iBook G4 making clicking noises and freezes. Dying HD, right?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Mitthrawnuruodo, May 18, 2006.

  1. Mitthrawnuruodo Moderator emeritus

    Mitthrawnuruodo

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2004
    Location:
    Bergen, Norway
    #1
    My iBook G4@800 has always made the occasional clicking noise. I assume it's the HD that has been making the noises, as I don't see what else in there that can make those distinct "clicks". I never liked it, but as long as it's just the odd one I just ignored it.

    Yesterday something happened, and the poor machine started clicking rapidly, with (short to medium) system freezes as a result. I restarted, ran Disk Utility to verify disk - got one error, but when running, in quick succession, fsck in single user mode, Disk Utility's repair disk when booted from the Tiger DVD and again Disk Utility's verify disk, I just got a thumbs up/green light/all OK ( :confused: ). Now the machine is barely workable, it clicks at irregular but frequent intervals with system freezes with or without beach-balling all the time.

    The SMART status has remained verified during the whole time. :confused:

    Is there anything else that could cause these clicks apart from a failing HD? I can probably afford a nice 120-160 GB Seagate Momentus and install it myself (with a little help from my friends, as a certain band would have put it), but I want to be fairly sure it's the HD, because if not, buying that is just a waste of ~NOK 2000, that I might be able to dig up, that could have been put towards a MacBook at NOK 12-15000, that I don't have without some serious goodwill from employer and/or family... :eek: ;)

    I have complete backup made by LaCie SilverKeeper, but ironically to a USB2 disk which I cannot boot from with my current iBook (the disk was MUCH cheaper than a similar Firewire/Combo and beggars can't be choosers and I needed the extra space). My old Pismo (which lies in pieces downstairs) or an new MacBook would have been able to boot from that...

    PS! This post took almost a full hour to write because of frequent freezes... :mad: ...and I'm not 100% sure I'll be able to read any responses until I get my hands on another machine, which might take a few hours... <crossing fingers that the poor old iBook will hang in there for a while longer>
     
  2. gekko513 macrumors 603

    gekko513

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    #2
    It is extremely likely that it is the HD. The system freezes, which in all likelyhood means that it hangs on I/O requests, rather than kernel panics points to a hard drive problem, and when you add the noises it's almost certain.

    Fsck doesn't do anything unless there are file system corruption and disk repair only reacts on bad sectors, doesn't it? In your case it seems like the mechanics of the drive is failing and that doesn't have to show up in any of the previous tests. I don't know exactly what the SMART status measures, but I'm sure it isn't able to detect all drive problems.

    I'd say it's the disk, but don't shoot me if it isn't. :)
     
  3. Gokhan macrumors 6502a

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  4. AlBDamned macrumors 68030

    AlBDamned

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    Mar 14, 2005
    #4
    Definitely sounds like the HDD.

    I've been messing around with an old 10GB Maxtor Fireball drive in a Power Mac recently and it's definitely on the way out, but shows OK when I boot from a Tiger DVD and repair it, shows ok when you repair in normal disk utility.

    However, the actual drive makes really loud clicking sounds like a CD player does when it'son the way out (mechanical I assume), and even screeches very loudly. It's 6 years old so sort of expected.

    It's good news that you've got a back-up though ;).

    You should also be able to find a replacement drive for not too much money. A seagate 120 is the most expensive!
     
  5. Mitthrawnuruodo thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Mitthrawnuruodo

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Bergen, Norway
    #5
    Thanks guys.

    Got an old 40 GB disk lying around. Going to change to that later (which is cheaper than the two other options). Managed to consolidate my iTunes Library over on an external, where it will "live" for now (less of a hassle than to get it back from backup when I'm reducing the HD size ;)).

    Ironically, just now the drive seem to behave... :rolleyes:
     
  6. dpaanlka macrumors 601

    dpaanlka

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2004
    Location:
    Illinois
    #6
    Sorry to hear that. One time I had a hard drive fail in my Blue & White G3, but it didn't make the normal hard drive failing clicking noise... rather it made a high pitched squeal that was of such crisp and clear quality you would guess it was coming out of some sort of speaker built into the hard drive. It was very.... interesting.

    I had a 40gb hard drive fail in my Wallstreet once. That was also unique. Without warning I heard a loud "POP" and then the hard drive never spooled up again and all data was lost forever. Consider yourself lucky to have warning and time to retrieve files.
     
  7. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #7
    Okay, so you really have to drag com.apple.harddrive.plist to the Desktop. Come on, you know you want to. :p

    Good luck with the hard drive change.
     
  8. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2003
    Location:
    UK
    #8
    sell it to me and buy a macbook.

    and by the way:

    4000th post w00t
     
  9. zach macrumors 65816

    zach

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2003
    Location:
    Medford
    #9
    props, hector.

    OP: Try zeroing the drive. it will take a painfully long time, but it's brought many a drive back to life for me, even one exhibiting those symptoms.
     
  10. Mitthrawnuruodo thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Mitthrawnuruodo

    Joined:
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    #10
    Thought about that, and might do a fresh install of Tiger after a thorough low level formatting, and see if that does the trick... or at least prolongs the life a bit...

    I've found the old 40 GB drive and since that is in a Firewire enclosure I can make myself a bootable backup system... :)

    But, the iBook's drive is actually behaving quite nicely at the moment... I'm guessing the hours I was out searching for a Torx T8 bit actually which allowed it to cool down a bit really helped... or it heard all my cursing earlier today and was scared back in submission... :D

    I thought I just could repair permissions, but for some reason that didn't help... :( ;)

    Thanks... I hope it's less of a hassle than the service manual makes it look like... : eek : ...but on the other hand: If I screw up the iBook when I try to change it, that will become a very good excuse to get a MacBook, won't it... :p
     
  11. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #11
    Ahh well, maybe next time. :D

    It's not as hard as it looks. I've always used the iFixit guides which are great, but the service manual could be better. Just remember to use a thick piece of tape to keep all the screws together, although you probably already knew that.
     
  12. janey macrumors 603

    janey

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    Dec 20, 2002
    Location:
    sunny los angeles
    #12
    :( :S I've always been a fan of the service manuals, but the site i get them from took down all the recent ones in light of the somethingawful event.

    grats hector :p 4000th post indeed.
     
  13. imacintel macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2006
    #13

    You sure? My iMac makes this sound, and so do lots of other machines.

    I am not sure if that is this tic....ttttttttttttttic tic. OR an actual click sound.
     
  14. janey macrumors 603

    janey

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    sunny los angeles
    #14
    hard drives make noise, but actual clicking/grinding is mechanical failure. however, the smart status should be able to tell you if it's a mechanical failure.
     
  15. Mitthrawnuruodo thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Mitthrawnuruodo

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    #15
    I just downloaded the iFixit guide. Looks like a nice shortened version of the service manual, and a nice supplement. As long as they don't contradict each other, the more guides the better, right... :)

    I was going to put all the screws in a colour coded ice cube tray, but might just end up using those last pages of that iFixit guide... maybe with some double-sided tape...? ;)

    It's definitively not just small natural clicks... the HD even made some screeching noises, like AlBDamned mentioned earlier, and I needed to do a hard reboot earlier today... :eek:

    But the SMART status is still verified... :confused:
     
  16. disconap macrumors 68000

    disconap

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2005
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #16
    Apple's DU SMART detector only tells you if it is failing, failed, or working. There are two possibilities for it not working properly: 1) that your drive doesn't have SMART (unlikely if it's a stock HD made after the early G4 days, as your's is); or 2) that it's a problem that is undetectable by SMART. If you really want to check it out thoroughly, download DriveSMART or a similar program that will give you an actual SMART report, not just a verification.

    And btw, for the people who don't know what SMART is, it is an early warning system for disc failure. It is not repairable and it is not a utility, it just reads the SMART detector on the drive, so that you have advanced warning if your drive is about to die...
     
  17. janey macrumors 603

    janey

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    #17
    iirc how much information a smart status given by a hard drive depends on the manufacturer. SMART status covers dozens of variables that tell the mechanical status of the drive, including several variables directly correlated with mechanical failures (temperature, etc.), so you might have time to pull off the data before irreparable physical damage, etc., causing a "failed" smart status.
     
  18. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #18
    What you really need to do is drag com.apple.annoyingkernelpanics.plist to the trashcan. But make sure Windows and Bootcamp aren't installed, or the system will automatically generate com.apple.bluescreenofdeath.plist ... and that's no better, really.

    I guess that SMART can only detect certain sorts of...erm...idiopathic hard drive failures? And other kinds are completely undetectable that way. Sort of how cars can run dry of oil without ever tripping the oil sensor, and the engine seizes up, and you'd never know it? :(

    So far, I think I've actually never had a hard drive die. *crosses fingers*

    But hmmm, Mad Jew got an iMac to complement his iBook, and, hmmm, if Mitthrawnuruodo replaces his G4/800 with a MacBook, I just might have to also. :D

    Although I am never, mark you, never ever getting a computer in tangerine orange. Now hot pink with contrast pink keyboard...mmm...that I might go for.

    And by the way...So *this* is the thread that has people bent out of shape over invistexting....
     
  19. ReanimationLP macrumors 68030

    ReanimationLP

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    Jan 8, 2005
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    On the moon.
    #19
    Get your data off fast. x.x'

    That clicking means the HD is about to say "F*** you pal, I'm outta here, and I'm taking your data with me."

    DONT keep stressing the drive by continuing to use it, because it will continue to deteriorate to nothingness, then you're screwed. Install Tiger on a Firewire drive and boot off of that, and salvage what you can off of the hard disk, before it completely just gives up and dies.
     
  20. Mitthrawnuruodo thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Mitthrawnuruodo

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    Location:
    Bergen, Norway
    #20
    Nah... not really had any kernel panics over it (only ad one kernel panic, and thet was bittorrent-induced), but getting rid of ~/Library/preferences/com.fujitsu.randomsystemfreezes.plist seemed to help... the iBook has behaved all weekend... <knocking-on-wood-with-crossed-fingers> :)
    Look into my eyes... you're feeling sleepy... 3-2-1... you know you want to... you just neeeeed a new MacBook... and wake <snap>... :D
    Well, there might just be a land of gold and honey where invisitext-threads are as abundant as MacBook-threads... ;)
     
  21. janey macrumors 603

    janey

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    #21
    Well the idea behind SMART is that considering how a significant portion (like, maybe 3/4ths) of all drive failures is due to something that can be measured ahead of time, such as drive temperature and a high number of failed reads, if there was a system in place to keep track of those variables you'd have something that can tell you about potential hard drive failures before they occur, giving you time to back things up and get a replacement drive.
    It can't predict you dropping the drive up from the top of a second story building while it's in use tomorrow. It can't predict some random hardware part failing due to some freak accident. But it can predict drive failure caused by just regular use after a bunch of years.

    So in a way it's very helpful, but can't predict the future in regards to uncontrollable events.
     
  22. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #22
    Oh, yeah, Janey, sorry. Don't get me wrong. I understood that, but I was just trying to simplify. Maybe over-simplify. But I don't know that I've seen data saying what percentage of actual failures in SMART hard drives are pre-detected by SMART.... I would guess it's fairly high. But if your number is right -- 75% -- then that suggests that people really shouldn't treat SMART as that much of a safety blanket, since 1 in 4 times a hard drive fails, it will fail to predict it.... As opposed to saying, only one in one million drives fails without SMART pre-detection, meaning that you have nothing to worry about if your drive is SMART verified, short of dropping it or setting it on fire.... I think that was the point I was trying to make. :eek:

    Look into my eyes... you're feeling sleepy... 3-2-1...you know you want your MacBook to be Tangerine with darker contrast colors around the keyboard... and... wake... <snap> .... :D

    Wake knowing that hot pink would have been a much better choice, oh <snap>!
     
  23. janey macrumors 603

    janey

    Joined:
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    Location:
    sunny los angeles
    #23
    I'm not sure of the numbers either. Assuming my 75% figure is right, that 100% is for ALL drive failures, accidental or not, predicted or not. It goes from ordinary wear and tear to getting them melted in a fire. So provided you take out the uncontrollable events, the percentage of the number of failures that SMART could have informed you about in advance out of all the hard drive malfunctions goes up.

    I mean SMART status will tell you the drive is borked regardless provided the hardware to make such a determination is still functional. It just helps to be warned of potential drive failures because of normal use and that's what SMART is for. It's a safety blanket of sorts provided that the hard drive wasn't manufactured shoddily and you don't take a sledgehammer to it.
     
  24. TheRealBambi macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    #24
    Clicking noise

    :confused:
    Hmmm....well my G4 Powerbook (little over a year old) makes the famous clicking noise when it's had too much demanded from it.

    Soooo, I did the S.M.A.R.T thingie...and she passed.

    (Please don't yell at me for being a novice), and please ...no "sorry dude" glib comments .... maintenance I do:

    --repair permissions regularly (I just do it, can't explain what it does)
    --run the Disk Warrior dealy (what does this do anyway)
    --leave her on periodically at the end of the month so Unix does whatever it's sposed to do
    --Backup
    --keep up my warranty

    Should I take her in???? Don't have any money at the moment, and walking is very difficult at the moment....

    Cheers,
    Bambi
     
  25. Mitthrawnuruodo thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Mitthrawnuruodo

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Bergen, Norway
    #25
    The most important thing when the HD is starting to act up is to have current backup of all those things you cannot replace, like photos, work documents, etc. The HD can work for years or stop working tomorrow... :(

    And my iBook's HD has been on its best behaviour all week, and hasn't even "clicked" once since last weekend, but on the upside: I've increased my backup frequency considerably... I bet the little ba**ard knows it's due for a replacement and has started working again out of pure spite... ;)

    I am, however, still drooling over one of those new MacBooks, and will get one if the financing falls into place (99% sure at the moment :)) and the one of the two suppliers in Bergen get enough of them in (one of them got 10 of the 50 they'd initially ordered early last week, but had 15 on waiting list :().
     

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