Bad Blocks?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Dronecatcher, Mar 28, 2015.

  1. Dronecatcher, Mar 28, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2015

    Dronecatcher macrumors 68020


    Jun 17, 2014
    Lincolnshire, UK
    I've just been trying to do a fresh install of Tiger onto a Powerbook and here's what happened:
    Initial install of 10.4 fine.
    Install update - freezes on reboot.
    Erase disk, repeat install, same freeze on reboot.
    Zero out disk hoping to map out any bad blocks.
    Repeat install procedure - freezes on update as before.
    Start in verbose mode, see "disk I/O error" before blue screen shows and freezes.
    Start in single user mode, run fsck -yf - it reports all good.
    Boot from ASD disk, it runs 51 tests - all fine.
    Try installing Leopard, install update, seems fine but freezes after opening system preferences.
    Install Leopard again, then install and run TechTool and perform surface scan - sure enough, it finds bad blocks some of with contain OS files.

    Throughout all of this, prior to freezing the hard drive make a repetitive chugging noise (not clicking) as if seeking endlessly.

    I've zeroed the drive again and installed Tiger but with no update - at the moment it's fine with no dodgy hard drive noise.
    I'll later try the updates.

    My questions are these:
    Are bad blocks not recognised by SMART utility and ASD disk?
    When bad blocks are flagged and mapped does that catalogue not survive a fresh OS install?
    When they have been recognised, shouldn't the OS just work around them?
    Is it possible the drive is so damaged that it's making new bad blocks as soon as the existing ones are mapped out?

    I'm trying this - my logic is that 10.4 installs in the space before the bad blocks, the update goes into the bad blocks (whether they've been marked out or not) hence the problem.
    What I've done is create a 10Gb blank file in Terminal to hopefully 'contain' the bad block area (it's a 100Gb disk so not too much of a hit) - anything I install now should come after it and as it isn't a file of any use, once it's catalogued it shouldn't have to be read or written to again.

    Well that's my reasoning - whether it's flawed I'll soon find out!
  2. eyoungren macrumors Core


    Aug 31, 2011
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    No idea really. I was going to say that SMART only detects mechanical failures but realized how much of an idiot that would make me sound because bad blocks are mechanical failures. :rolleyes:
    I would say no, just based on what I've experienced with Diskwarrior. There is a Catalog-A tree and a Catalog-B tree. These are the directorys (catalogs) of the drive, the A being the master and the B being the backup to it. Both can go corrupt and a format and reinstall creates new ones.
    Not sure how that works, but I don't think OS X works like that.
    It's possible. I once had a 100MB HD I bought second hand for my 286. Once blocks started going bad it accelerated until there was nothing useable on the drive. Being back in 1990 the best use I got out of that drive then was as a door stop.
  3. Dronecatcher thread starter macrumors 68020


    Jun 17, 2014
    Lincolnshire, UK
    Well so far my solution appears to have worked, all updates and software has installed without issue and no more chugging from the hard drive.
    I'll view this as a temporary fix until I get a replacement drive or more likely a SSD solution when I can afford it.
  4. Dronecatcher thread starter macrumors 68020


    Jun 17, 2014
    Lincolnshire, UK
    UPDATE: Found that the hard drive is 7200RPM - I'll definitely be keeping it in place until it fails completely!
    The seller maintains it was fine when sent, so I'm guessing the drive took a hit in transit - hopefully that would mean the problem is physical on the platter which might mean the drive will be ok in other regards?
  5. BUZZED macrumors newbie

    Mar 30, 2015
    My dual g5 wouldn't boot all the way, I had to zero out the hard drive and then it finally took a fresh install and runs good. This time I installed leopard on both hard drives, so I can boot from either

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