View Full Version : 15" PowerBook G4 - bad hard drive?

Apr 19, 2011, 10:10 PM
OK, so starting last week, my aluminum 1.5 GHz 15" PowerBook G4 began to have some kind of problem booting up on occasion. Sometimes when booting, it would instead show the "flashing question mark folder" icon, sometimes it'd just show the loading screen for a long time, sometimes that would suddenly display the kernel panic screen, other times it would boot just fine. This was occasional, so I didn't seem to mind at first. But last night, eventually the PowerBook G4 suddenly experienced a kernel panic while being used and the hard drive suddenly got a bit louder. I shut it off and let it cool a bit. Then today I tried it again, but it would get to the gray screen, the hard drive would make some kind of struggled whirring sound three to four times, then it would stop and the "flashing question mark folder" icon would appear.

I tried booting from the original install disks and that came on just fine, and I also tried the Apple Hardware Test, and it turned out that it discovered an error with the "mass volume" portion of the test! I re-tried the Apple Disk Utility on the install disk, and the hard drive didn't show up. I am now pretty sure that the hard drive is now fried.

Not sure what happened to it; I handled the computer very gently and wisely at all times, and didn't leave it on very long (in fact, I'd only use it when out of the house). I am guessing it could be due to age. Luckily all the data on it is pretty much duplicated from my 1.42 GHz eMac but not as updated, so that's no loss.

I don't have that much money yet to get a MacBook (Pro), but I'm thinking I might be able to replace the old hard drive with a new one. Should that solve my problem? (I've seen 2.5" IDE hard drives from 80 - 160 GB being rather affordable.)

Apr 19, 2011, 10:13 PM
I'd just replace the drive. If the one that died was stock, it was several years old, and all hard drives will eventually fail if used long enough.

Apr 19, 2011, 10:16 PM
It definitely does sound like a hard drive issue. Grabbing another hard drive should solve the issue, although definitely keep an eye on the used MacBook and MacBook Pro market, as I've seen used MacBooks go for as low as $300.

May 26, 2011, 03:26 PM
I apologize for the thread bump, but I just got a new 80 GB hard drive off eBay, and I swapped out the bad hard drive on my PowerBook G4, put the new drive in, put in my Mac OS X install disc, and it installed just fine. This concludes the problems were indeed with the old hard drive, and putting in the new one pretty much solved everything.

May 26, 2011, 04:23 PM