White Screen- Macbook 2011

JesusLizardJr

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Hi, I have a 2011 Macbook, I cant source the specs as it wont boot.
It boots up to a plain white screen with no logo instantly then sticks there- I have tried resetting the PRAM, SMC, booting into safe mode, disk recovery- basically every option and nothing changes. I assume it's totally dead but im wondering if there's anything I haven't thought of trying yet- i.e. if it's a hardware issue is there a way to diagnose this despite the mac not booting at all?

Secondly is there a way I can get the data and program specific data off this macbook? I thought about buying the same Macbook and simply switching drives- would this work? (if the issues are hardware based and not drive based?) Even if it wouldnt work would it work enough to get the files etc off it.

Thirdly I have a much newer macbook that I use for work- it is possible to boot the drive off the 2011 macbook onto my new macbook? (2017 Macbook Pro) Id like to dig around in the macbook rather than boot the drive as a flashdrive as I'd like to try and claim some settings off some of the apps on it- is this possible? Or would I have to remove the HD and put it in an external casing etc.

Thanks for your help in advance.
 

EdwinG

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Hi,

Welcome to iMore :D

Hi, I have a 2011 Macbook, I cant source the specs as it wont boot.
It boots up to a plain white screen with no logo instantly then sticks there- I have tried resetting the PRAM, SMC, booting into safe mode, disk recovery- basically every option and nothing changes. I assume it's totally dead but im wondering if there's anything I haven't thought of trying yet- i.e. if it's a hardware issue is there a way to diagnose this despite the mac not booting at all?
Have you tried to connect the Mac to an external display and closing the lid?
If the computer is starting up but the screen is not working, the external display should display something :)

Secondly is there a way I can get the data and program specific data off this macbook? I thought about buying the same Macbook and simply switching drives- would this work? (if the issues are hardware based and not drive based?) Even if it wouldnt work would it work enough to get the files etc off it.
It could work.

You can also try Target Disk mode using the Firewire port and cables (assuming MacBook Pro, early 2011). If your Mac has Thunderbolt, you can use that as well. It will cause the "built-in" drive to show up as an external disk on the other Mac.

There's a little bit more detail in macOS's manual: Transfer files between two Mac computers using target disk mode - Apple Support (CA)

Thirdly I have a much newer macbook that I use for work- it is possible to boot the drive off the 2011 macbook onto my new macbook? (2017 Macbook Pro) Id like to dig around in the macbook rather than boot the drive as a flashdrive as I'd like to try and claim some settings off some of the apps on it- is this possible? Or would I have to remove the HD and put it in an external casing etc.

It is very unlikely you will be able to boot from the 2011 computer's drive on your 2017 MacBook Pro. Unless the OS that was on that 2011 computer was supported by the 2017 Mac and its firmware, it just doesn't have the drivers to be bootable.
 

JesusLizardJr

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Thanks for the help- much appreciated.
I dont think the display is at issue as it does show a white screen- do you think this could be a culprit even if it's displaying a white screen?

Im starting to wonder that the likely cause is hardware- praying it's simply the harddrive connector- a couple of time after sticking on a white screen for a few hours it starts flashing the folder with question mark icon on and off again- do you know what this means?
From my research it seems a likely culprit could be the harddrive connector.

Im fine with the laptop dying, just really want to boot it up so I can dig around in it incase I miss anything- booting it as an external drive would be adequate but id always be thinking if I didnt take anything off... Do you know of anyway I can try and booting this drive other than using an older laptop?

Ive bought an external casing for the HD and im going to take the drive out- mount it into that and try booting it as an external see what happens.

Forgot to mention that when its stuck on that white screen it starts making alot of noise- from the fans presumably- so it's thinking about something..
 

EdwinG

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I dont think the display is at issue as it does show a white screen- do you think this could be a culprit even if it's displaying a white screen?
A plain white screen can show up when the screen is damaged. However, based on the rest of your post, I don't think that's the case.

Im starting to wonder that the likely cause is hardware- praying it's simply the harddrive connector- a couple of time after sticking on a white screen for a few hours it starts flashing the folder with question mark icon on and off again- do you know what this means?
From my research it seems a likely culprit could be the harddrive connector.
The blinking folder indicates that it can't find a system drive to start from. It could be caused by many factors, including a disconnected drive.
Since you say it takes a while before showing up - a few hours - I would suspect that your drive might be damaged/corrupted.

Im fine with the laptop dying, just really want to boot it up so I can dig around in it incase I miss anything- booting it as an external drive would be adequate but id always be thinking if I didnt take anything off... Do you know of anyway I can try and booting this drive other than using an older laptop?
You can try starting it in a Virtual Machine with an app like Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion (which I know is free for non-commercial use). Note that you won't be able to start on an Apple Silicon Mac at all.

Ive bought an external casing for the HD and im going to take the drive out- mount it into that and try booting it as an external see what happens.
Maybe just try to access it from the running system. You don't need to start it to browse around :)

Forgot to mention that when its stuck on that white screen it starts making alot of noise- from the fans presumably- so it's thinking about something..
Sounds more like either the computer is overheating or some temperature sensor is not working properly. It could or not be related.
 

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