423ASG and the revision is listed as 0007APM2.

Despite Apple’s acknowledgement of the issue, there is unfortunately no official fix yet. In the meantime, I tried something which seems to have stopped the frequent freezes for now. Anyone with a beeping, clicking, & freezing MacBook Pro hard drive should give it a shot – others have reported success using this method as well.

  1. Download hdapm, a free Mac OS X utility for hard drive power management. This tool will set the hard drive’s performance to “max,” which will stop it from inexcusably resting at random times (causing the freezes). The only downside is that battery life will take a hit.
  2. Open a Finder window and select Go > Go to Folder in the menu bar. Type /usr/local/bin and click Go. If Finder says it cannot find this folder, continue to steps 3 and 4. If it does open the folder, skip to step 5.
  3. Open Terminal (Applications > Utilities) and run the following command:

    sudo mkdir /usr/local/bin

  4. You will be prompted for your password – make sure to type it carefully because Terminal will not show any characters as you go. In fact, the cursor won’t even move. Press Enter/Return and then quit Terminal. Repeat step 2 to open the folder.
  5. Open the hdapm.dmg file you downloaded in step 1 and copy the file named “hdapm” into the /usr/local/bin directory.
  6. Copy the “hdapm.plist” file and paste it in /Library/LaunchDaemons.
  7. Restart your MacBook Pro.

To summarize what we just did, we took the free hdapm tool and copied it to a hidden directory on your Mac. Then we added a preference file that calls on that tool to run every time the computer reboots. The end result is a unibody MacBook Pro that should no longer freeze up due to a 7200rpm hard drive that likes to take breaks when it shouldn’t.

When Apple finally releases a real fix for this bug at some point in the future, you can safely remove hdapm the same way you installed it. Except this time you’re deleting the two files instead of copying & pasting them.

Is there anybody else out there who this is working for? Not working for? Let’s hear from all you 7200rpm unibody MacBook Pro owners!

UPDATE – 8/19/09: Apple has released MacBook Pro Hard Drive Firmware Update 2.0, which brings 7200rpm drives up to firmware 0007APM2. Since this is already the firmware shipping with the newest batch of MacBook Pros such as mine, it’s unknown at this time if this fix really solves the problem for all users. It might get rid of the beeping and clicking, but perhaps not the freezing. Can anyone confirm that this solution from Apple works for their MacBook Pro?

UPDATE – 9/10/09: Unfortunately, it looks like Snow Leopard and hdapm do not like each other. The fix doesn’t seem to work under 10.6. I have been experiencing one or two 15-30 second freezes every day since upgrading to Snow Leopard. Even worse, I can still hear the hard drive starting and stopping when this is going on. What is the status of everyone else’s unibody MacBook Pros, especially after making the leap to 10.6?

UPDATE – 10/15/09: At long last, it appears Apple has come to the rescue with Performance Update 1.0. According to the download notes, “This update addresses intermittent hard drive-related stalls reported by a small number of customers.” Small number, medium number, big number… who cares as long as it’s fixed, right? Check out Software Update to install. If this update doesn’t appear for you, then the fix most likely doesn’t apply to your Mac model.

39 Comments Have Been Posted (Leave Your Response)

Just wanted to point out that it’s not *all* new Macbook Pros with 7200rpm drives that are experiencing the issue. Mine isn’t. It’s a 15″ 2.66Ghz MBP with a 500GB, 7200rpm hdd from Seagate, model ST9500420ASG. This is the “Momentus 7200.4” model that you mentioned. The drive is basically silent, and sleep/wake works fine.

Is your SATA controller the NVida MCP79 AHCI as well?

I got a custom built 15″ MBP 3.02 GHz yesterday, with the 320GB 7200RPM drive.

So far frozen twice, both times whilst using iPhoto. No beeps or clicks (but I may have missed them as I was in a noisy room).

Drive details are:

SATA Controller:

Vendor: NVidia
Product: MCP79 AHCI


Model: ST9320423ASG
Revision: 0007APM2

Not very happy at all. I may try the fix proposed above if it continues, along with disabling the motion sensor.

I just got firmware 0007APM2 and it still freezes when using iPhoto :-(

I was getting the iPhoto freezes with 0007APM2 too until I applied the hdapm fix. Have you tried that and had any luck with it?

This solution hasn’t work for me. Neither desactivating the SMS.

I have a 2009 Mac Mini with the problematic Seagate ST9500420ASG 7200 installed aftermarket. I experience clicks and freezes every few minutes.

1) Apple’s ‘fix’ does not work, as it looks at the Mac model number before applying the firmware.

2) Also, this hdapm fix didn’t seem to make any difference for me.

3) Seagate’s tech support is also of no help, as they just state that they are ‘aware’ of the problem.

Any other ideas?

I have bought my unibody Macbook Pro in June. It has Hitachi 250gb with 5400 rpm harddrive and I DO have clicks and freezes. And I got very tired of it.

I was hoping Snow Leopard would fix it. But it did not. I haven’t tried your hdapm fix yet, but will post it here after I try. I am happy it worked for you.

One more disappointment from Apple. I regret I upgraded my old Macbook Pro.

Mine does the exact same thing and I have the Mac Pro 2.26 ghz. Very annoying

I have the same issue on my 13″ MB Pro. I havent upgraded to snow leopard yet so I am going to try the trick for now. Thanks for this!

It’s not only on Mac.
I experience the same sheeetness in PC with a non-G version too.

It’s seagate who is unwilling to accept their fault.

Exact same problem here. Got my macbook pro last month and had the annoying beep… spent about 2 hours on the phone before I got to someone who knew what was going on. As soon as that fix was available, he e-mailed me and it seem to solve the issue.

Now, I updated my system to Snow Leopard, and I am not getting the “beeps”, which were simply obnoxious. But, I am having these 15-30 lockups. The whole system will freeze. Or if I’m playing back music videos in iTunes 9, they just freeze up.

Would LOVE to hear if another HD fix comes out. Go figure, I thought the 7200rpm drive was going to be soooo nice. two months of annoyance now.

Same here, brand new unibody MacBook Pro 15″. 30 second freezes all the time. No beeps, some HD clicks though, as if it is parking its heads. Running Snow Leopard. Apple, get your sh1t together.

Putting the hdapm utility in /usr/local/bin and the hdapm.plist file in /Library/LaunchDaemons doesn’t seem to work in 10.6.1. Instead I made a script executing “hdapm disk max” using Automator and added it to my login items. This seems to work fine.

Late 2008 Unibody Macbook Pro 2.53 GHz running 10.6.1 and upgraded with the Seagate Momentus 320 GB 7200.4.

ST9320423AS Revision: 0002SDM1

Having issues here too, I put 10.6 on the day i picked it up and same issues. 10.6.1 still having issues. I’m about ready to go back to the apple store and get them to do something. I cant have it freezing half way through presentations and such. i hear typical hdh noise usually, then just before freeze, the hdd goes silent, then freeze for 15-30, then hdd noise resumes and system starts working again.

I’ll try Rasmus’s solution…

macbookpro5,2 (unibody) 17″ factory 7200RPM 500GB (ST9500420ASG rev:0007APM2)

new MBP here and same freezing issue. really annoying.

I ordered a 2.8Ghz 500gb 7200 15 inch macbook pro after the 2.0 firmware update under the impression that they fixed the issue. Unfortunately that isn’t the case, I still get the random application freeze which ends with the dock freezing up for 15-30 secs before everything goes back to normal. I’ve been ignoring it mostly since there’s probably not any good fixes for it unless apple decide to recall all of the drives….oh well, love everything else about the system though!

^ oh btw specs:
MacBookPro5,3 2.8 GHz 500GB 7200RPM ST9500420ASG rev:0007APM2

Same Macbook pro (2.8Ghz , 320GB 7200RPM ect..)

Same problem !!

Really need a fix because this is really annoying !!!

I just bought a Macbook Pro 3.06ghz with the 500gb 7200rpm hard drive. After I shut the screen to put it into sleep the laptop takes around 12-13 seconds for the HD to stop spinning and the sleep light to come on and start pulsing.

Google bought me here, was just wondering if anyone can help me out and tell me if this is normal?

I have the same problem, have been delaying the trip to the apple store, with a hope of a fix coming to apple,
I had the clicking and beeping noise which seamed to disappear after the hd firmware update from apple in late august, but the freezes continue on random occasion, and last from 10-30 seconds, more often when under heavy load…

I was happier with my old one… should have never upgraded

I have

NVidia MCP79 AHCI:

Vendor: NVidia
Product: MCP79 AHCI
Speed: 3 Gigabit
Description: AHCI Version 1.20 Supported


Capacity: 500.11 GB (500,107,862,016 bytes)
Model: ST9500420ASG
Revision: 0007APM2


Model Name: MacBook Pro
Model Identifier: MacBookPro5,2
Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo
Processor Speed: 3.06 GHz
Number Of Processors: 1
Total Number Of Cores: 2
L2 Cache: 6 MB
Memory: 4 GB
Bus Speed: 1.07 GHz
Boot ROM Version: MBP52.008E.B05

CHECK SOFTWARE UPDATE!!!! Apple released a Performance Update today, I’ve been running ~2 hrs with out a single freeze!! I used to get them every 5 mins…

Since Feb. I have had my MBP completely freeze up in a total random way. The entire Mac freezes. Nothing works. The HD simply ticks away. Done. I have to restart.

I could be just in TextEdit, I could be listening to music, I could be staring at my deskstop, working in Adobe, looking at my favorite pr0wn..anything. The computer can be cool, running warm, plugged in, running on battery, etc. etc. NO PATTERN. I installed the Performance update 1.0. No luck. It just froze today twice.

Model Name: MacBook Pro
Model Identifier: MacBookPro5,1
Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo
Processor Speed: 2.4 GHz
Number Of Processors: 1
Total Number Of Cores: 2
L2 Cache: 3 MB
Memory: 4 GB
Bus Speed: 1.07 GHz
Boot ROM Version: MBP51.0074.B01
SMC Version (system): 1.33f8
Hardware UUID: 1A082CAA-720E-54C9-B6E2-180B27EEC6E1
Sudden Motion Sensor:
State: Disabled

I have a MBP 17 3,06GHZ with a NVidia MCP79 AHCI HD bought just a month ago and hear a noise on my hard disk and after performance update was intaled the noise is still there so y try this solution HDAPM and it works perfect, but i have a question:
Is it safe for my computers life? doesn’t have any bad effect on my computer?

Just got a MacBookPro 15.4 with the 500gig 7200 rpm Seageate Momentus 7200.4 ST9500420ASG hd. Every few minutes the MacBookPro makes a resonating humming sound that vairies in pitch (Hummm Humm Hummm) – it is very noticeable and very irritating. It wouldn’t be so bad if the sound a remained constant hum. It seems to be coming from the area where the hard drive is located (bottom right corner). If I gently apply pressure on the top of the case or squeeze of the case is this area, the resonating humming stops and becomes a much more pleasant constant humming (and livable).

I have not experienced any of the other noises (strange clicking, slow down or freezes others have reported). One other thing I noticed, if I move the mac – such a tipping it vertically, there will be a somewhat loud buzzing sound – I speculate this is the Seagate drive parking the heads rapidly in to protect the drive? This only briefly occurs when moving the laptop.

The laptop also arrived with a handful of small horizontal scratches in the metal case near the track pad. It appears someone at the factory was not very careful during assembly. Most are barely noticeable, but a few are noticeable.

This is my 1st Mac – I am very very surprised by these issues – I had thought Apple had a reputation for quality products with good aesthetics (looks, performances, sounds, etc.)

Read about other mac (Mac desktops) with similar noise issues – people solved it by placing dampening material around the hard drives to stop the adjacent metal parts from resonating due vibrations from the hard drive – not sure how this would work in the Mac laptop.

Haven’t contacted Apple – will do so very soon.

If any one has any ideas/suggestions about the noise, that would be greatly appreciated.

HDAPM no workie in 10.6.2………..!!!

Hey guys, I’ve been searching a solution on the web for a problem that I have with my Desktop pc hard drive and I came to know about the problem of MacBook owners with their hard drives. Further searching on my solution I might have found a fix for the vibrations and noises of your drives (don’t know about the freezes, it’s a long discussion forum and I didn’t had time to read all of it). Take a look :

It seems that the buzzing hard drive it’s more like a plastic design problem of apple instead of the hard drive itself. Good luck fixing…

hi men,

My MacBook Pro 2.66 late 2009 model, 320GB Seagate model ST9320325AS beeps and makes noise and I AM SO VERY SICK OF THIS. Updated, hdapm etc… nothing seems to heal this thing. I’ve searched the net about this, and I have never imagined that there are 10s of thousands of MacBook owners with this issue. I am 98% sure my HDD soon will fail. This is an outrageous problems for such product and PRICE.

bought a macbook pro for the first time ever (i’m normally a linux user) about two weeks ago in London. yesterday i got a system freeze for no reason (spinning beachball) , hit the power off button.

on powering up , got the white screen of death. booted up off the install cd and used the disk utility – tells me the the hard is unformatted!!

this doesnt exactly give me a ton of confidence, especially since this is my first Mac. for the same price i could have got 2 reasonably specced PC laptops and stuck Ubuntu on both.

i’m going to ask for a refund from my local Apple Store – am not exactly inspired with confidence in this product.

I had bought and used six Macs in the past four years and my 15″ 2.8 MHz MBP is the only one that’s giving me all the freezing problems. Being an Apple stockholder, I have mixed feelings about a CLASS ACTION lawsuit. Perhaps I should see my stocks.

I bought a MBP and upgraded the drive to the seagate ST9500420ASG – resulting in countless hours lost in search for a solution to the clicks, beeps and system freezes. My next notebook will be a PC. And I won’t buy drives from Seagate, ever, as I had issues in the past with their SCSI drives. Terrible.

Why would you say you’re gonna buy a PC when PCs have the same problem with this hard drive? Sounds like you’re getting too wrapped up in your anger to see reality. This is solely Seagate’s fault.

I’ve been loving my MacBook Pro, which shipped with Leopard. But after returning from a biz trip 2 days ago, it constantly freezes. That cursed spinning beach ball! This is exactly the reason I ditched Windoze.

I’ve installed Temperature Monitor (temps are normal), run Apple Hardware Test from the install disk (regular test & extended test both passed), and software update gives me zilch. I have no idea what’s wrong with this system- I just want it fixed. The freezing is not limited to Safari or Firefox, but Finder, the Dock, and everything else is affected. It takes a minute or more to open the app, and then it seems fine- until I click on something. Anything. Then appears the cursed beach ball, and even though I can still move the mouse around the screen and even drag app windows to different places on the screen, the apps themselves are completely unresponsive to input for anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

OS X 10.6.3, 3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 8GB 1067 MHz DDR3, Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 9400M 256 MB (PCI) and NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT 512 MB (PCIe), Serial ATA Hard Drive: NVidia MCP79 AHCI 500 GB 7200 RPM

If anyone has a solution for this problem, I would be grateful for your reply!

~Disgruntled Mac Lover

Found out what was causing the computer to freeze. It seems there was a corrupt Photoshop file in a directory that I was working in. Finder kept trying to scan/preview the file, presumably to make a thumbnail, which caused the freeze. Using Finder in list view so there are no thumbnail images, I was able to select and delete the file. Things went back to normal after that.

I can hardly believe that something as simple as this caused such a headache. Finder should be patched to be able to recover from this kind of error.

Just received MacBook Pro 17″ with the Seagate 500gig 7200 rpm (model no: ST9500420ASG revision: 0008APM2).
If I’m viewing a video on the web or running an intensive app, it starts buzzing really loudly from the left hand size and doesn’t stop until the app is closed.
This is my first apple and I am shocked that this could happen on their premium model, I am planning on returning if I can’t find a solution.

Just wondering if anybody else is having a noisy experience with the mid 2010 model MacBook Pro 17″ , I have the Hitachi HTS725050A9A362, 7200rpm installed.

I noticed a loud squeak that lasts for 1/2 a second when the computer is switched on, or comes out of sleep mode. But most annoyingly, there is a constant dull whirring sound, and intermittent clicking that is quite noticeable, and can be heard over 2 people talking in a room, or quiet background music.. I know the computer isn’t freezing, or anything extreme like that, and i hope i’m not being too petty, but i just wanted to know if anyone else has experienced this.

Hi Glen,

I just received my MBP 15″ i5 with upgraded hard drive to 500GB 7200 RPM. The drive turned out to be a Hitachi model exactly same as yours, and not the problem Seagate drive.

My machine has not freezed with normal usage of Itunes, Safari, some HD movie editing in imovie, etc.

I have noticed a slightly audible fan rev or similar from the bottom right area (hard drive area) which then has a single ticking sound from the drive heads perhaps (trying to park), but it seems normal in function as far as I can tell. Had many restarts due to breaks throughout the day and no hang ups, no beach ball, nothing like that.

Seems normal though, as my Mac Pro tower has the drive ticking sound every few minutes when the machine is idle and no apps running, and has been working fine for 2 years.

Can you better describe the ‘constant dull whirring’ you are experiencing?

I have also notice that the 7200 drive seems to vibrate the computer. Apple says that it is normal but we bought two identical machines and one vibrates and has stopped a few times and the other is perfectly silent . They have tried three times to get this machine to run as quietly as the other one and failed all three times. I hope they can figure it out soon. I hear the Hitachi drives are better but apple tells me there is not a way for them to get one?

I think I experienced this freezing problem, but I didn’t know what to do about it and I got frustrated so I did a manual reboot by holding down the power button for 10 seconds. I tried to turn on my mbp but all i got was a folder icon with a flashing question mark. I have been unable to start my computer since then. does anyone have any suggestions?

I had this problem and then it was fixed by the update released by Apple. However, the beeping and clicking came back after I upgraded to Lion. I called Apple and they want me to jump through the hoops of sending it off for diagnostics. Anyone else experiencing this problem?