Dead HDD in my Powerbook, use my PC to recover files

Discussion in 'macOS' started by kimononono, Oct 25, 2009.

  1. kimononono macrumors newbie

    Sep 27, 2006
    I have a headache from spending to many hours downloading softwares and trying different connection to recover what I still might be able to recover from my dead Mac HDD!!

    I currently have Macdrive and HFSExplorer on my PC, I'm pretty sure one of these soft could be usefull to achieve what I want to do, but they currently dont work!

    At this point the only thing i can do on my Mac is use the Powerbook initial DVD to reinstall Mac Os X (while holding "command" when booting). Anything else wont work! I get stuck at the grey screen with a blinking question mark. My Mac's HDD is full and I believe this is why it died.

    So I was hoping to connect my Mac to my PC and use a soft to recover my personal files. But Firewire does not work, neither does USB (none of these connection appear on my PC as an external drive being hooked). And there's no other output on my Mac i can use....

    what can I do??
  2. PurrBall macrumors 65816


    Oct 25, 2007
    If the drive is busted, the drive is busted no matter what computer you connect it to.
  3. kimononono thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 27, 2006
    You are probably right :(
    But I really want to mount it to see if there's not one tiny bit of my documents I could backup!!
  4. cjmillsnun macrumors 68020

    Aug 28, 2009
    Do you have an external drive you could install OSX on and boot from?

    Also have you tried booting from dvd and using disk utility to repair the drive?
  5. kimononono thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 27, 2006
    Yes I have tried the disk utility from the DVD, but when I select my internal drive I cant select the "Repair" or "Verify" options (they are grey and cant be chosen). From there, the only thing I can do, else then reformating of course, is use the "info button" while my drive is selected. And this tells me I have a 16GB drive (while it's a 80Gb drive!)

    I have also used the Apple Hardware test from the DVD and the test failes after about 10 seconds cuz the hdd cant be tested. I get the error code :
    2 STF/2/3:ATA-100 ata-6-Master
    I have one. It's a Iomega Minimax (;psum )
    I probably have 100GB left from the 500 initial GB... but I'm not exactly sure how I could use and install Mac Os on an external drive... :eek:
  6. MacTech68, Oct 25, 2009
    Last edited: May 5, 2013

    MacTech68 macrumors 68020


    Mar 16, 2008
    Australia, Perth
    Usually, if you can see the drive in Disk Utility, but can't select repair or verify, it's Disk Utility's fail-safe because the SMART tests are failing.

    If you're booting from at least 10.4.x DVD, when you select the drive, look at the bottom of the Disk Utility window, and check to see if it says:

    S.M.A.R.T. Status : Verified

    If it says anything else, then the drive has detected a change in performance of certain parameters, and Disk Utility is preventing you from making changes as a safety precaution.

    The best course of action is to have an external HD you can boot from with a utility like Disk Warrior or better yet Data Rescue III. If the drive doesn't mount when booted from another MacOSX drive, Disk Warrior may not be able to help. Data Rescue II can scan the entire drive and then copy what it finds to another (near emtpy) hard drive.

    It's hard to give the absolute best advice without "being there". I know there is a utility for the PC that can recover HFS+ volumes in the same manner as Data Rescue III but the name eludes me for the moment (and it's $100's).

    Note that there is a downloadable demo of Data Rescue III. :)

    Good luck!

    EDIT: The other possibility is that the interconnecting HD cable is loose. You could try carefully reseating the cable.
  7. kimononono thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 27, 2006
    I checked for that yesterday and you are right to point it out, the SMART status doesn't appear (it doesn't say VERIFIED)
    As soon as I get back home tonight I'll try that. I really hope this solves the problem!!!!!
    I saw these 2 softs. At first I thought I could simply burn Data Rescue on a DVD and boot my Mac with it. But that din't work. This app needs to be ran on an healthy HDD.

    Just in case playing with the HDD's cable doesn't work, may I ask how exactly I could install Mac Os X on my external drive and run Data Rescue with it? Do I have to reformat my external HDD (and lose all data I have backed up on it)? And also, remember that now I only have a PC to solve my Mac's problem. So whatever I want to do it needs to be achieved with the help of Windows :(
    I know my PC doesn't even recognize my external HDD (cuz I believe it is formatted in HFS+, while my PC is formatted in NTFS), so really, I dont see how I could install Mac Os os my external HDD!
  8. ziggyonice macrumors 68020


    Mar 12, 2006
    Rural America
    Depends on how you have your external drive setup, but in most cases, yes. You’re going to need to take all the stuff off your external drive if you want to keep it from being deleted. Because, more than likely, you’re going to have to format it which will erase everything. This can all be done using the discs that came with your computer or a Mac OS X disc (like a Leopard DVD). Using that, you would simply proceed with the install of Mac OS X, but instead of installing it on Macintosh HD, you’d click on the external drive. After OS X is done installing onto your external, you can boot up the computer off the external drive by holding down the “option” key on the keyboard while booting up the computer. After you’ve done this, you can install Data Rescue III (or whatever you’d like to use).

    Not if you install OS X on your external. :)

    If your external is formatted in HFS, you won’t be able to backup the data on it unless you have MacDrive on your PC. Basically, you need to connect your external drive to your PC (or another Mac), and get everything you want to keep off the drive.

    Then, connect the drive to your Mac. Get the discs that came with your computer (or a Mac OS X disc, like Leopard) and insert the disc in your computer. While booting it up, hold down the “option” key on the keyboard. Select the image of the disc and follow the instructions to install Mac OS X on your external. Then troubleshoot after OS X is installed by booting up to the external drive (once again, by holding down “option”).
  9. MacTech68, Oct 26, 2009
    Last edited: May 5, 2013

    MacTech68 macrumors 68020


    Mar 16, 2008
    Australia, Perth
    Hold on. The OP has an external drive that is used with the PowerBook.

    The PowerBook can boot from another OS (ie the hosed internal drive isn't preventing bootup from a MacOS CD. (hopefully at least 10.4).

    How much space is left on the External HD and is it (gulp) USB?

    If it's USB, then your're out of luck. If it's Firewire, you may still be able to install MacOS 10.4 onto it.

    EDIT 2: I should keep up. The Drive is Firewire capable and has 400GB free space?

    If it's a retail DVD install (what's the 691 number printed on the DVD, does it say "for iMac/PowerBook" etc... ?

    If so and you have about 10GB free space, and no folder names that conflict with a standard install (and you don't have OSX installed on the External), then go ahead and install OS X 10.4 on the external. Then boot from that. You'd still need some kind of drive to copy your recovered data to. If you don't have enough room on your new external boot disk, consider networking to your PC if there is storage space aplenty there. Clumsy but can work if your're really stuck and can't buy another drive.

    Phew, sorry about the "if"s :eek:

    EDIT: it sounds like your boot DVD might not be 10.4.
  10. cjmillsnun macrumors 68020

    Aug 28, 2009
    OK I think the drive in your PB died from age not how full it was, they can take being completely full pretty well

    However with it registering an incorrect size, I can summise that it is dead, and likely only professional recovery will get any data back at all.

    Unfortunately professional recovery will cost more than your PB is worth.

    Is most of your data backed up on that external? If so hopefully your loss is minimal, however I think the time has come to chalk this up to experience and get a new drive and install it.
  11. AaronX macrumors member

    Jul 29, 2009
    Can you boot into Target Disk Mode and mount your notebook as an external drive? Your PC needs Firewire 800 though.
  12. kimononono thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 27, 2006
    Mac Os 10.3.3
    disk c691-4924-A
    and it says : Powerbook G4 12 inch installation and restauration of applications

    Ok So first thing I tried was checking the HD cable to see if it was loose so I went ahead and opend up my Mac. This is the second time I do it, the actual HD is only 3 years old! so 3 years agao I opend it up and found out I had the most complicated model in terms of number of things to take out before reaching the HD (Powerbook G4 1.33Gh, 12 inch).

    Anyway, I opened it up and disconnected/reconnected the HDD but it does'nt change anything.

    After that, instead of installing Mac Os on my external HDD, I borowed someone's Mac to try that Target disk Mode while the 2 computers were connected with a 6-pin Firewire. That did'nt work either : the Firewire icon does not appear on my Mac, the screen just remains black and nothing happens.

    In other words, the HD probably has a mecanical problem, and this time I'm out of ideas. There's probably nothing else I can do :(
    Like I said, I tried that but with a 6-pin FW cable, I guess 8-pin wouldn't do any better... or would it?
  13. MacTech68, Oct 29, 2009
    Last edited: May 5, 2013

    MacTech68 macrumors 68020


    Mar 16, 2008
    Australia, Perth
    I think that's an Original set that came with it.

    PowerBook G4 (12-inch 1.33GHz) 10.3.3 Build 7G33

    IIRC, 10.3.3 doesn't show Smart Status in Disk Utility.

    Sorry, had I known it was 12" I wouldn't have suggested that. I've had to strip those things down to the bottom case too many times and replacing the DVD drive is ridiculous. :mad:


    I've had one 12" that needed a new HD cable, but if you have a spare 2.5" IDE to firewire or USB external IDE case, the next best thing to do would be to pop the PowerBook's drive into it, and check on another Mac if it will mount.

    If it does, you might find your data intact. :eek:

    If not and your lost data is critical, you could find a working HD of the same model, and swap the logic board (for the purpose of recovering data only).

    Of course, this is simply what I've done many times before with a full kit of "spares", external cases and Macs already at hand (ie, no cost). It also doesn't mean it will work in your case. :(
  14. kimononono thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 27, 2006
    MacTech68 you are the best! Just when I thought nothing else could be tried!!
    Even if these 2 alternatives faile, it wont have cost me as much as sending my HD to a professional (about 900$ here in Switzerland!):eek:

    Now that my Mac is opened and all the tiny parts are waiting on my kitchen table I feel I have to make a move as fast as possible!!

    So about the first option you suggested... may I ask if the external case could be replaced with one of these :
    Or are the external cases maybe more adapted to what I need to do?

    Depending of your answer, I will buy this adapter right away!!!
  15. kimononono thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 27, 2006
    Well too late I bought the adapter mentionned in my previous post and the HD makes the exact same noise as it used to inside my Mac (like it's trying to spin once, then one more time and it stops) so it does not mount :(

    But it's ok though, I'll keep that precious adaptor... next time I need to buy an external HDD, instead of paying for an external I'll just buy a cheap internal SATA HD and run it with the adapter.

    So I guess my last chance is to buy the exact same HD and swap the logic board. May I ask if there's any place where I could find some documentation and/or picture explaining how to do that (a step-by-step guide would be even better!).

    I have a Western Digital Scorpio WD800VE-00HDT0 : 80GB, 2.5", IDE, 5400rpm, 8MB cache buffer
  16. MacTech68, Oct 30, 2009
    Last edited: May 5, 2013

    MacTech68 macrumors 68020


    Mar 16, 2008
    Australia, Perth
    These days, your only option is to keep an eye on eBay or your own local "Classifieds". However, there is still the chance that the problem is inside what they call the HDA (Hard Disk Assembly) which is the main body of the HD (sans logic board).

    Another sad thing to note is that WD's method of storing critical data (for the drive to operate and be aware of bad blocks etc) seems to be very closely matched to the logic board. I've had successful swaps of logic boards to recover data on Toshiba, IBM/Hitachi, Seagate, Quantum, but never on a WD. Mind you I don't think 2.5" WD's often came my way here in the Asia-Pacific Apple region.

    I know I was never able to swap many WD 3.5" IDE drive logic boards (mostly inside LaCie boxes).

    A LaCie rep told me that matching a certain number on a label on the logic board was critical to getting the data off (if indeed it was ONLY a logic board failure). In my experience, other manufacturers drives weren't so picky.

    When the Quantum Fireball CX's (mostly in Slot Load iMacs) started blowing up Servo ICs, I ended up with probably 50 perfectly working HDAs but only a handful of working Logic Boards (for the various models and capacities). Data was always intact.

    YMMV. :( Excuse the rambling. :rolleyes:

    EDIT: Try
    EDIT 2: nope. not the right one.
  17. kimononono thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 27, 2006
    Honnestly, if it works I'll be soooo surprised!

    I'm currently having a hard time trying to find the exact same (discontinued) model.

    I,m pretty sure I'll find one, but when I do, I still wont feel very confident about the way to take the logic board out of it!!
    There are screws on both sides of the HD and I dont know if by simply unscrewing the board I might pull on some important wire or something else?!?

    Anyone has a reference I could look at in order to find out how to swap the logic board of a 2.5 IDE HDD?
  18. MacTech68, Oct 31, 2009
    Last edited: May 5, 2013

    MacTech68 macrumors 68020


    Mar 16, 2008
    Australia, Perth
    Usually, there will be 5 or 6 screws on the green logic board side. These days, there are normally no cables to worry about, especially on 2.5" drives.

    The biggest problem will be getting the right screwdriver. A Philips 00 or Torx #5 or #4. There seems to be six screws if this picture is the right drive.

    I've marked the screws in the attached jpg.

    And here is a page that seems to indicate they sell the PCB.

    Attached Files:

  19. kimononono thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 27, 2006
    Well this is it...
    In the end, I did'nt buy a new logic board or a new identical HDD in order to swap the logic boards mainly because :

    1- I live in Switzerland and the same model is impossible to find in Europe, and when I do find one (on ebay, from the US of course) the price (for the item or the shpping fees) is way too high!

    2- I saw on different forums that my situation, for the specific HDD I have, is pretty common, and is probably related to some hardware issues : the little arm inside the HDD case offently gets stuck and only opening the case to replace the arm could save the HDD... that is way out of my budget.

    So I decided to accept my faith and try the hardcore alternatives before throwing the HDD away :

    I tried tapping the HDD with my hand while it tried to boot (by the way there was a "click" noise after the first failure)... it kind of "made the HDD think a little longer" before failing, but of course that didn't work.

    Then I tried the most drastic alternative : I froze the HDD for 12 hours and tried to boot it while it was still frozen. Believe it or not that allowed my HDD to mount, but only for 2 seconds... so in the end, that did'nt work either.

    Now the HDD is officialy DEAD.. RIP stupid Western Digital HDD.
    I bought a new SAMSUNG, and will backup my data more often!

    Just in case someone reads this topic and needs advises, here's a usefull article saying everything about the data recovery myths. If you're 100% sure there's nothing left to do with your dead HDD and want to try some hardcore alternatives, apply these myths and who knows? you might be one of the rare people lucky enough to save your HDD "the brutal way"

  20. MacTech68, Nov 9, 2009
    Last edited: May 5, 2013

    MacTech68 macrumors 68020


    Mar 16, 2008
    Australia, Perth
    An interesting read and rings true. However, I'm still prepared to use a "cooling" or "warming" technique under some circumstances. "Freezing" and "Heating" to extremes is certainly a no-no.

    The advice I'd give is that with data recovery, you need to determine what type of failure you are dealing with very quickly. Logic Board failure, media breakdown or too many bad blocks, head park jam, corrupted directory data, stiction fault etc., and then use appropriate methods for recovery.

    I've had success swapping Logic Boards but once the data is recovered the drive is no longer to be used. I've had success swapping a platter, but this was on a single head, single platter 40MB SCSI drive.

    Knowing when to back out or stop is also key (usually this depends on how important the data is, and your skill level and tool availability). I'd never try a platter swap on a multi-head, multi-platter drive.

    I understand the freight cost problem. I don't see why items from the US cost so much to freight. (USD$134 freight? For a video card? PLEASE!!!??) :mad:

    Given that the drive mounted after the freezing would seem to indicate a cracked solder joint or semi-conductor that only works when cool. If you had an air-conditioner that could keep the drive cool (not freezing) then you may be able to recover the data. Never run a drive when condensation is evident. Of course, I only recommend these methods where the data is not worth $100's or $1000's.

  21. kimononono thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 27, 2006
    Mactech68, I just wanna thank you for your precious assistance!
    You've been very patient and you seem to have plenty of usefull ideas (the DIY kind of ideas) which lots of people on this forum are probably looking for!

    So in conclusion I'll just share a very usefull link I found...

    Listen to the wav files to figure out what's the cause of your HD failure :

    And again Mactech THANKS for your help!!

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