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Old May 13, 2005, 09:27 AM   #1
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please HELP! What do I do when my powerbook dies?

First things first: We're talking about a 1.5ghz 15" powerbook, with the 80gig 5400 hard drive and the video ram upgrade. Plus, it's got 2 gigs of RAM.

So. In short, yesterday itunes went on the fritz, so I ran TechTool Deluxe. After a very long (and somewhat noisy) surface scan, it reported: "Failure: - 4" and suggested backing up and formatting the drive. I figured that meant 4 bad blocks. I ran repair permissions and saw SMART status failed - another bummer. So I started backing up to DVD, and got all my documents and pictures backed up. When moving files to the next backup DVD, the powerbook froze giving my popup notice that said I must manually restart the computer via the power button. (It was in many languages and very intimidating - with a darkened screen and everything - I wouldn've taken a screen shot, but it was frozen and all...)

So I shut her down with the powerbutton and attempted a restart. After the spinning apple logo, I got the same error message and a frozen computer.
So I restart again and don't get even that far. After the apple screen it goes blue, the mouse pointer shows up and it's frozen, no error message, just frozen. That's where I am right now. I'm guessing that's how a hard drive dies. Fair enough. Now what the heck do I do?!?!

I have applecare, so obviously the machine will go back to apple, and I'm guessing I'll get a new hard drive, but what can I do RIGHT NOW? I've a bunch of questions...

1) I have my girlfriend's iBook, so is there any way I can try to hook that up to my powerbook and retrieve any more lost data? Something about target mode perhaps... I honestly don't know.

2) When I do send it in for repair, is it cool to leave the additional RAM in there? boy I'd hate to sent it in with 2 gigs of RAM and have it return with 512...

3) Is there any worth to trying to boot the dead powerbook from the apple restore DVDs, and/or try to format the drive if I can get that far?

4) I've searched these posts and read that it's a good idea to keep the old (dead) hard drive after a new one goes in, and then to put it in an external enclosure and try to recover data from it. (and if that doesn't work it can be sent to magic data-recovery people who will try to salvage the data...) So is there any way I can get apple to return the drive to me after they fix it? OR Will they try to salvage data from it for me? Although I was able to back up my documents and pictures, all my music is gone, and ALL of my discs aside from the two Apple Restore DVDs (so that's all my music CDs and my application CDs) are states-side... Somehow I fear that Apple isn't cool enough to give me back the dead drive...

5) Should I just grab a beer and consider everything on the powerbook gone forever? Is there anything I can or should do before handing the machine back to Apple?

Many many thanks for reading about my woes, any help will be hugely appreciated! As you can imagine I'm a bit bummed. And needless to say, that by the time I get the powerbook back I'll have a big fat external drive that I'll be religious about backing up to!

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Old May 13, 2005, 09:35 AM   #2
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You might try connecting your Powerbook and the available iBook together via Firewire. Have the iBook on and booted up and while booting up the Powerbook hold down the "T" key. If you can get far enough, the Powerbook hard drive should mount on the iBook and you can access the files that way.
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Old May 13, 2005, 09:42 AM   #3
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I assume the 2GB of RAM was not purchased from Apple? I have heard that they can be quite pissy about non-Apple memory, and may even claim that it voids the warranty. You might want to remove it and put the original Apple memory back in, if you still have it.
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Old May 15, 2005, 06:58 AM   #4
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Okay, so I was successful in getting it fired up into target mode, after some fiascos... (I was running LapCop with Enable Firmware Lock and thus couldn't fire up to target mode or with a disc, but luckily was able to get the machine turned on briefly to turn off the firmware lock.)

Now, I can boot it into Target Mode on my girlfriend's iBook, so I've backed up all my files - docs, movies, pictures, music, etc. But how do I go about backing up my other stuff? Like my Mail settings and e-mails, my address book, my safari preferences, etc?

I have been blindly copying preference files and files from my library folders, but am really unsure how to properly backup this stuff and get it going again on the new hard drive next week...

Many thanks. I must say that I am incredibly impressed with how gracefully my Mac handled such a serious mechanical failure... It warned me beforehand, suggested I start backing up, and now continues to allow me to use target mode to run a salvage operation. What more could I ask for from an OS?
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