View Full Version : Macintosh PowerBook G4 gee-whiz users, come in... Question?
Jul 16, 2006, 02:59 AM
I'm having a problem with my laptop of Macintosh PowerBook G4 due to a possible dead hard drive, as shown in the picture (load-up start screen, it stays there for more than 3 minutes, it's been a hour now) at the very bottom after the specifications given of my laptop right below:
(Please post if you do know of a way how to make this work manually by myself?)
PowerBook G4 15-inch
1.25 GHz PowerPC G4 processor; 512K level 2 cache
512MB of PC270 (333MHz) DDR SDRAM; supports up to 2GB
80GB hard drive
15.2-inch (diagonal) TFT widescreen display; 1280 by 854 pixels
ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 with 64MB of DDR SDRAM
Slot-loading SuperDrive (DVD-R/CD-RW)
PC Card/CardBus slot, FireWire 800 port, FireWire 400 port, two USB 2.0 ports, audio line in, headphone out
DVI and S-video output ports; DVI to VGA adapter included
Lithium-ion battery for up to 4.5 hours of running time
Built-in 10/100/1000BASE-T Ethernet and 56K V.92 modem
Built-in AirPort Extreme Card for wireless networking (802.11g)
Built-in Bluetooth 1.1
Backlit illuminated keyboard and ambient light sensor
Preinstalled Mac OS X and other bundled software
Size and weight: 13.7 by 9.5 by 1.1 inches; 5.6 pounds
Meets ENERGYSTAR requirements
Jul 16, 2006, 03:14 AM
Just to confirm the obvious, have you tried forcing it to turn off (by holding down the power button for five seconds), then turning it back on again? On rare ocassions I've seen Macs get stuck at that spinner for no apparent reason, and it can't hurt to give it one more shot.
Past that, get either the DVD that came with the computer or your newest OS install disc, and boot up from that (hold down the C key, I believe, when you first turn it on with the disc inserted). Once booted from the disc, select "Disk Utility" from the menus, and do a check on your drive. If there are errors, let it fix them, and keep running it until no more errors show up (if it keeps coming up with errors after three or four runs, you can give up, though). Also have a look at the part that says "SMART" down at the bottom--it should say "Verified". If it says anything else, your drive is dying.
Presuming that's not the case, try starting up after the repairs. If you're lucky, it'll work. If not, you should probably try doing an "archive and install" of the OS. That will, unless the drive really is dying (signs would be making odd noises, running very slowly, or errors that Disk Utility can't fix), get you back up and running without (in theory) losing any data.
Of course, the FIRST thing you should do in any case is back up anything you don't have backed up yet--mounting the computer using Firewire Target Disk Mode connected to another Mac is the easiest way to get at the files.
Jul 16, 2006, 09:46 AM
if it can't get past that screen then it would indicate a serious hard drive problem.
As said above, try the install discs and see if you can boot from that. Also see if you can get into the drive from another computer using firewire target disc mode (hold down "T" on startup) so you can backup.
Has anything specific happened to your PowerBook that might have caused the drive to fail, like a bump or knock or anything?
Jul 16, 2006, 11:08 AM
On rare ocassions I've seen Macs get stuck at that spinner for no apparent reason, and it can't hurt to give it one more shot.
Doesn't that just happen on journaled drives (most mac drives) and it's reverting to a known good state? It's innapparent because journaled drives can have problems solved and fixed without the user intervening?
Jul 16, 2006, 02:10 PM
Doesn't that just happen on journaled drives (most mac drives) and it's reverting to a known good state? It's innapparent because journaled drives can have problems solved and fixed without the user intervening?No, if it's using the journal to revert to a known good state it will eventually continue startup; I'm talking about a situation where the computer really is stuck there not doing anything at all (like the original poster's situation--they said it'd been an hour).
And for what it's worth, getting stuck there doesn't *necessarily* mean a massive drive problem, it could just be an OS issue that is stalling the boot process--it's at least seeing the drive and getting to the point that it's trying to boot. Flashing questionmark folder, that would likely be a drive issue.
I forgot to offer one other suggestion: If you hold down the apple and v keys (or apple and s keys) when you press the power button, you should see some text on the screen. If it's getting stuck, that text will tell you where.
Jul 16, 2006, 03:53 PM
I tried to do all the stuff you guys have recommended me to do, but none of that does work, so I may be bringing my laptop to Apple Store in SoHo (New York) and see what's up. How much would it be in the price range for them to fix the hard drive problem? It is obvious that my laptop does have a serious hard drive problem.
If it is too expensive to fix the problem, do you know of any sites that would purchase the broken laptops? I just don't feel like paying too much for something to be fixed into a broken laptop when it is possibly close to how much I can get for a new laptop.
Jul 16, 2006, 04:07 PM
So... when you hold down Apple and V when you turn it on, what do you see? There should be SOME text on the screen, and where it stops gives you a hint. Or is it making nasty noises, which would pretty much guarantee a drive failure.
Anyway, if you didn't get AppleCare and your PB is out of warranty, replacement hard drives (from a cheap but reliable place like ZipZoomFly) cost a little under $100 for a drive of the same size as you had, or you can spend another $50 or so to get a larger and/or faster one.
The expense is getting it installed. If you have Apple do it, it'll probably be rather pricey, though I'm sure they can quote you a price easily enough. Alternately, if you can find a Mac shop (or a handy friend) who'll do it for you without overcharging you for parts, you should be able to get the installation done for somewhere between $50 and $100. Total cost $150 if you're lucky, $200 otherwise.
Me, I'd do it myself, but that only works if you're comfortable ripping a computer apart. And I'm sure it has plenty of reasale value if all that's really wrong is the disk is toast, since there are plenty of people who'd be happy to buy it and install a disk of their choice themselves. You're going to lose value, however, unless you can guarantee that the disk is the only problem.
Jul 16, 2006, 04:29 PM
I had AppleCare from January 31, 2004 when I first purchased my Macintosh PowerBook G4, but unfortunately it was only one year up to January 31, 2005. Oh well.
Jul 17, 2006, 01:02 AM
I went to the Apple Store tonight in 5th Ave where it's open 24/365, so it charged me $344.42 for the repair to get a new hard drive of 80GB and 4200RPM.
Thanks for y'all comments.
Mods - you can lock/delete this thread if you want.
Jul 17, 2006, 03:21 AM
I have a similar problem. The only way I can run my PowerBook is from an external drive. I am sending it to PowerBookResq to replace the internal drive with a larger, faster one. They charge about $100 more than the price of the drive itself to ship it both ways and do the replacement, including transferring data from the old drive assuming it is reasonable.