The MacBook family was first introduced in May 2006 and replaced the iBook as Apple's consumer laptop.

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Kernal panics, & bad startups, hardware of software issue?

My MacBook has been working great for the last four years until last week. It froze, I did a manual restart and the cdrom initial spin sounded like a skipping record. The computer would not start until after a couple attempts at a manual reboot. after a successful restart computer sent an error log to Apple and ran fine for an hour maybe before the gray box telling me to restart appeared.

I've booted from the installation CD multiple times and repaired the hard drive. After which I will get a successful reboot and run for a while before it restarts automatically, or requests a reboot in 5 languages. At the moment a successful startup is a luck of the draw unless Its immediately following a disk utility repair, and random, unsolicited black screens, restarts, or freezes are just a matter of time.

my next attempt at a solution will be to backup then erase the drive before reinstalling the OS from scratch, but I'm wondering is this a hardware problem or a software one?

Thanks for your answers

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thanks for your answer. Here's an update. I reset the PRAM and things worked fine. I let the computer stay on for two days and checked it periodically to check email and the like. Ah, but this morning I wanted to take the MacBook to another room to use and as soon as I picked it up from the table the gray square requesting a restart in 4 languages returned and I was back at square one with reluctant starts. I used disk utility to repair the drive and reset PRAM again, but at this point I think it may not be a software problem.

it seems that if the computer is crashing from the movement of being handled then there is a piece of hardware that is broken, cracked or going bad. How to discover which component is the problem may be the new challenge. any thoughts out there?

Thanks again.

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It could be either. Wiping the hard drive and starting with a fresh install of the OS as you've mentioned is the right step, and that will tell you the answer to your question. If you haven't already, you might want to reset the PRAM and PMU/SMC before wiping the drive, just to see if that by chance helps the situation.

Another test you can try is to connect your machine to another Mac via a firewire cable, then boot that machine in target mode, and boot your laptop in option mode, and see how well your machine works when it's running off of the remote machine's hard drive. If it works flawlessly, that points to a software issue on your laptop, and if it still crashes, that points to your machine having a hardware problem.

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