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I was charging my iPhone last night through my laptop (in a foreign country), and I closed the lid on my 15" Macbook Pro... When I unplugged my iPhone from the USB Port this morning, I heard the hard drive turn on, or maybe it was just the fan, but I just put my laptop in my backpack and didn't bother to check if it was on or off.

4 or 5 hours later, I go to wake it up from sleep mode. It had a hard-rubber case on it, which had a lot of holes for air, but could it be a possible overheating problem? My computer is 2 years old + (silver keys, with a mousepad/mouse-button), and here are some things I've already tried:

  1. Rebooting while holding down the shift button, nothing happened.
  2. Rebooting while holding down Command + Option + R + P... heard the chiming noise about 5 times, nothing happened.
  3. Unplugging the power adapter, taking out the battery, and holding down the power button for 10-15 seconds.

I'm so scared that I'm out of options and this happened so randomly. I'm in a foreign country as I stated before and don't have my startup DVD with me or anything. I use my laptop for work as well as finding directions while I'm on my trip, and it is very important that I find a solution fast, so thanks in advance! I don't think the country I'm in has an Apple Store, but there are repair shops that claim they do Apple jobs (who knows if they're certified, but I still have a warranty, and I don't want to pay).

If you want me to clarify, the screen is verrrrrry dark. If I squint very hard it looks like somebody is holding a faint candle up to the screen. It seems like the computer is still in "clamshell mode" and still thinks the lid is closed, but the computer is on.

I will try to plug it into an external monitor for now, but do you guys have any experience with this? Your help is appreciated!

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If you can see a faint image on the screen, then the backlight is not working. You should be able to use a bright flashlight to see a little bit of the screen (from the front, or from behind the Apple logo) to make sure that the computer is otherwise starting up OK. Two ideas:

  • Try adjusting the backlight using the brightness keys on the keyboard. Turn it up all the way.
  • Try resetting the SMC (it sounds like you may have already done something like this, but try again with the order and timing described in the article).

When a USB device is (dis)connected, the computer should wake up and go back to sleep after a few seconds. Was it hot when you took it out of the backpack?

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Resetting the PRAM was a good move. Next, you need to try to reset the PMU, the directions for which are here

Do write back and let us know how it worked.

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These instructions are for older laptops, newer ones have an SMC. – Sidnicious Mar 11 '11 at 16:44
You're right; I only discovered the SMC once I started to have power problems. – msanford Mar 16 '11 at 15:25

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