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How to differentiate between a hardware Failure or a broken firmware?

Hi everyone,

How can I differentiate if my computer has a broken firmware or a hardware problem?


1. Not able to go into Safe mode

2. Not able to reset SMC

3. Not able to reset NVRAM

4. Have to press the power button a few times to start-up

Steps taken:

1. Clean installed Os X versions 10.7, 10.8, 10.9 the problem remains in all of them

2. checked file permissions and ALL OK except Safari permission (not getting repaired)

3. Disk verification: ALL OK

My Boot ROM version is MB71.0039.BOE

SMC version: 1.60f6

I am also not able to find the Apple's Boot ROM recovery CD from their website... :(

Any help or guidance will be very appreciated.

Thank you

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Other than having Apple give you an estimate (and some more background information) I can only speculate but it sounds to me like a failed SMC chip. Help us help you. the more we know the more help we can be. More background (when this started, (e.g. after a fall, spill, any other pertinent information) .

If this answer is acceptable please remember to return and mark it.

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Thanks machead3 for the comment. I am using a Macbook 2009 slowly upgraded to Mavericks.

It started with my earlier problem described Why is the MacBook Keyboard not working after upgrade to 10.9.2?, I tried to downgrade Mac Mavericks with the USB installer created from downloaded copy of 10.9/8/7. All these installs did not seem to solve that problem (which I think is related to 10.9.2 update ruining my keyboard mapping), but after the reinstall the power button had to be pressed a few times before the mac booted. Thought I had somehow ruined the SMC firmware, or hardware. However yesterday I installed the cloned copy of my old Mavericks of CCC and the power button problem is solved. Which means that downgrading and/or, reinstallations had somehow corrupted firmware files. I need to find a way to reinstall the keyboard firmware to working again since I do not have my old 10.8 back-up I cannot find a way to reinstall/recover the firmware files.

Any suggestions?


I would go over to Apple Discussions for help. Your Apple ID will let you post/read discussions. As policy we do not generally answer software Questions - unless the answer is known by the person who first Answers the Question - and the Question is often removed as "not repair related". I see others have your problem. I don't know the Answer.


Thanks machead3... till now I was not sure if this was really a software or a hardware problem... or I wouldn't have posted... will keep this in mind next time...

A LOT of thanks for your pointer.. I was not using the right keywords perhaps... these are new links for me...


PS Though IF I do find the solution I will update the post..


Thanks -that will be helpful to others if the moderators decide to keep this active.


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Alok sera éternellement reconnaissant.
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