G5 hard drive/start up issues

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by jelloshotsrule, Apr 15, 2005.

  1. jelloshotsrule macrumors G3

    jelloshotsrule

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2002
    Location:
    serendipity
    #1
    rev A dual 2 ghz. running os 10.3.8 (if it were to actually start up..). 1.5 gb ram (512 from apple, 1 gb from... newegg or owc or someone i've used before).


    somewhere between 6-12 months ago, i purchased a western digital 250gb sata drive (from owc i'm almost positive) to use for projects/backup inside my g5. i forget the exact circumstances, but initially my thought was to use the drive as my main system drive (it has 8 mb cache, so i figured it'd be better than the original drive in the g5). i installed on it and immediately had enough problems that i decided, no thanks, and used it as my secondary drive... i wrote it off as a one time issue with the drive.

    there have been random issues off and on since then (i don't recall specifics) but nothing that i wrote off as a really bum drive.

    3 days ago my second drive diappeared randomly from my desktop. after a restart it still wasn't there, so i used diskwarrior on it and it resolved some issues and i was able to salvage most of it (i only specifically know of maybe 10 files on it that were missing). i figured that was the end of that (for now). not so. yesterday my system was acting a bit funny (off my other drive). so i thought, well maybe i'll go ahead and run diskwarrior on that drive too. so i did, and it rebuilt the directory.. upon trying to startup from the drive, it hung. restarted. hung again. refused to start up no matter what i did (unplug all external devices, reset pram, etc - though now that i think of it, i never tried an fsck -y....).

    so, my first thought was to do what i could to backup my important data off that drive (email, photos, etc). i tried to install panther on my secondary drive, but it failed to install a few times. at some point, it installed the first disc fine, but then when it restarted to install from the second disc, that drive hung too! try as i might, i couldn't get that drive to start up either. so, i booted from the os disc, and tried to reformat the second drive however it refused to unmount. it failed to erase from disk utility even after multiple restarts from the os disc. eventually, i decided to install on an external drive. it worked. so my first priority was backing up drive 1 onto drive 2. so i could then attempt to reinstall system on drive 1. the drive was probably 75% through cloning when i went to bed. i woke my computer up this morning, and it kernel panicked. believe it or not, this isn't a surprise to me (sadly) because i've almost always had KPs when awaking from a sleep where the hdd spins down. with the fresh system, i hadn't changed the energy settings. anyways, i restarted and guess what... it hung! i tried again, holding option to make sure i was booting from the firewire drive i had installed on... and it hung again! tried a 3rd time with no luck.


    so. that's where i'm at now. i sit here at work wanting only to fix my computer, but alas i have to wait. any ideas? my current plan on what to try next is:

    1. take out the second internal drive and start up - if that doesn't work...
    2. take out the primary drive and try. if that doesn't...
    3. take out the extra ram....


    i had thought that in general ram didn't fail randomly (ie, if it was bad it'd be bad from the start) but my geeky brother has since told me that it is indeed possible... he also suggested it could be the hard drive controller, or maybe the bus...

    obviously i want to avoid paying for service (no apple care anymore- can't buy it after 1 year has passed right?) and i've contacted owc about possibly exchanging the drive since, even though there might be other hardware issues involved, the drive still seems bad. my brother seems pretty sure we can pare down the problem, but does anyone have any ideas of what to try? always helps to have extra input.

    thanks for reading this novel and for any ideas you might have.
     
  2. simie macrumors 6502a

    simie

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2004
    Location:
    Sitting
    #2
    I would first use the Hardware Test Disk

    Depending on the results -

    I would take any extra ram and just leave in Apple's. disconect the second drive. Go in to Open firmware and reset PRAM.

    Press and hold the Command-Option-P-R keys

    To access Open Firmware press and hold Command-Option -O-F

    At the Open Firmware prompt, type: reset-nvram

    Press Return.

    At the Open Firmware prompt, type: reset-all

    Press Return.

    The other thing to try is to boot from the OS X install disk and then open up the disk utility and erase the hard drive partition and then create a new one.

    Now install OSX and hopefully you will get to the desktop
     
  3. jelloshotsrule thread starter macrumors G3

    jelloshotsrule

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2002
    Location:
    serendipity
    #3
    yeah, hardware test disk would be smart. not sure why i haven't tried that yet. i guess just cause it has never found problems when i expected it to in the past. hah.

    never heard of doing the open firmware thing... what exactly does that do? any possible negative implications (like the way resetting the pram can reset the clock and some prefs, etc)? i did the pram already, and have tried with fresh os installs with no luck. one problem with the second drive is that it took a lot of work to even initialize it, which makes me think it's screwy. that said, i don't know why that would affect booting from other drives.... but taking it out will definitely be one test. and owc told me to send them the serial number, and i'm a loyal customer of theirs so i hope they will be kind to me if i need to exchange it! thanks for the tips!
     
  4. simie macrumors 6502a

    simie

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2004
    Location:
    Sitting
    #4
    If the second internal drive as failed, this may be whats screwing up your main drive. It may be that the electronics on the drive are failing and are having repercussions on the whole of the bus. This would explain the freezing.

    I wonder if the drive you have is part of a faulty batch. This tends to happen from time to time.

    I would not have thought that you have anything wrong with I/O controller on your motherboard, as you are able to boot using the OSX disk without any problems.

    Which ever way you reset the Pram, it may reset both time and date.
    Some people have problems in actually resetting through the keyboard shortcuts, they can never get their timing right.

    The open firmware is just another way of doing it.
     

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