Hard Drive, Spotlight, and Finder problems

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Spaceman Spiff, Aug 6, 2006.

  1. Spaceman Spiff macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2003
    #1
    So my little digital space has become a ridden with problems lately, and I'm in a frenzied panic.

    It started when I, while searching for the power plug for one of my Lacie hard drives, accidentally unplugged the other hard drive's (which happened to contain all my archives, backups, movies, and games) power. I plugged it back it, not too concerned, and kept going. A little while later, I noticed that it hadn't mounted. I unplugged the firewire cable and plugged it back it, and the computer gave me a message saying it couldn't read the disk and gave me to option to eject, ignore, or initialize.

    I went to disk utility, which told me the Volume Header needed repair. I tried to repair it, and it changed it's story to "Invalid Volume Header. Volume Check failed." and left it at that. I tried Disk Utility, which said the disk was too far gone for it to do anything, and also that another disk repair program may have damaged the directory. Thanks, Disk Utility.

    It's a rather important hard drive. Any ideas on what to do with it?

    Also, during the "little while" that I didn't realize the hard drive had mounted, I was trying to work with footage from my other drive and was annoyed to see that it was going terribly slowly. I ventured into Activity Monitor, and found Spotlight's little mds thingamajig taking 70% of my processor, evidently going at the second hard drive that I was working off of. Annoyed, I tried to find a way to turn it off, and found some instructions for disabling through the terminal. However, this seemed to have no effect. Exasperated and really wanting to get working on the footage, I tried the kill process command in Activity Monitor. All seemed to be working.

    However, I have three problems now. Spotlight works half the time, and when it does it spends quite a wheel in a colourful-spinning-pinwheel state. And whenever I use the column mode to find a file, in finder or any other program, I click on the file and it crashes the program as soon as the column for the information on the file (ie. a bigger icon, file size, date modified, etc.) appears (the column appears, but it is completely blank). And going to get info on any file also crashes Finder.

    Any suggestions on how to get this computer back up and running?

    Thank you in advance for any thoughts provided.
     
  2. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #2
    Okay, so is the computer not working even when the external drive is unplugged? As a start, I'd run Disk Utility (or fsck) on the start up drive, then maybe remove the Finder preference file (com.apple.finder.plist) and restart. Then, I'd rebuild the Spotlight index in System Preferences by dragging the start up drive into the Privacy tab, closing System Preferences, and then opening it again to remove the drive from the Privacy tab. It'll take a little while to rebuild, remember.

    Once we've got your OS working properly, we can work on hopefully getting the data from your external drive back. :)
     
  3. Spaceman Spiff thread starter macrumors regular

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    #3
    Alright, I booted up from the OS X install CD and verified the disk before repair - and it gave me the same error message as the other hard drive had, before I attempted to repair it. Note that now the other hard drive can't even be verified without the volume header problems coming up, and that it could not be repaired successfully. I'm not wanting to send my internal hard drive into the same state of disrepair as my external, so I'm not wanting to press that repair button. Should I attempt to repair it anyways? Should I try Disk Warrior instead?
     
  4. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    #4
    If you have a copy of Disk Warrior then try using that, but otherwise I'd go for the Disk Utility repair. It should be okay, but naturally back as much up as you can before attempting this. :)

    I wonder how they both got the same problem? Any ideas?
     
  5. Spaceman Spiff thread starter macrumors regular

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    #5
    Figures that my back up hard drive is the one completely dead at the moment :rolleyes:

    Well, I have a copy of Disk Warrior ready, so I may have a go with that... And hope for the best.
     
  6. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    #6
    Yeah, good luck with that. If you really want to play it safe then shut the machine down and let the internals cool off (give it a few hours) before trying any repair work. It might help. :)
     
  7. Spaceman Spiff thread starter macrumors regular

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    #7
    Interestingly enough, without even thinking of it I used Safari and the column interface to upload an avatar to a forum. Then I realized, I just used the column interface - and it worked. And I just tried Spotlight, which is now working fine. Get Info is also working smoothly.

    I'm a tad confused, as I haven't done anything yet. I'm not displeased... But I may boot back into Disk Utility to see if the internal is still reporting problems.
     
  8. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    #8
    Definitely repair the disk (assuming it returns errors) because you don't want it to suddenly collapse in a heap tomorrow. I'm glad things're looking up though. :)
     
  9. Spaceman Spiff thread starter macrumors regular

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    #9
    Alright, I repaired the disk. Disk Utility couldn't handle it, but Disk Warrior performed beautifully and the disk all verifies as fine now. My problems lie solely with my external hard drive now, which Disk Warrior has no answer for.
     
  10. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    #10
    Nice one. :)

    Is the data on the external drive expendable? Is reformatting the drive an option?
     
  11. Spaceman Spiff thread starter macrumors regular

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    #11
    The data on the external is extraordinarily important, so I either need to somehow repair the hard drive and leave the data intact or get the data off the hard drive and then reformat it.
     
  12. Spaceman Spiff thread starter macrumors regular

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    #12
    Alright, now I'm scared a little silly. I ran Data Rescue on the external hard drive... and it didn't find anything. I did a quick scan, then a thorough scan... and it didn't find a thing. If I've lost those files, I am going to go completely mad.

    Any help ideas? I was absolutely convinced that Data Rescue would work...
     
  13. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    #13
    Okay, I think you have a few options but none of them are terribly promising.


    • Firstly, try the external drive on a different machine.
    • Secondly, try the drive in a different external case.
    • Thirdly, try putting the drive in an internal bay inside another machine.


    In theory, none of these options should work because the problem seems to lie with the drive (hopefully I'm wrong), but in practice, different mounting devices have different luck with these sorts of things. If it's convenient, give them a go. Your fourth option would be to take it to a professional data recovery firm but this is pricey. :eek:
     
  14. Spaceman Spiff thread starter macrumors regular

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    #14
    Well, I put the drive in an older iMac G3. It still gave a message saying the disk could not be read giving the options to eject, ignore, or initialize, but oddly enough, it verified completely fine in Disk Utility.

    I don't have another casing for it, nor do I have a machine that I can install it in. My new Mac Pro could do it if it wasn't still waiting to ship. So I'm stuck at the moment, I suppose.
     
  15. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    #15
    I'm out of ideas, sorry. :eek:

    If it fits in your iMac G3, it won't fit in your Mac Pro, sorry. They have different connections.
     
  16. Spaceman Spiff thread starter macrumors regular

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    #16
    I didn't put the drive in the actual iMac, I just plugged it in via firewire. It's still in its external casing.
     
  17. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    #17
    Ahh, okay. Could you borrow a case from a friend for half an hour or so, just to test if it'll work? Also, could you transfer the data from it to the iMac?
     
  18. Spaceman Spiff thread starter macrumors regular

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    #18
    I doubt I'll be able to find a friend with a case I can borrow, but I can try. And no, I'm still completely in the dark as to whether my data is even still on the hard drive. If I could get at the data, I'd just transfer it out to my other external, reformat it, and transfer data back. But my worry right now is solely trying to get the disk to mount to get my data back.
     
  19. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    #19
    Wait, back up one step. You verified the disk with the iMac and it said everything was fine, but it wouldn't mount?
     
  20. Spaceman Spiff thread starter macrumors regular

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    #20
    That's correct. Upon plugging in the disk, it said the disk could not be read by the computer and gave me the options to initialize, ignore, or eject. It couldn't mount it. I clicked initialize, which just brings me to disk utility and nothing more. In disk utility, I selected the drive and verified it. It came out fine. However, it still can't be mounted.
     

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