If some day, upon booting your Macbook (probably after you did some modification to your hdd), you hear the startup chime and you get an empty white screen showing no activity at all for hours and hours, you’ve come across the dreaded white screen of death. How to fix it? First you can try the (sufficiently explained somewhere else) recommendations like: insert the System Install medium, reset the SMC, reset the PRAM, boot holding down one of the Option, C or N keys, boot off the network, etc. But if nothing of that worked, don’t panic! Don’t pay much attention to internet posts saying that your hard drive/motherboard is “fried”, nor take yet your machine to the Apple service for getting stolen still more money, because there are many chances that nothhing wrong with your hardware. Follow the steps I explain and, instead of a very expensive repair bill, you’ll probably only spend (depending on your model) $12 on a Phillips #00 screwdriver, plus maybe $14 on a Torx T5. But, before you proceed to the fix, perhaps you want to read little bit of theory for knosing what’s going on:
Your Macbook’s boot process works more or less like this: first, the firmware tries to boot either from the hard drive or, alternatively, if previously instructed to do so, from any other bootable medium set via the OS-X Startup Manager (like a CD/DVD unit, the install USB stick, the network, etc). Now, let’s consider the two cases, starting for the latter: when the firmware is NOT set to boot from the hard drive, then it will look for the instructed alternative medium to boot from, and if it doesn’t find it (or is not bootable), then it will automatically try to boot from the hard drive. But when the firmware is set to boot from the hard drive (which is the default) and this isn’t bootable (for a damaged boot sector or whatever) then it WILL NOT automatically try to find any other alternative boot medium at all, thus producing the dreaded white screen of death. This is the stupid logic that you’ve paid for when you’ve bought your Mac. Congratulations!
Now, how can you work around this problem? Here comes my copyrighted fix. It’s quite simple:
Step #1. With the help of the appropriate screwdrivers I’ve told you, remove the back cover and disconnect the hard drive from the motherboard (in iFixit you have a great tutorial on how to do it. Don’t be afraid. It’s extemely easy, and even fun. I’m sure you can do it). Having NO hard drive present in the system is the only way to force the firmware to look for some alternative boot medium. So, now
Step #2. simply make available some alternative medium (USB, DVD, network…) and, voilá!, after one minute or so, you will take a deep sigh because you’ll see the little spinning icon and the computer will boot. The hardest part is done; the rest is easy:
Step #3. Once your laptop booted, it’s essential that you go to the Utilities menu, open the Startup Manager and set the computer to, next time, boot from your alternative medium (anything except the hard drive, or you’ll be in the same SHITuation upon next boot!) After this,
Step #4. connect again the hard drive to the motherboard and reboot. It should boot as instructed; no white screen. Now go again to Utilities menu and, using the Disk Utility, repair or (in the worst of cases) format your hard drive, as needed.
That’s all! SHAME on Apple for neither fixing their firmware nor offering this solution it in their support webpage (but, instead, joyfully getting your money again when you take your laptop to repair).
Notice: I am the “copyrighter” of this solution for the WSOD, and I’ve published it for Apple’s shame and for your benefit. If I’ve spared you one week anguish and/or an Apple’s $500 bill, could you please show your gratefulness by inviting me a beer? Simply donate here what you’d pay for a beer in your favourite bar. Cheap and nice, huh? ;)
(One last word: due to its excessive length, I’m not accepting more comments on this thread. I believe that all reasonable doubts or questions have already being posted and replied. Please read carefully throughout the comments, because your answer is probably there.)