Dead HD - Can I install/boot from an external?

loztheguru

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 7, 2006
86
0
A few quick questions that I hope someone with a little more experience can help with.

Well I booted up my Macbook this morning after a crash last night, and a folder qith a question mark icon appeared. After doing some research and attempting to run disk utility, it appears my harddrive has unfortunately died, as it refuses to show up even after a PRAM reset :(.

I dont have a back up of the drive, and really dont want to lose the stuff on it. As I have an external drive, I was wondering if its possible to install OS X this, and boot from there?

Ive tried inserting the install disc, however the installer tells me ''You cannot install mac OS X on this volume. Mac OS X cannot start up from this volume", along with a red exclamation mark next to the drive icon.

If its not possible to install, is there anything else I can try? Or is it a case of accepting the loss (sniff sniff) and moving on?

Im pretty sure its still under warranty, which is something at least. However, Ive upgraded to 2GB ram, and im not sure whether I have the original sticks to replace. Would I lose this if it was sent back to apple for repair/replacement.

Thanks in advance guys, hope this isnt too unclear/messy. If i need to clarify something, just let me know! I realise theres a lot of questions here, but hopefully someone will be able to help me out with at least some of them.
 

FJ218700

macrumors 68000
Mar 8, 2007
1,740
0
Blue Dot, Red State
connect an external drive (firewire) and you will be able to install the system on it and also boot from it. When booting from the external, you'll be able to access your internal drive, extract your files, and then re-format and reinstall the system on the internal.

edit: I think intel machines will also boot via USB but I've had no experience with this, only FW.
 

loztheguru

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 7, 2006
86
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yeah I just thought the problem is probably due to my drive being a USB2 device, im pretty sure its not firewire capable. Its a LaCie drive but having checked the box im certain its not Firewire compatable. Any other ideas?

edit: ive just seen your edit re USB on intel macs, can anyone confirm this?
 

FJ218700

macrumors 68000
Mar 8, 2007
1,740
0
Blue Dot, Red State
just a thought...

when you start up from the install CD, quit the installer and run disk utility. If you repair the disk permissions on the current system volume, and then go to the startup disk selection, is the system then recognized. If so, try to re-boot one more time.
 

loztheguru

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 7, 2006
86
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alas only the dvd drive and the external HDD show up in disc utility :(

im resigned to the loss of my drive.
 

FJ218700

macrumors 68000
Mar 8, 2007
1,740
0
Blue Dot, Red State
that sucks,

I was hoping the drive would at least the recognized but unable to be mounted. Sounds maybe like a logic board problem.

well, you're under warranty.

I don't think that the 3rd party RAM is a problem, Apple won't take your sticks, but if you do find the originals it wouldn't hurt to put them back in so there won't be any possibility of an excuse.
 

loztheguru

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 7, 2006
86
0
it does indeed suck :(.

So you think its maybe a logic board problem as opposed to a HD issue? I must admit, I did think it was strange that the drive wasnt recognized at all, no matter what I did.

Thing is Im going away on a 2 week business trip (leaving on 8th of august), and really need it. If I send it off to apple for repair im almost certain they wont get it back in time. Im just wondering if I kick up a fuss at the shop I bought it from (PC World, im in the UK) whether Ill be able to get them to replace it there and then.
 

sushi

Moderator emeritus
Jul 19, 2002
15,658
3
キャンプスワ&#
Questions:

- Is your HD still spinning up?

- Is your HD not making weird noises?

- Do you have access to a PC with SATA adapter that you can connect your HD?

- Can you take the HD out of the MacBook?

If you answer yes to all these questions, you might want to give Spin Rite a try.

Spin Rite has saved my bacon numerous times. It's not cheap, but it works very well.

Note, if you decide to go with professional recovery, stop using your HD now.
 

loztheguru

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 7, 2006
86
0
the only one thats a definite yes is its making weird, clicking noises. I cant hear it spinning, and I dont really want to take it out as Im not sure how this would affect my warranty. thanks for the suggestion though, it all helps!
 

Sherman Homan

macrumors 6502
Oct 27, 2006
463
0
Given the fact that it boots from the DVD I doubt it is a logic board problem. The drive is clicking, don't keep trying to fix it. You need to decide how much money that data is worth. :eek: Recovery shops are very expensive.
A MacBook will boot from a USB drive. Apple will return your new ram chips. The fact that it is under warranty is good, but that won't help with your data. Good luck!