View Full Version : Super-messed up Powerbook G4 can't find HD on startup
Feb 10, 2008, 11:07 PM
to make a long story short, my first gen 17" G4 PB had its trackpad/power button cable severed a year ago, forcing me to remove the battery and memory door each time I need to start up. It's been kernel panicking a lot in the last few months, but always restarts fine. Tonight, on startup, it could not find the HD, and the logo shifted from happy mac to question mark and back. Is my HD toast? I know the comp is totally doomed and will be getting a new MBP when they come out (if they come out...), but I had wanted to keep the Powerbook in order to do a firewire transfer of files to the new MBP I get. Can this be fixed? Can the HD be mounted in an enclosure?
Feb 10, 2008, 11:24 PM
I would remove the hard drive, put it in a 2.5" USB/firewire enclosure and access it that way. No sense in letting a potentially flakey machine corrupt files on the drive (although that may have already happened, especially with weird cabling issues).
Feb 10, 2008, 11:25 PM
Can I then access the HD from a windows pc via USB? That's all I have in the house (parents' computer)
Feb 10, 2008, 11:31 PM
You'll need software installed on the Windows PC to read the Mac (HFS+) formatted disk. Download MacDrive on the Windows box, and you should be able to get by on the trial period and uninstall when finished transferring.
Feb 11, 2008, 06:31 PM
OK, I've got the HD in an enclosure, using the trial of MacDrive, and it recognizes the drive and lets me browse it, but Users and Library show up empty, among other things. Applications are still there. It does read the capacity of my drive correctly, telling me everything's still there. So is my drive toast?
Feb 11, 2008, 06:53 PM
Hmmm, could be a permissions issue that's preventing those folders from being read, but I would have thought Macdrive would take care of all that. I haven't used Macdrive in a while though, and google searches aren't turning up much.
Are you near an Apple store by any chance? I bet they would let you connect the drive to one of their machines, and you could at least see if the folders show up there. If so, you could bring another external drive to transfer too, or a blank DVD if it would hold everything.
It is possible that the files themselves are all there but the file allocation table (the "index" so to speak) is corrupted. It would be possible to recover all the files with certain utilities, but off hand I don't know what utilities.
I think the first step is to get a 2nd opinion by plugging the drive into another Mac and see what shows up. I've been in similar sticky situations so I feel your pain!
Feb 11, 2008, 07:12 PM
After restarting windows, I got my stuff to load up, sort of. I dragged a song from my itunes folder onto windows, no trouble. Tried playing a movie, said there was an I/O failure. I don't know what's going on...
Feb 11, 2008, 07:21 PM
Well, it sounds like the drive is going bad. Just keep trying to copy your stuff off until you have everything. You may need to powercycle the drive (unplug and plug back in the USB cable) many times, try it upside down, or in a different orientation to help it read the data if it is in fact a physical failure.
And again you might have better luck doing this on another mac, just to eliminate the Macdrive variable, but hopefully you can pull everything off there.
EDIT: Oh, and now is a good time to figure out your future backup strategy. :)
Feb 11, 2008, 09:31 PM
OK, took it to the Apple Store and forgot to ask the "Genius" something rather important (I'll get to that later)
Plugged into a Mac, all the files/folders are readable, it just craps out after a while, meaning several restarts will be necessary, I suppose. What my friend, who's rather a wiz on the PC end of things, suggested, was to run DiskWarrior or Disk Utility on it to see if it can sort the file structure. I forgot to ask the guy at the store to do that, and obviously, I can't do it from a PC. Think that'll help much?
Feb 11, 2008, 10:40 PM
Well, when it comes to a dying disk, I wouldn't waste any more time trying to 'repair' the disk - doing this could cause more damage and be the last straw that really kills it. Just get everything off the disk you can as quickly as possible and be happy you were able to salvage the information! :D