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Apple works on MacBook Pro hard drive fix as complaints mount

Apple is working on a software update to address hard drive issues affecting its latest 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pro laptops. Users are complaining in droves on Internet forums that machines configured with faster, 7,200-rpm Seagate hard disk drives (HDD) make clicking and beeping noises that are often a precursor to slowdowns and freeze-ups.

An Apple spokeswoman could not elaborate about what fix the company is working on or when it might be available, but said Apple is aware of recent complaints.

Comments on Apple support forums, which have grown to more than 80 pages in length, indicate that the drive problems are related to the anti-drop sensor in the Seagate Momentus 7200.4 HDD (model ST9500420ASG). Even though the issue may be related to the motion sensor, the problem occurs whether the computer is being moved or is stationary, users said.

One user from Southern California, “wessto,” posted comments on an Apple discussion forum describing the problem: “I recently purchased a new MBP [MacBook Pro] 15, 3GHz, 500 GB 7200 rpm hard drive, build-to-order. The hard drive appears to be a Seagate ST9500420ASG. I am experiencing a strange hard drive click followed 80% of the time by a beep. It is definitely not a beep from the speaker. Additionally, it happens at any time, even when the computer is sitting on a perfectly still table.”

Upset MacBook Pro owners also weighed in on forums at AppleInsider.

On the AppleInsider site, a user named “mgoldman” said: “I bought a 3.06GHz, 4GB RAM, 500GB 7200RPM MPB the week they were announced. For the first week after I got it, it was normal, except for the weird electronic beeping coming from the HD. At first, I thought it was just a new HD technology that occasionally made noise.

Then, performance got progressively worse. I usually give this machine a workout — running VMWare virtual machine with a host of other apps on the Mac side. It started to get sluggish after about 2-3 days. The hard drive would seem to hang up…. Then…, 2 weeks into owning the machine, a cold start first thing in the morning took 10 minutes. After it booted, any click on an icon rendered the MBP useless — beach ball and unresponsive. Sometimes, after about a minute, the machine will carry out the task you clicked to do, but then immediately go back to being unresponsive.”

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