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Could not recover SATA HDD after 5 attempts. Terminating. [Fixed]

Dialog box showing the Energy Saving system preferences on macOS High Sierra

I’ve been experiencing the strangest error message on my 2015 15″ MacBook Pro for months.  I’ve had MBPs for years and this was the first issue I ever had.  Essentially, the computer would panic coming out of sleep mode, and force me to startup from scratch. Quite a headache.

 

 

There were a number of posts that alluded to issues with the drive itself, recommending:

  1. Running diagnostics
  2. Starting in safe mode
  3. Going to the genius bar

I blew through 1 & 2, and the advice all pointed to a hardware issue.  I was checking backups and whatnot when preparing for #3 when I stumbled upon the Energy Saver section in system preferences.  Here lies a setting from many MBPs ago “Put hard disks to sleep when possible.”  My original MBP had spinning platters, so this was a common setting to take on for saving batteries and power – but this doesn’t (shouldn’t) actually mean anything for the new SSDs.  I unchecked it on both tabs, and what once was an at least daily occurrence, has not happened since.

tl;dr  Go into System Preferences – Energy Saver and uncheck “Put hard disks to sleep when possible” on both the Battery and Power Adapter tabs.

 

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