Built-in Hardware Diagnostic Mode for MacBooks

I ran into the not-so-good error of “The device failed to calibrate the laser power level for this media” on my less than a year old MacBook Pro the other day and was not too happy.  Being that I work in a Dell shop, I know that all their PC’s come with built in hardware diagnostics.  I knew Apple had to include one on theirs as well, but where?  It’s pretty simple really, power off your computer, and when you power it back on press and hold the D key on your keyboard and your Mac will enter diagnostic mode where it will test the hardware inside your lappy.  See the screensnap below.

Screensnap of Apple Hardware Test Screen

Screensnap of Apple Hardware Test Screen

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10 thoughts on “Built-in Hardware Diagnostic Mode for MacBooks

  1. This is freakin’ awesome. Thanks for the tip, man. My friends MacBook HD died the other day, and I’m used to using the Hardware Diagnostics CD. Except we couldn’t find her HWD CD. And the Apple tech was no help. It ended up being shipped off for a week for a replacement hard drive, but I still would’ve liked to run the diagnostics myself to be sure.

  2. It’s pretty simple really, power off your computer, and when you power it back on press and hold the D key on your keyboard and your Mac will enter diagnostic mode where it will test the hardware inside your lappy. See the screensnap below.

    Well I did just that and nothing happened what did I miss?

  3. Further to my comments of yesterday I used the Disk and then Held the D button down which did take me to the diagnostics area, however all it did was show me that there were no problems, it did not tell me at all what the hardware or its manufacturer or type is. The problem I am faced with is that I have Vista Ultimate installed on a Virtual drive under parallels and the ethernet and PCI controller is not installed under windows and I cannot for the life of me find out where or what it is. Having said this It works fine in the Mac section but I dont know where to look to find out what it is.

    • You can go onto the microsoft website, and download the appropriate drivers… I dual-booted my 2009 macbook pro with 10.6 and Windows 7; it has no sound or ethernet drivers, and thats where I got one of them. If you have an Intel-based mac, you can also possibly go to Intel’s website and find the drivers there, which is what I had to do for the sounds driver. Hope this Helps :)

  4. I have the macbook pro and it didn’t work for me as well. All i had to do is insert the installation disk, reboot and hold the “D” key.

    Hope that works for you

    • And what to do if neither works?

      I’m on a really old (white) 13″ MacBook here, late 2006 model.

      Note that the MacBook is currently fine and boots quite well into Lion, but I suspect the hard disk might be failing. No errors are (yet) diagnosed, but sometimes everything stutters to a stop for a second or so (no logs, no errors, just… a freeze). From previous experiences with a failed disk, it might just be the prelude to a dead disk.

      Possibly Hardware Diagnostics might be able to figure out what’s wrong, since nothing else finds a fault with it.

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