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rkristich
Jul 28, 2005, 01:45 AM
Edit: My PB has been fixed! There is no need to read this first post. Please scroll down to post #19 to see the conclusion.

Hi, first of all, my name's Rachel and even though this is my first post here on the MacRumors forums, I assure you that I am no stranger to the forums. I browse through the forum when I have time, but shyness and a lack of time/too much schoolwork has prevented me from actually becoming a member. However, I am at wit's end with my Powerbook, and decided to see if anyone had any solutions to my problems before I contacted Apple Support. So without further ado, here goes.

I have a 1.33 ghz 12" Rev. C Powerbook with Tiger installed, bought back in January. About two weeks ago, right after I installed the iPod Photo software, the computer began crashing. I really have no idea if the two things are related. And it wasn't those crashes force quit could end. No, I had to reboot the PB. This kept happening, and eventually it stopped booting up, getting stuck on the grey intro screen with the apple and the little spinning thing below it. I repaired the permissions, repaired the disc, and checked the hardware. Still, nothing helped. Took out the third party RAM, but again, nothing. I bought Disk Warrior, and after running that, my PB began to boot up again. It worked well for a couple of hours and then began crashing again. Luckily, it would always be a little while before it crashed again. The crashes usually seemed to happen when I was using iPhoto or iTunes, but would also sometimes happen when using other applications. Also, after the initial crash it would usually crash again right after I rebooted it. After another reboot it would be fine for a few hours. I should also mention that whenever it crashed, the hard drive would make funny noises, repeating patterns of sort. The best way I can think of to describe it is a stuck/repeating record. As I said though, nothing seems to indicate hard drive problems, at least according to the Apple Hardware Test and additionally, the S.M.A.R.T. status is verified.

Finally I decided it was time to erase the hard drive. Luckily, I back up religiously, so I didn't lose anything of importance (Besides an iPhoto book I was working on). I tried to do the option where the data is written over with zeros; however it kept failing halfway through and I'd have to do a hard reboot. I tried this about five times without success, finally settling for the regualr erase (which of course doesn't truly erase the data). I reinstalled everything, and for a while things were going fine. Then, as I was messing with a picture I'd grabbed from the internet on Photoshop, I heard the dreaded noise coming from the hard drive, and seconds later, the spinning beach ball appeared. Of course, I did another hard reboot. When I turned the computer back on, it got stuck at the grey startup screen, as it had initially done. The hard drive was also making the repeating pattern noises. I again repaired permissions, repaired the disc and made sure nothing was wrong hardware wise, but it still didn't go past the startup screen. When I tried to run Disk Warrior, after about 15 minutes I got a screen that said something about Kernal, Darwin, and the very last line of it said something to the effect of "we're hanging here panic". I'll put the disc in again later and post a picture of the screen, but at the moment I'm very frusterated and don't feel like messing with it.

As much as I would like to solve this problem myself, I'm thinking I'll probably end up having to send it in to be repaired. However, if anyone has any ideas as to what may be wrong, or even anymore tests I can run, I'd love your help and input. Just knowing what's wrong with it, even if it's not something I can fix would be nice. By the way, I'm just a typical teenage home computer user: I'm more knowledgeable than my parents when it comes to computers, but I'm not savvy enough to be a programmer or even understand anything related to computer programming, so if your reply is really technical, I probably won't understand what you're saying.

By the way, I am now forced to use my B.A. (Before Apple) computer, a Dell laptop. It feels like a piece of junk compared to my PB, and is nowhere near as pleasant to use. Never before have I appreciated my PB so much, and I really can't wait to use it again! Up until this incident, I had no problems with my PB besides the occasional force quit. I'm actually disappointed that I will no longer be able to brag to all my Windows user friends how I never have to deal with crashes and major problems.

Thanks in advance,
Rachel

Edit: Here's a picture of the screen I get when trying to load Disk Warrior. The part that seems of most interest is the top line: "Unable to find a driver for this platfrom"
I would put the picture in this post, but I'm sure it's too big, so I hosted it at imageshack: http://img261.imageshack.us/img261/7528/img39079lc.jpg



katie ta achoo
Jul 28, 2005, 01:51 AM
if it's making the bad HD sounds (screeching, squealing, you know the noise) it's the HD.

I had the grey apple problem, and sure enough, it was my HD. It kept freezing when I tried to pull a lot of stuff off of it at once (like when I loaded up my iPhoto library or iTunes)

Since you got it in January, you still have AppleCare. I'd recommend calling them, or if you have a nearby genius bar, have them check it out.

Good luck, Rachel!

rkristich
Jul 28, 2005, 02:47 AM
Yeah, it's strange that the hard drive is making strange noises, but that the hardware tests say it's fine. I just added the picture of what happens when I try to run Disk Warrior and did a search on the forums for "unable to find driver". I saw a few posts by people who had that error come up, but none really had any solutions or matched my problems. A hard drive would actually be nice though, it seems much simpler than a software or firmware problem. I could just send it to Apple and get it fixed. For some reason I forsee more problems if I send it to Apple with a non-hardware related problem.

Anyways, I think I'm going to wait a day, see what kind of replies I get for this post, and then if nothing can be done, contact AppleCare. I would like to go to a Genius Bar, but the closest Apple Store is about 100 miles away in Tampa, and there's no way my parents would let me drive there myself (actually, I don't think I even want to drive there myself). I also can't convince them to take me there, as we already stopped by the store earlier this month.

Thanks for the "Good Luck", I definitely need it. School starts up again in about a week and a half, and I'm much happier doing work on my PB than my Dell, especially when writing papers. The PB just has a much nicer feeling keyboard.

katie ta achoo
Jul 28, 2005, 03:04 AM
Yeah, it's strange that the hard drive is making strange noises, but that the hardware tests say it's fine. I just added the picture of what happens when I try to run Disk Warrior and did a search on the forums for "unable to find driver". I saw a few posts by people who had that error come up, but none really had any solutions or matched my problems. A hard drive would actually be nice though, it seems much simpler than a software or firmware problem. I could just send it to Apple and get it fixed. For some reason I forsee more problems if I send it to Apple with a non-hardware related problem.

Anyways, I think I'm going to wait a day, see what kind of replies I get for this post, and then if nothing can be done, contact AppleCare. I would like to go to a Genius Bar, but the closest Apple Store is about 100 miles away in Tampa, and there's no way my parents would let me drive there myself (actually, I don't think I even want to drive there myself). I also can't convince them to take me there, as we already stopped by the store earlier this month.

Thanks for the "Good Luck", I definitely need it. School starts up again in about a week and a half, and I'm much happier doing work on my PB than my Dell, especially when writing papers. The PB just has a much nicer feeling keyboard.

Oh, when mine went down, it wasn't detected by the Apple Hardware tests. It was in such early stages of death that it said it was still fine. I forget what program the genius used, but he booted from and external FW drive and ran it from there. Have you tried testing it like that?

Are there any local Mac resellers that you could ask about this?


That kernel panic screen is scary! I'm glad I've never had to see one.
:o

wdlove
Jul 28, 2005, 11:19 AM
Have you done a Repair Permissions? Very sorry to hear about your problem Rachel. As Katie mentioned, my recommendation would be to take it to your local Apple Store or reseller. It is so much easier when they can check your Mac in person. ;)

rkristich
Jul 28, 2005, 09:45 PM
I did check and repair the permissions. It found a few things to fix, but it didn't really help at all.

Unfortunatly in terms of Apple Resellers (since there's no chance of going to the closest Apple Store), the only place that's somewhat nearby is CompUSA, and the Apple representatives at the store really only know how to sell Macs, not how to fix them. There's a good chance I know more about fixing Macs than they do; I don't think they would even know to tell you to repair permissions and things like that.

Anyways, I just emailed Apple to tell them about my Powerbook. I can't call, as I just purchased AppleCare online today (with my student discount of course). I was holding off on buying it, but I realized it really makes no difference whether I wait or not.

ChrisBrightwell
Jul 28, 2005, 10:02 PM
The fact that zeroing out the drive fails leads me to believe that it's a drive problem, despite what the hardware test says.

The kernel panic is interesting, too. It's also interesting that it does that when you're trying to load DiskWarrior.

I'd say take it to a shop for a look-over and see what they say. Either that or contact Apple Support directly.

wrc fan
Jul 29, 2005, 02:50 AM
It sounds to me like it's more than just the hard drive that's bad. I would definately call Apple support tomorrow. Usually they'll overnight a box to you which you then use to overnight the computer back to them, and then they'll overnight it back to you after it's been fixed.

rkristich
Jul 29, 2005, 05:07 PM
Okay, so I just got off the phone with someone at Apple Care. He was really very nice, one of the best tech support people I've talked too.

I described to him what had gone wrong, basically reading my first post about my PB to him. He seemed pretty impressed that I had already done so many things to try and correct the problem, like repairing the disk and permissions. He told me so many people ignore the troubleshooting part of the manual and don't know that they can often easily fix things themselves, or at least spend a lot less time on the phone with AppleCare. He also told me that the Kernal screen that comes up when I try to run DiskWarrior now is definitely odd and should not be happening.

After that, he told me to do one more disk repair, just to see if the S.M.A.R.T. status was still verified. While I was waiting, he had me tell him exactly the progression of problems and everything I had tried so he could type it all and attach it to my case number.

The status of the disk was verified, so he told me that I needed to do some stuff to reset the computer and power management. I don't think they usually have to make people do such things, because he had to put me on hold for a minute or two while he looked up the key combinations.

The first combo of keys he told me to press got me to some sort of firmware screen. I had to type in reset-nvram (at least I think it was nvram) and reset-all. Next I had to hold down another combo of keys and wait until I heard the start up sound four times. Then I had to reset the power management, done by pressing down some keys (I think it was ctrl-shift-option-command, but I'm not sure) and the power button. I had to press the entire combo simultaniously and then release right away. I know I did it right because the I had the PB plugged in and the light where the power cord connects to computer changed from orange to green for a few seconds. He told me to go ahead and reinstall from the Tiger disc (which I'm doing right now). If it still doesn't work, I need to call back and probably send it in for repair.

Something that made me really pleased with Apple's service, was that even though I just ordered AppleCare (from the Apple Online store) yesterday, the tech support guy said if I gave him my web order number for AppleCare, I wouldn't be charged for the call (since my 90 days for free calling was up about 5 months ago). I can just imagine other companies saying "too bad, you don't have it in your hands yet, nothing we can do." And it's also nice not to have someone talking to me in an accent I can't understand. I can't tell you how many tech support people I've talked to where I've had to ask them to repeat almost everything, because their accent is so heavy.

So I'm crossing my fingers right now and hoping that everything works out okay.

Update Well it worked for about 7 hours and then the horrible, dreaded beach ball appeared and sure enough, hard reboot time. I'll be on the phone with AppleCare first thing tomorrow, and I forsee a trip to Apple support in the very near future for my PB. The worst part is, I had almost just finished loading all my pictures, photos and documents back in. So frusturating, but hopefully everything will be fixed soon.

Update #2 Just got off the phone with AppleCare again, they are indeed going to send me a box so it can be looked at. All the lady needed to hear was that I had done two erase and installs and that it was still freezing.

ThRiLLeR13
Jul 30, 2005, 04:01 PM
I'm glad you're dealings with AppleSupport went well. I know alot of people here have troubles. Anyway, I feel for you, and really hope your PB is fixed ASAP. Anytime spent on a Windows based machine is a waste of time. :)

WinterMute
Jul 30, 2005, 04:46 PM
This has all the symptoms of a poorly hard drive, it could be the controller, not the drive. You've done everything I would look at, (I expect the Applecare bloke got you to reboot holding "Apple+S" and type fsck- y to check the drive) and the fact it won't let you reformat the disc or run DiskWarrior (an essential piece of software in my book) all points towards drive failure.

Good job you have your back-up in place, and hopefully Apple will get your PowerBook back to you soon (Apple UK turned my 17" rev A around in 3 days).

Sorry you have to use the Dell in the meantime... :D ;)

NEENAHBOY
Jul 30, 2005, 09:44 PM
Hope everything works out OK for you.

Chaszmyr
Jul 30, 2005, 10:08 PM
I'm not sure what to say that will help you fix your problem, but I have to comment about your approach. I don't know if it was intentional or not, but it was very clever that you made known in the first line of your post that you're a girl, no one would have bothered reading such a long post otherwise ;)

wrc fan
Jul 31, 2005, 12:05 AM
I'm not sure what to say that will help you fix your problem, but I have to comment about your approach. I don't know if it was intentional or not, but it was very clever that you made known in the first line of your post that you're a girl, no one would have bothered reading such a long post otherwise ;)

You're terrible! :rolleyes: :)

wdlove
Jul 31, 2005, 05:20 PM
I'm very happy to hear that Apple is taking good care of you Rachel. ;) Will look forward to your next update.

rkristich
Aug 5, 2005, 04:57 PM
I'm not sure what to say that will help you fix your problem, but I have to comment about your approach. I don't know if it was intentional or not, but it was very clever that you made known in the first line of your post that you're a girl, no one would have bothered reading such a long post otherwise ;)
Haha, yeah my very first post on MacRumors was quite a long one. My high school science teachers have all taught me to be really detailed and explain every step when doing lab reports (especially for science fair projects), so I guess I was inclined to do the same when asking for help with my PB :D

Anyways, here's an update:
I shipped my PB to the service center yesterday, and according to DHL tracking it arrived around 5 this morning. I just checked the repair status, it's just been shipped back to me. While some might comment on the fast repair, I'm worried that they thought my PB was working okay and didn't see the need to repair anything. You see, right before I shipped it, it was working fine as long as I didn't put any more data on the hard drive. I tried repeated times to put more music and photos back on it, but it would keep freezing. I'd do a hard reboot and it would start up again and be okay (but not a single bit of what I had tried to load back in would be there). I was also still getting a kernal panic if I tried to use Disk Warrior.

So has anyone else's PB (or any Mac for that matter) been repaired so fast?

According to the repair status detail:

On 7/30/05, a repair was requested and the request was acknowledged. On 8/05/05, in this order, it says: Begin Repair, Unit Recieved, Begin Testing, Ready to Ship, Unit Shipped/Completed

I really hope they did fix my PB and I'll have no problem with it when it gets back (which should be tomorrow).

St Soichiro
Aug 5, 2005, 05:13 PM
<snip>

So has anyone else's PB (or any Mac for that matter) been repaired so fast?


Yes - twice! First time it was the power inverter for the display backlight. Picked up on Thursday, had it back by Monday! Second time it was the lower memory slot failure. Picked up Monday, had it back by Friday!

I have always had fantastic experience with Applecare. They gave me a free shuffle for my second PB repair. I was very nice and politely upset about sending in my main Mac in (it was then). They also expedited my PowerMac order, when the lead times were 2-3 weeks.

WeeShoo
Aug 5, 2005, 05:13 PM
Sorry that this has happened!

Do what Katie said, bring it to a Genius if you have a nearby Apple Store, it will save you time. But otherwise, send it in!

rkristich
Aug 14, 2005, 01:28 PM
Okay, here is the final (hopefully) update about my PowerBook.

I recieved my PB back from Apple last Tuesday. It was sent out Friday after only 12 hours at the service center. My local DHL doesn't deliever on Saturdays and nobody was home Monday, hence the Tuesday arrival. A service details slip inside the box informed me that the hard drive had been replaced, and so had an optical flex cable (whatever that is). I am very impressed with how fast the repair was done!

Things started off well, but when it was installing updates, it froze. I had to do a hard restart, and when I turned it back on, a grey screen with a message telling me to restart my computer came up. This message kept appearing, no matter how many times I restarted. Repairing permissions, etc. did not help. So I called up tech support, and the guy assured me that there was a 99% chance it was unrelated to my previous problems, and that something had probably just gone wrong when it was going through the updates. He told me to reinstall the OS and gave me a case number to use in case I still had problems.

Luckily, all my programs are back on my computer now, including Tiger, Photoshop, Microsoft Office, iLife, etc. All my music and photos are back on it too, and I've had no problems, so everything appears to be fine. At first it was running kind of slow, and I was a bit worried. Then I remembered that I hadn't put my additional 512 mb of RAM back in! D'oh! :o I put my RAM back in and things were up to speed again.

So thanks to everyone who replied to this thread, and in the end this whole problem had a silver lining--I now post a couple times a day on the forums, and have gotten over my nervousness about finally becoming a memeber :D