Dead MacBook Pro

My MacBook Pro died the day before yesterday. Well, more specifically, the video died.

All of a sudden the machine locked up and the display started flickering and showing odd colors. I tried rebooting several times but more often than not it didn’t seem to progress much beyond the spinning icon directly after startup.

That was when I realized I could remote-desktop (VNC) into the machine where I could see the login screen/desktop and everything appeared to be working just fine. So that told me it was the video card that was the issue.

I had heard about problems with higher than average failure rates for NVIDIA 8600M GT based older MacBook Pros (mine is an early 2008 model). See here.

Apparently my machine fell within the date range and type of malfunctioning models and supposedly Apple had now extended free repairs to affected systems to 4 years since purchase. Could I be in luck? I made an appointment at the local Apple Store Genius Bar for the next morning.

At the Apple Store they confirmed it was indeed the notorious NVIDIA failure and that it would be a free repair! 3 to 5 days until I would get it back.

This morning I received an email saying my machine was fixed and ready to pickup. A one day turnaround, for free. Now that’s pretty good service!

One slightly odd thing is that it appears that Apple zapped my password. The password in place when I booted it up was now blank. That’s a little sneaky and I wish they could have told me about it rather than me wonder why on earth it didn’t seem to want a password when logging in. I guess they just do it routinely when they encounter a password-protected system (but then I did have a Guest account logon enabled, so why not use that?). Anyway, the password is now reinstated and so far so good.