North Mahaska had its first student Macbook Pro failure today. The machine came into the office at around noon and would not boot into either main partition or recovery partition. My initial assessment was a faulty hard drive. I booted a trusted USB OS X drive and sure enough the hard drive could not be repaired and dismounted itself, unhappy at my attempted fix. I then placed the machine in "target mode" and connected it via Thunderbolt cable to my Macbook Air. Again the hard drive mounted until Disk Utility tried to work its magic.
Meanwhile, my wife is getting her feet wet calling Apple with her first "bad hard drive" on a Macbook Pro. She is working via Apple to send the Macbook Pro in for repair, which given the machine is 5 months old, is not problem. The student appears to have taken good care of the machine this first 3 weeks as the Macbook Pro is clean. So that is nice to see.
Currently we are building an Apple Diagnostic bootable USB drive for the Macbook Pro to aid in a positive identification of the problem hard drive. Given this is the first issue in the three week deployment, we had yet to make this diagnostic USB drive. We have made USB boot drives for Lion and Mountain Lion with the ability to use Disk Utility and other 3rd party utilities to aid in troubleshooting, but have Apple's tool will be good as well.
This incident also will highlight the recent call to backup files to the student USB thumb drives they were issues with their Macbook Pro laptops. My best guess is this student did not backup anything and was operating in a care-free manner. Time will tell if that was the case. We may attempt some file recovery in this first case for the sake of knowledge and to satisfy our own curiosity.