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View Full Version : Hard drive woes in 1st generation TiBook 17"


sprouticus
Mar 2, 2005, 01:14 AM
Hey all... I've been having reoccuring problems with internal hard drives in my 17" Powerbook. I'd like to share my tragic tales with you to get any feedback as to the cause before I go out and buy a new one.

The first HDD I had in it was the stock HDD that came with it (60gb, 5400 RPM). About a year and 3 months later, it started making an awful "uhrrrrrrrr" noise. At that point, the HDD was junk because I couldn't access anything and it wouldn't shut up. The cause? My theory is that while driving a month or 2 earlier, I had to stop short and the backpack it was in fell off the driver seat onto the floor below. Not a big fall, but it hit pretty hard in any case.

So then, I got the thing replaced from my dad's friend. He installed a new drive (60gb 5400 RPM) and everything was good. Flash forward a few months later (February 14th, 2005), I get the same problem. Same noise, same crap.

This time, a friend and I installed the new drive ourselves, and this time I spent a little extra and upgraded to a 60gb 7200 RPM. 10 days later, the drive craps out. This time, though, it's a different noise. The sound it makes is an errant, horrible clicking noise. It almost sounds as if the drive is trying to break itself apart from the inside. Along with this, it makes sharp "tick" noises, much louder versions of the usual sound it makes while reading data.

My question to you all is, what the hell is going on? Am I just a bad luck magnet, constantly getting crap-ass hard drives? My dad's friend thinks it could be some shady software or data on my drive that is leaving dead sectors, thus causing the hard drive to tweak out while attempting to read the dead sectors.

Is it possible my Powerbook isn't compatible with 7200 RPM drives? I didn't notice as drastic a speed increase as all my friends said I would notice, so I think that could be a possibility.

Could a fan be busted? The kid who helped me install it said its possible that there could be a damaged fan or something, but I don't feel it getting very hot.

Or is it just that there is something else wrong with the Powerbook? Some logic board or motherboard error that I'm not aware of?

Please help, this is causing me immense amounts of distress, as I am very close to just emptying my bank account and springing for a new one. Thanks!!

Rod Rod
Mar 4, 2005, 01:24 AM
This is what you should do:

0. Know that you have an "AlBook," not a "TiBook."
1. Back up all your important data to another hard drive.
2. Erase your PowerBook's hard drive, writing zeros across the entire disk.
3. Reinstall OS X and apply all software updates.
4. Sell your machine on eBay.
5. With the money from that sale plus your tax return, get a new 17" Albook.

This is based on the assumption that reformatting your hard drive will "mark" the bad sectors as off limits and a clean reinstall will get everything back up to speed.

sprouticus
Mar 4, 2005, 12:32 PM
This is what you should do:

0. Know that you have an "AlBook," not a "TiBook."
1. Back up all your important data to another hard drive.
2. Erase your PowerBook's hard drive, writing zeros across the entire disk.
3. Reinstall OS X and apply all software updates.
4. Sell your machine on eBay.
5. With the money from that sale plus your tax return, get a new 17" Albook.

This is based on the assumption that reformatting your hard drive will "mark" the bad sectors as off limits and a clean reinstall will get everything back up to speed.

0. I know, but TiBook just sounds so much better =)

1-3. My dad's friend is fixing it as we speak... apparently one of my applications was to blame (i think Azureus). He is going to fix 2 of the 3 hard drives I have, and hopefully recover some of my data as well.

My current plan is to buy an enclosure and use one of the drives as a backup drive, where I can simply swap out HDs in case my internal one fails. But this leads me to....

4. Should I really sell it? I was thinking about it, but I wasn't 100% on it. I figure if it works I should be ok... I wouldn't mind a new one, but is there any other reason to get a new one other than the beautiful speed boost?

Thanks!

-sprout

Rod Rod
Mar 4, 2005, 04:57 PM
4. Should I really sell it? I was thinking about it, but I wasn't 100% on it. I figure if it works I should be ok... I wouldn't mind a new one, but is there any other reason to get a new one other than the beautiful speed boost?

I think that's a toss-up.

The advantages of getting a new one:
1. Full CoreImage / CoreVideo support in Tiger, whereas your current machine will have scaled-down performance (if any) with those features.
2. A new warranty.
3. The ability to drive the 30" Apple display.
4. A 100GB 5400rpm HDD.
5. 512MB RAM, one SO-DIMM (to which you can add one of your current machine's SO-DIMMs).
6. Sudden motion sensors to protect your HDD and maybe prevent some of the HDD troubles you've had (because moving a laptop computer while the disk is being accessed is riskier than most people think).
7. A nifty scrolling trackpad (which works better than the 'hacks' available for previous generation PBs).
8. A brighter backlit keyboard.
9. An 8x Superdrive.

The disadvantages of getting a new one:
1. It'll likely set you back another $800 for the difference.

sprouticus
Mar 6, 2005, 11:00 AM
Well, the guy fixed it, said it was severe fragmentation.

Well, not really. Today the drive made the same friggin noise and I couldn't access it. I either got screwed by him or my computer is just a big pile at this point.

He said something turned up like 300 problems, but he didnt know the exact program or the exact name of the folder. I figured it was Azureus, and he showed me a folder he "thought" where the problems came from. So I kept an eye on the folder but there weren't any files in it.

He said it would be OK to use Azureus since he's fixed it, so I used it twice since then and sure enough the thing is busted again. If he seriously de-fragged it there is no way in hell that it is already fragmented that much again. it's impossible!

Another thing he said was that having alot of music can mess with your drive, but what woudl be the point of having a big music library if your computer cant handle it?

God damn it, I want this problem to be over. any other ideas, people?

Rod Rod
Mar 6, 2005, 03:55 PM
Some people have better luck with hard drives than others. For the most part, though, hard drives are like light bulbs. They wear out over time and one day they just break and stop working. With hard drives, though, it can be a gradual process. That hard drive is what, about two years old? That's a pretty long life for a laptop hard drive.

sprouticus
Mar 6, 2005, 06:46 PM
The original stock HDD was 15 months old before it crapped out. then the one after that was about 6 months, and the latest one was 10 days old.

Rod Rod
Mar 6, 2005, 09:07 PM
That's an amazing run of bad luck. Is there anything in common with where and how you were using the computer between these three bad drives? I mean, is your desk or is your lap magnetic?

sprouticus
Mar 6, 2005, 09:53 PM
nope... i use my computer either at home or at school, and both places have wooden desks and no magnets anywhere.

the guy who fixed my drive cloned all my data onto the drive i replaced a few weeks back... so im up and running again, albeit missing a few things i got this past weekend. lets hope this one doesnt crap out either.

i think i've firmly decided that at the end of the week im going to kick off spring break by emptying my piggy bank and picking up a brand new powerbook. tomorrow i plan to call apple and give them hell for this whole situation... i've got nothing to lose, hell maybe i'll even get something out of it!

i'm just praying that this thing lasts through the week.

Rod Rod
Mar 6, 2005, 10:26 PM
Good luck with the call to Apple. Unless you have AppleCare, they'll likely charge you $49 for speaking with them. If they agree that three failed hard drives in the same machine in less than two years indicates a defective computer, hopefully you'll get a logic board replacement.