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[FIXED] OSX Mavericks doesn’t recognise Intel SSD – after update from Lion

Update: Summary added so you don’t have to read my extensive rambling about the problem 😉 For more details read here.

  • After working fine in OSX Lion, the Mavericks update & boot-stick menu didn’t see my Intel SSD (Model: SSDA2M080G2GC – Series: 310) while inside the main bay
  • Booting old Lion install in safe mode + installing 10.9 while SSD in usb hard drive case, worked fine

(My) solution

  • Installing the newest Intel firmware (2CV102HD -> 2CV102M3) from usb-stick to the SSD, while inside the SATA bay of a windows laptop -> SSD works fine again inside the Macbook

Complete original story:
Last week I tried to update my early 2011 Macbook Pro running OSX Lion (10.7) to Mavericks (10.9), the newest (free) update of Apple’s “desktop” OS. The main hard drive was exchanged 2 years ago for an Intel 80GB SSD – Model: SSDA2M080G2GC – Series: 310. As it took me over a week and 10+ hours of wondering to finally finish the whole process, I decided to write about it, in case anybody else out there has the same problem!

After trying to install the update over my current OSX version (by downloading the installer file via Appstore and executing it), my Macbook just kept hanging at the loading screen and didn’t do anything. After finding some info about the launch options on a mac I tried some of them. In verbose mode [Command+V] I could at least get a first hint of the problem, as it showed “Still waiting for root device” every few seconds in an infinite loop. This error was again present, when I inserted my prior with Diskmaker X prepared USB-stick and booted from it. In this boot menu you have some options like installing a clean version of Mavericks, accessing a terminal command line and even the well-known Disk Utility can be started. Unfortunately in neither of these options my SSD was found!

The very odd thing at that time was, that I could still boot to my old Lion install in safe mode [Shift] and everything was running just fine. Knowing that, I could at least eliminate the possibility of a hardware damage (after reading some posts about dead hard drive cables in Macbooks). After formatting the hard drive in 3 different ways using a windows laptop and my usb hard drive case, the hard drive still didn’t show up. I only found the next oddity, namely the SSD was detected on my mac perfectly fine while inside the hard drive case. This way at least I could install a fresh version of Mavericks and run it (whilst loosing much of the performance boost).

I’ve used this workaround for almost a week know, until yesterday when I found this post pushing me in the right direction! I found the most recent firmware update for Intel SSDs but I couldn’t get a bootable stick running with my mac (don’t ask me how the guy from Diskmaker X is doing it :). According to the discussion in this guide‘s comment section, it’s got something to do with the Intel Hardware and the Efi-Bios – I couldn’t figure out how to do it. What I could do, following that guide, was preparing my USB-stick (partition as MBR and Free Space) for the before mentioned windows laptop. Here I could launch the intel update tool just fine and tried to update the SSD in my usb case – no luck, it couldn’t find the hard drive. I’ve read before somewhere that a firmware upgrade requires the hard drive to be connected by a proper SATA connector, so I tried putting the SSD inside the windows laptop and that FINALLY did do the trick! I could update my firmware from version 2CV102HD to 2CV102M3.

After applying that upgrade, thankfully the SSD was found again when inside the main bay of the Macbook and I could use it the way it’s supposed to be again. Enjoying a clean Mavericks install and all it’s improvements right now! Don’t forget to enable trim (if your drive needs it), when upgrading your hard drive to an SSD of your choice – Trim Enabler is probably the easiest way to do that.

As always thanks for reading and any kind of feedback is appreciated! Especially if you know a way to keep the windows laptop out of this! 😉