Using SSD as boot drive for late 2009 Macbook Pro - System unresponsive

civilchaos

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Hi everyone,

I've had this Macbook Pro since about Jan 2010 (right before the i-generation Intel processors started rolling out on them) and it sports an Intel Core 2 Duo processor at 2.8 GHz.

Though I don't use it as much, I still haven't managed to purchase a new replacement and I'd really like to get a little more life out of it until I am able to buy something that will suitably replace it.

To that effect, I've had to ditch OS X as Apple ditched support for this device to the point I can't even use many casual apps or services anymore.

I've tried a few linux distros but the issue appears to be hardware related and I've summised it is most likely to do with the SSD, I recall this affecting OS X back when I first did it, but either I got used to the "occasional" hangs (like a browser request getting stuck) or Apple patched it at the time.

Even doing a clean format of the SSD, formatting it to GPT with a 500Gb EFI partition, 16Gb Swap and Ext4 for the root volume, I'm still unable to interact with the system for more than a moment at a time (after VERY long freezes).

Getting to login doesn't take much time, but after this it takes forever to get to desktop and forever to process anything if I click, which is where I believe it is related to the SSD interface.

Over these years I've made a few upgrades that I'll list for reference:

- RAM upgraded from 4GB to 8Gb DDR3
- Optimcal Drive removed and replaced with the original 500Gb HDD (no OS, just general storage)
- Boot Drive replaced with 256Gb SSD
- Current OS is Pop!_OS

Thanks to anyone who might have an idea what can be done, if anything,

civilchaos
 


SlowCoder

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What happens when you boot from a live USB? Are you able to run apps normally, connect to the web, etc?

What happens when you run smartctl on the SSD? Does it report any errors? How about the HDD?

Have you tried running a RAM test?
 
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civilchaos

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Thanks for biting on this thread SlowCoder.

Booting from a live USB actually does work, though actually this too has system freeze issues similar to the internal boot disk and before too long I find myself giving up no this too (I've tried Kali and Kodachi live USB boots using MicroSD as well as OS X El Capitan as a back-up). El Capitan ultimately provides the best experience, but again, I can't even sync iTunes anymore.

I tried smartctl on an old HDD using external enclosure to USB and this failed, but I've since found everything fails on this HDD despite no errors being found on the disk itself and pertitioning completes successfully every time (I get the typical "exit code 8" when writing images).

I'll give this another go wiht USB, the SSD is fine, I had it dual boot before with OS X working fine, this was when I wanted to confirm it wasn't the partition table and wiped the whole drive, only to find this has not helped anything.

Don't have any other spare HDDs than the apparently faulty one and the original one that is currently a bit full.

Which RAM tests would you advise? I can get to Terminal when booting into OS X and/or Kodachi easy enough.
 

SlowCoder

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I've used https://www.memtest86.com/ from time to time for years. Download the live ISO and go for it. A proper test takes some time.

In your first post, you suspect the SSD. In your second post, you suspect your HDD. Can you clarify? Can you post the output of smartctl for both devices?

Is the HDD installed internally, or via USB? If it is the HDD you suspect, then what happens if you unplug it? Do you still have freeze issues?
 
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civilchaos

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Apologies, I was referencing an old HDD in my second post, not the one I am using for general storage.

For clarity, the original HDD that came with the MBP (used for storage only now) is full and not viable for being part of any solutions, I just mentioned it to illustrate the current state of the macbook.

Then there is an old HDD that I tried building from scratch but have since decided is just a lot cause,

Which leaves the SSD that I initially partitioned for a dual boot with OS X and have since wiped and formatted as above to be solely for Linux, but is still almost unresponsive to boot from.

Thanks for the tip with memtest86,
I gave it a go but didn't really get a lot of value from the RAM tests, I got the expected results from both Access Steps and Block Sizes.

You mention it takes some time to do a proper test, these didn't take much time at all, perhaps I am not setting the most parameters?
 

SlowCoder

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Been a while since I last used memtest86, but I think it automatically runs after boot. The tests can take a few hours (think overnight) to complete if you select the whole suite.

I'll give this another go wiht USB, the SSD is fine
Which leaves the SSD that I initially partitioned for a dual boot with OS X and have since wiped and formatted as above to be solely for Linux, but is still almost unresponsive to boot from.

I'm still confused. You say the SSD is fine, and boots Linux, but then you say it's unbootable/unresponsive, or you suspect it to be the reason for freezing.
Did you run smartctl on the SSD? We need that to verify the health of the drive. You can get a quick summary using
Code:
smartctl -a /dev/{device} | grep -i error

Moving on ... when you installed Linux, did you allow the installer to wipe and partition the drive automatically, or did you partition the drive manually?
 

Lord Boltar

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One thing is Pop OS it is made for System 76 machines and the hardware for it - it is a good OS but if you are not using a System 76 it can be problematic since most likely the hardware is different - IMHO you would be better off to use Ubuntu or one of its many flavors or Debian , if you choose Debian just make sure you download the ISO with non-free firmware included in the ISO. Ubuntu and it's many flavors (Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Kubuntu and others) already include it
 
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