Apple MacBook Air crashed

Aaargh the grey wall of death appeared. Sometimes the thing starts up, sometimes it doesn't, sometimes it runs for a couple of days, sometimes for a couple of nano-seconds, if that.

So I took it to the genius bar in ...basingstoke.

The lad there re-installed the software, as he reckoned it wasn't a hardware problem, but the problem was back in 2 days. So I took it to the Genii in Bristol, who said it needed £800 of repairs.

Is there anyone out there who is competent to take a look and advise, or anyone else who is having similar problems? The only thing that I can think of is that it's connected to a Kindle I bought, as it crashed a day after I had used the USB to charge the Kindle - what does anyone think of that?

Yes badger them unmercifully, it may be out of warranty but its clearly not good enough. If you're on Twitter, tweet your unhappiness with a hashtag that might pick up Apple's attention.

After mor ethan ten visits, I came armed with all prior bills and insisted to see a manager. Only the manager has the authority to give you a new one, not a "genius." I guess that you have to go in person. You might also write to VP Customer Service in California. People at the genius bar have indicated that such a gift is not unusual after they've failed to satisfactorily repair the machine.

yes well the logic board is pretty much the computers entire cost, the SSD isnt so expensive so you need to hope it is the problem!

if it is the logic board its a pretty poor show on apples part that it bust after a such a short time, I have lost so many macs since 1990 over such things that I no longer buy Macs. Windows 7 machines are now good computers and cheap and while I still have an iMac that I use every day, I also use an Acer laptop (£399 and very fast and reliable)

The Airs are all very pretty but ...

Many thanks.

The machine has had only very light use and is/was 2 and a half years old.

The quote from the Genii was for a new logic board and SSD, and I am busy getting a second opinion - will let the group know what happens - thanks to Miles for that. They said hardware failure for the SSD, and possible issue with the logic board...maybe more.

Ron - I tried (via phone and e-mail) but got nowhere - even quoted a "friend" who had successfully obtained a new one - the best they would offer was 10% off a new one, or waive the labour charge on the repair (£28!).

So if you have any more tips on how you managed to charm them into a replacement I would be very pleased to know!

I think an important point with this issue is the age of the Mac. SSD drives do not last for ever in any machine and have a specific MTBF (Mean time between failure), which will be available on-line for each model.The original ones should be good for between 2-3 years depending on usage profile. More modern ones offer greater life.

It sounds like hardware to me, and the HD would be my first component to check. £800 sounds an awful lot, which would be more like HD,RAM ,motherboard and video adapter, which is extremely unlikely they have all failed at once. I would definitely get a second opinion and get a written quote for exactly what work they are going to carry out for that. In Berlin you can buy a brand new 13" 128GB Macbook Air for 999 euros.

Take ie right back to the Genius Bar; make suer that they make a record of your problems. I say this because they did give me a brand new computer well after the warranty had expired.

Yes like I said running disk utility from a potentialy faulty disc is like trying to lift yourself in the air by pulling on your shoelaces! It has to be run from an external source. Id say the hard drive itself may want replacing.

Thanks for the advice - the Genius in Basingstoke linked the machine up and ran a long test (an hour!) after which he thought it was software, and installed the most recent, thus up-dating it.

But it still crashes, and I can't run the disc utility as crashes before I get there!

So I will keep trying, and thanks for all the help - I'll get onto Absolute Mac now!

If it's potentially £800 then maybe an old mate of mine might be worth talking to? Absolute Mac. I know nothing about Macs but Matt has been at it for years. Good luck I hope it turns out to be a simple fix!

If the software was completely resinstalled ( is it Lion?) then it does sound awfully like a hardware problem, maybe the video card. The thing about all Macs, and especially the laptops, is that they are not designed to be repaired. I have thrown, literally, so many away as the price of fix is so high.

The fact that the Air has no dvd/cd drive makes it very hard to run freestanding disk utilities on it. If it has Firewire you could link it to another mac and run the utilities from there after starting the airbook in target mode. You may be able to do something similar with the wireless, but I dont have an Air myself to know if thats possible.

Of all the disk utilities I have found DiskWarrior the best of all. It's not cheap tho. Apples own disk utility is really not much use 9 times out of 10 and is running off the hard drive its trying to fix, so logically it hasnt really got a chance of fixing deep problems

I presume you are out of warranty? In which case best scenario may be to get all your data off the air via wireless network and prepare to throw the machine away. Second hand is cheaper than a repair.

Or do as I did and go darkside for laptop. I got an acer with windows 7 for £399 and while it is no beauty to look at, it runs very well and very fast and very reliably and win 7 is actually not bad at all.

I cant see why the kindle would have done any harm except you must unplug any usb devices on start up in case the Air is trying to mistakenly boot up from the external device

Surprised that at the Genius Bar, he "reckoned" that it was not a hardware problem. When I was at the Paris Genius bar on Friday my computer was subjected to a seemingly sophisticated test to determine that there was no mechanical problem. Precision not reckoning. Have you tried disk utility? If there are defects on the hard drive, you can use the utility and the CD that came with your computer to do repairs. If there are serious difficulties and the Apple store tries to repair it three times and it still doesn't work, the store manager has the authority to replace it with a new machine.

800 seems expensive, since a new machine in new York would cost less.