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Apple cops to defective MacBook drives

Free replacements for the unlucky 'few'

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Apple has extended the warranty on certain MacBooks from 2006 and 2007 whose hard drive failed, while offering free replacements for defective drives.

Look out your window and you might observe porcine aerobatics - and that red-tailed gent donning the toasty overcoat might well be Lucifer.

Of course, in a support note announcing the "Repair Extension Program," Cupertino was careful not to concede mass failures. "Apple has determined that a very small percentage of hard drives that were used in MacBook systems, sold between approximately May 2006 and December 2007," the note reads, "may fail under certain conditions."

Still, the admission is a welcome one, as is the free drive replacement - even though the hard drive failures had been discussed as early as 2007 in an Apple discussion thread entitled "MacBook hard drive failure epidemic" and an identically tiled thread on MacRumors.

The MacBooks eligible for drive replacement must display the telltale "Your drive is bleedin' demised" flashing question mark on the startup screen. The potentially infirm MacBooks are of the white and black varieties, with processor speeds of 1.83GHz, 2GHz, or 2.16GHz and hard-drive capacities of 60GB, 80GB, 100GB, 120GB, or 160GB.

Should you be unlucky enough to posses one of these unworthies, take it to an authorized service provider or schedule an appointment with an Apple Store Genius. If you can't find either, ring up the appropriate technical-support hotline and assistance will be granted.

If you've already paid for a replacement of your ailing drive in Apple's out-of-warranty service, the company will contact you with info on the reimbursement process. If you don't hear from them, Apple advises you to call their tech-support folks.

The program will run for three years after you bought your ailing MacBook or until August 15 of this year, whichever is longer. The support docs also notes that Apple will "continue to evaluate the repair data," and extend the repair period if needed.

Better late than never. ®

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