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Model A1297 Unibody: Early 2009, Mid 2009, Mid 2010, Early 2011 & Late 2011

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3 beeps on startup keeps restarting

This morning my MacBook pro 2011 had turned off overnight and upon trying to turn it on it was beeping 3 times over and over again.

I reset the pram and it turned on to what i had open last night but only briefly before it crashed and turned off again.

Now everytime i turn it on it suffers a kernel panic at the loading screen and continually turns on and off over and over not getting to the login stage

I have attached a photo of what i see

Block Image

I really hope this is just a ram issue and not a failed hard drive

Update: left it off for around 20 minutes before attempting to boot it again. Took its time but logged in fine to my desktop where all my files were so that sort of rules out data loss right? However within 3 minutes it turned off and restarted again same issue…

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Soluzione Prescelta

Your system had a Page Fault

While this is tied to RAM it also tied to your drive as well! At this point I strongly recommend you do a full backup your drive to an external drive so you don’t loose your stuff.

The next step is to setup a bootable external drive ideally FireWire following this guide: How to create a bootable macOS Sierra installer drive If you are using an older OS you’ll find links for the others within this guide. I do strongly recommend you don’t go past Sierra as High Sierra has issues with SATA based SSD’s.

With the bootable drive setup and plugged in restart your system and use the Option (⌥) to get to the Startup manager so you can select your external drive.

Reference: '''Mac startup key combinations'''

Now run Disk Utility First Aid to check your drive. You’ll likely need to run it a few times to get all of the errors. If you can’t get to a clean drive after three runs let us know.

The next step is deciding which way to go. Replace the drive as it’s not coming up clean. Or, do we defragment it or just wipe the drive and restore from your backup.

Some things I do need to know moving forward is how full is your drive now and its size. Is this the original drive or a replacement?

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Hi Dan

I'm not home until Monday so I'm unable to really do much in terms of backing up data until then. I left my laptop for 6 hours and turned it on now and it stayed on for 20 minutes but that was it it shut off and did the reset again.

All my files are there and accessible so I'm thinking this must be a ram issue right? Should i avoid using it in case the hard drive fails or? And how is the best way to back it up if i can't keep it on for over 15 minutes? Target mode? FireWire?


Paging involves both RAM & Storage! Its used to extend the memory space.

Think it like this... You have your writing desk in the middle of a field. You have your papers of your book you are writing loose on the desk (pages) and a wind comes up and blows the around! That would be a RAM error as your pages are out of place (RAM failure). Now this time you have the desk drawer open as you where reaching in as you didn't have enough room on your desktop to hold all off the pages you needed. This time the wind blows both the desk top and the drawer pages away! This is when both the RAM and the Drive Page areas have failed.

The problem arrises from the fact your system has limited RAM and todays OS's & apps require more RAM so more of the drive is needed for paging. As the drive gets full the OS has to work harder to find free blocks for the page files. This is were drive fragmentation gets into the picture. I'm sure you haven't defrag'ed your drive.

I really think given your symptoms this is more likely the case. Your drive needs some TLC or it just needs replacement.

For now I would recommend you don't use your system until you get home.


Hi Dan,

Thanks for the info! I just got home and have used Target Disk Mode over a Thunderbolt connection to backup everything onto my external back up.

Funny enough, after 4 days of not using it, my laptop is now working and has been on for 6 hours without fail, hopefully this lasts.

Regarding TLC, anything in particular I can do?

Also, on a related note, do you recommend any cloud storage where I could store my backups so that if my backup drive fails I won't lose everything?


Physically, I would pop the bottom cover off dusting the system out using a soft paint brush to wipe the surfaces and a can of can'ed air to blow the dust away I would start there.

From the software side: You should run Disk Utility from an external bootable drive to make sure the drive is in good shape. Make any fixes as needed. If the drive fails then its time for a new drive.

Next, you'll need to make some room on your drive so you can run a defrag'ing program (HDD). I like this one Drive Genius 5.

I do recommend you keep around a 1/4 of your drive free (500 GB or smaller and only have 8 GB or less of RAM). If you can upgrade your HD to a 1 TB HDD (or 500 GB SSD if you can swing it) and RAM to 16 GB.

As far as cloud storage: Before you can even think about it consider your internet connections speed. While you may have a great down load speed from the net, your upstream connection is often quite slow (Asymmetrical)! Yes, one can get a Symmetrical connection (business class) it tends to be quite costly.

I use Apple's service for my iPhone & iPad I don't use it for my Mac's instead I manage it on my own I use two sets of drives which I keep one set in a safety deposit box at my local bank and once a month I swap them out. It's a lot cheaper and safer for me!

If I was on the road then I would use my cloud storage so if my laptop died or grew legs I wouldn't loose my work.


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Risposta Più Utile

Three beeps indicate a RAM issues. First try just reseating the RAM, here’s how:

MacBook Pro 17" Unibody RAM Replacement

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I agree you should do this first!


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Chris Kessaris sarà eternamente grato.
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