View Full Version : My Powerbook HD committed suicide

Dec 2, 2005, 05:22 AM
Of all the times my hard drive could die on me... *sigh*

It was sitting on my desk, and I noticed the fan started sounding a little noisier than usual. It was whirring in a way that it shouldn't have been. I was updating my resume and I did expose to switch to Safari, when the response time started to really slow down with that spinning color wheel. Eventually I did expose again and the color wheel came up but nothing was happening, I did force quit and nothing responded. I couldn't exit any programs or anything, I figured maybe it would pass.

I went, got a drink, smoked a cigarette, 10 minutes later it's still stuck.

Ok, I did a hard power down. (probably bad idea, but what else could I do?)

Waited 2 minutes, powered the computer back on. Gets to the off white/grey apple screen with the rotating wheel for powering up, then hangs for about 2 minutes, then the black screen of doom telling me to reset my computer in 10 different languages comes up. I reset the computer again, this time the hard drive makes a sad little choke noise when it turns off.

I turn on the drive again, and I hear a very loud *BREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP* coming clearly from the hard drive. My heart sank, and that's when I realized I'm as screwed as dropping the soap in a prison shower. This time the grey screen comes up, but there's no apple, there's no spinning wheel, there's just grey. And that's all that it ever gets to. I reset pram, nothing happened. I tried to boot from CD and I notice my hard drive isn't even mounted. Tried to mount, nothing happens, attempted to repair the drive, nothing happens. I don't have disk warrior unfortunately, but after about 5 repair attempts, nothing happens. I can't even format the damn thing.

My computer is a 12" Powerbook G4 1 GHZ.

Was there something I did wrong? It has never been dropped or anything drastic, I haven't even taken it out of the house in about a month. Of course, I didn't have Applecare *slap* I'm not complaining, I'm just disappointed or confused or angry, I'm not sure what. I had a lot of stuff on there, that's kind of gone now. Nothing vital, just some sentimental stuff. Being a somewhat very broke student has left me with very few options except to sit and admire my non functioning Powerbook. At least it still looks pretty :( Fortunately I can still use a very old running Athlon running Windows 2k with more spyware on it than the Chinese population, and two fans that makes as much noise as a Cape Canaveral shuttle launch.

*edit* Here's a picture of the aftermath. I'm going to try to remove the 3rd party ram and see if that helps, thanks Mad Jew.

mad jew
Dec 2, 2005, 05:31 AM
If it's a completely failed hard drive, that sucks and I hope you're all backed up. However, there could be two additional or alternative worries.

The beeping usually implies it's not a hard drive issue but either a RAM issue or a logic board issue. Hopefully it's the former. Do the usual: take out any third party RAM and start up again. The beep generally means that the RAM isn't being recognised from memory (excuse the dreadful pun :p ). Bad RAM can break the system files on the hard drive too so you may still have to boot from the OS CDs to get anywhere (and reinstall) but hopefully not.

You'll notice I've avoided mentioning the logic board option. If it's a bad logic board then your best option is to get as much data from the drive as possible using Target Disk Mode (http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=58583) with another Mac if possible at all (unlikely). Replacing the logic board probably isn't worthwhile considering it's not under warranty so a new computer may be in order. :o

As you can see, hopefully it's just bad RAM if anything at all. Of course there are other things it could be but I think these are the two most likely.

Dec 2, 2005, 08:12 AM
If it IS the HDD, try keeping it in a cool place (no, not the fridge, that's too moist unless you keep it in a CLOSED plastic bag or something). This way it is sometimes possible to get the drive working again, just untli it gets warm again, but that might be long enough. Try copying your data ASAP, starting with the most critical data first of course. It's worth a shot. It has worked for me in the past on several occasions.

Dec 2, 2005, 09:27 AM
I'll second what BlackDan suggested and try powering it on after leaving it off for a day or so. You may still be stuck, in which case you've tried...

When mine (identical model) started having similar symptoms, the drive would sometimes spin up and be normal for a few minutes after being completely off for a few hours, just enough to save some data. Unfortunately, it sounds like yours is a bit past that stage.

Dec 2, 2005, 02:25 PM
thanks Blackdan, unfortunately I just tried that as well. My friend told me the same thing as well, I left it in the closet, I mean it's not COLD but then again I don't run the heater in my apartment and it was pretty cold last night so it was definitly cooler. Started it up this morning with the 3rd party ram taken out as well. Exact same results. I think it's pretty confirmed my drive is gone. Guess I'll wait until I have enough cash to replace it. Thanks for the replies!

mad jew
Dec 2, 2005, 03:57 PM
Yeah I misread your first post as I was posting and thought you couldn't start up from the CDs at all but then tried to redeem my post with a quick edit once I realised you could. I know it's the hard drive but I'm trying to see if there's something else wrong with your Mac too because you don't want this happening again. The beeping part is my biggest worry. The drive is gone and it sounds like it's pretty much irretrievable however it is possible (albeit rare) for bad RAM to break a hard drive (even rarer to deem it unusable). Once you get a new drive, tell us if it keeps beeping. :)