PowerBook G4 HDD has finally gone out

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by boneskid1, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. macrumors member

    Sep 19, 2012
    well i was waiting for this day to come and it arrived quicker than i thought but i should of known, the poor powerbooks hdd had a bad sector and would no longer boot into os x. so i bought a new (re-furbished) pata drive at micro center thinking that it would be just a fast as the old drive since it was 5400 rpm as well, but alas i was wrong and i get beach balls pretty often when switching tabs or opening new windows.


    what i am wondering is if i should take back the pata drive i bought and buy a sata ssd and a ide to sata adapter, or just put the money down on a pata ssd.

    mind the fact that i do not want to put to much into the g4 i just would like to work properly again

    the powerbook is a a1139 which is the high-res 17", 1.67ghz so it was quite usable before the drive went out. i would just like some feedback from those of you that have already done these mods/upgrades
  2. macrumors 65816


    If the old drive just has a bad sector then the drive is perfectly ok, it just needs to be overwritten.

    Boot from an osx install dvd and go to disk utility. Select the drive and erase it with the security option of zero out data.
  3. Moderator


    Staff Member

    Sep 8, 2010
    Detroit, Michigan
    I highly recommend Spinrite. If you have access to an IBM PC, take the HDD out of your Mac and put it in the PC and run the DOS-based program Spinrite. It's a great HDD recovery and maintenance tool. It will detect and repair or mark bad sectors on any HDD.

    Below is my MBP HDD in an old Dell PC with Spinrite running on it.


  4. macrumors 68000


    Nov 15, 2012
    Does it work with any partition scheme- PowerPC Macs use the Apple Partition Map, whereas your MBP would use GUID.
  5. Moderator


    Staff Member

    Sep 8, 2010
    Detroit, Michigan
    Yep, sure does. Spinrite doesn't care what's on the hard drive or if its blank. It works on all of them. I use it all the time at work and home and to help repair other folks computers. The only catch is that it doesn't run natively on a Mac; you have to run it in an IBM PC because it needs a BIOS to run.
  6. thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 19, 2012
    heres the thing though i ran fsck in single user mode and it returned that it had been modified so i ran it once more just to be sure and after that i went to re-install and it will install ok but then when it reboots it goes past the apple screen and the short blue screen but afterwards it goes to a gray screen with the cursor and it will sit like that for as long as i leave it.

    i did try boot it froma live linux disc and ran some disc checks and it came back with a few lines that said the superblock could not be read or does not describe a correct ext2 filesystem. along with some other sutff about a bad sector. i did try quite a few times to re-install along with erasing the hdd within the disk utility on the install disc. i tried googling the issue and found no answers specific to a mac or the hdd itself.

  7. macrumors G4


    Aug 31, 2011
    Phoenix, AZ USA
    When drives go bad slowly (like yours has) corruption tends to creep in. Cloning a corrupt drive to a new drive will give you the same problems even though the new drive is good.

    You have to take on some repairs. At the minimum I would try booting from the OSX install disk and running Disk Utility to repair the disk. If that works you are probably ok, but I'd go one step farther. Repair permissions. Corruption also damages permissions and when that gets out of whack the system can refuse to boot.

    If you have it, or can get a hold of it, I highly recommend a copy of DiskWarrior. Boot from the DW disk and use it to repair the disk. DW can fix just about anything and if it can't it can give you access to your files to copy them off. I would OPTN+Click on the repair disk button because that will change the repair operation to "Scavenge Disk." Doing that causes DW to do some additional repairs and deep scavenging for all available data.

    When DW is done, write the new directory and you should be good. If for some reason DW can't do the job, call Allsoft. There support is awesome. I had my old TiBook HD die suddenly on me. Because my boss had a license with Alsoft they took my laptop drive, paid the shipping to and from their facility and put all my data back on to an external drive that I had sent them. I didn't lose a dang thing.

    They'll also work with you via IM. They have codes that they can feed to DW (they tell you what to do) that supercharges the recover process beyond the scavenge level.

    Hope that helps.
  8. boneskid1, Jan 21, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013

    thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 19, 2012
    I didn't have anything important I have backup files of everything important on an external HDD I just need to get it back into proper (not slow) working order.

    And when I did erase the drive with disk utility off of the disk it never gave me another option to zero out data, also the new drive has a fresh install of leopard and I just upgraded my other stick of ram to 1gb so now I have 2gb. OS X sees them just fine though so no issues there

    EDIT: well I took the time to swap drives again and I tired zeroing it out and it didn't help any and now I notice a louder click coming from the drive so it definitely Is bad so what would your recommendations on a new setup be?
    Sata ssd-5 for the adapter and like 50 for a drive/ no noise, less power,
    Pata ssd- 60 to 80 for a drive same pros as above--- not a lot of storage
    Pata hdd- 35 own it right now but it is so damn loud compared to my macbook

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