How to reinstate Apple MacBook Pro 13" A1278 (late 2011)?

RavinDJ

Supreme [H]ardness
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Apr 9, 2002
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My friend crushed his screen on a 13-inch MacBook Pro A1278 from Late 2011.

The screen is completely crushed and you cannot see anything. I haven't tried connecting external monitor to it yet. But it turns on fine, but I just can't see anything.

Would it be possible to take out the hard drive and put it into another MacBook Pro and have it boot up fine? Do I need another A1278?

Options? Recommendations?? Documents and photos are most important. Hard drive seems fine.

What should we do?

Thanks!!

-L
 
Joined
Dec 1, 2011
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Sounds like a write-off to me. I can't imagine putting any money into a system that old, as most any fix would probably cost more than the system is worth. (~16 months ago I had to put down an early-2011 13" MBP because the SATA controller failed.)

I'd tell your friend to buy a new system (the new M1 Air would probably be a good replacement), connect the old HDD to it via a USB-SATA adapter, and copy everything over.
 

Spartacus09

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If it wasn't encrypted you can generally pull the drive and connect it to another mac via a sata to usb adapter (or if it is encrypted and you have the file vault key).
If it is it should boot in another mac of similar type without issue as well if you have that more available over an adapter (you can buy a cheap adapter for under 10$ on amazon).
That said if its too new it may depend on the OS and where the startup files are located.
 
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FWIW, if you or your friend are so inclined, display assemblies (the whole top half of the clamshell) for this model go for <$100 regularly on Ebay. Which is a chunk of change for reviving such an old system, but considering these old MacBooks still sell for $300+ it might be worth it even just to flip the machine to help fund a new one if your friends wants to upgrade.
 

Kardonxt

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If your friend is getting a new Mac just plug the drive in with a usb to sata cable and follow the Mac Migration Assistant instructions during the initial laptop setup. (or launch it from utilities if the new Mac has already been setup.)

I'm not sure how M1 Macs handle this but you should also just be able to boot to the OS using the boot menu if you just plug the drive into another Mac with a usb to sata adapter.
 

RavinDJ

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Got it... thanks for all the input. I'll pull the drive and I'll connect it via SATA-to-USB cable to his new laptop... he already got a new one (guess money isn't an issue) :rolleyes:

I was just trying to help him out... in return, a bottle of wine or a 6-pack of beer would be nice :D

Thanks, guys!!!
 

Spartacus09

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Hold onto that adapter, they're a lifesaver when troubleshooting especially if they're freaking out about data.
You can plug it in and be like, look heres your files, they're ok ~ worst case we can copy them to a new computer.
I have several adapters from ide, sata, M.2, nvme, etc on top of a 3.5/2.5" usb dock for ease of data extraction and I dont think the cost me more than $50 total for all of them.
 
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Given the vintage of the Mac in question I'm pretty sure TDM would work only over the Firewire or Thunderbolt 2 port, and not USB. Getting it connected up to a new Mac's TB-3/USB port would probably require a mess of (probably pricey) adapters. It'd probably be simpler to just pop the HDD out of the old Mac and use a common USB-SATA adapter.
 
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