Diagnosis needed on my iBook G4. Doesn't recognize hard drive?? Please help.

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by i make movies, Sep 28, 2008.

  1. i make movies macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2007
    #1
    Hello out there. Thanks for reading. I have a problem. My iBook could be on it's last leg.

    I have an iBook G4 1.2 Ghz with 512 mb of RAM running 10.3.9. It started about 2 to 5 months ago. When I restart my computer, instead of the white screen with the grey Apple logo that appears during a normal start-up, I get the grey screen with a flashing box with a picture of the world inside the flashing box, then the small flashing folder that flashes the OSX logo, then a question mark (?), then it would go into the normal start-up screen (white w/Apple logo). I thought this was the Safe mode boot.

    Well, recently, it would just stay on the flashing OSX logo and "?" and nothing would happen. So I would do a forced shut down (holding the power down) and power it back up. Same thing. I'd repeat this for 30 minutes to an hour, restarting anywhere from 15 to 30 times and it would eventually work.

    So, the flashing OSX logo and "?" happened again last night, and I could not get it to boot after countless restarts. This morning, I grab my iBook Install disc to do a full restore. I restart and hold the C key to boot from the install disc. I go through the normal steps and when I get to Choose the Drive or Destination tab, my hard drive isn't listed. Nothing is listed. I reboot holding the option key to run the Apple hard ware test. Airport passes, Logic Board passes, then I get an error when the Mass Storage test runs. Reboot and run Test again, same results. I reboot to the install disc again and it still says no drive. I open Disc Utility and the only drive it reads is the iBook Install Disc. I restart normally, and it loads fine, and I instantly come here to seek a diagnostic as to what my problem is.

    I don't understand is the strange frequency or my problem. Sometimes it works, sometimes I have to restart it a dozen or so times. How can it not recognize my hard drive some of the time and not all of the time?

    I don't want to do a full restore just yet. I'd like to know what my problem is before I do anything drastic. I do have my hard drive backed up.

    Thanks for your time.
     
  2. g4cubed macrumors 6502a

    g4cubed

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2004
  3. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #3
    I hope you have a backup because that sounds like a dead hard drive.
     
  4. i make movies thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2007
    #4

    I see. So that's the warning of a hard drive that's about to go out? It doesn't work sometimes? Would purchasing a new laptop hard drive fix the issue? I don't have the money for a new mac just yet. Buying a new internal hard drive is within my budget now. Where do I search for them? I just briefly checked newegg. What internal drive should I get?
     
  5. madfresh macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2006
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #5
    You can possibly get it repaired. Check and see your local computer repair shops to see if they can do anything.
     
  6. g4cubed macrumors 6502a

    g4cubed

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2004
    #6
    I use OWC alot. Decent prices, good service and warranties. Have a look at the Hard drive tab and go from there, it's pretty easy to find what will work. I would think about a 7200rpm drive.
     
  7. i make movies thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2007
    #7
    Thanks for the link. Now, I got a few more questions if y'all have got the time.

    Are there any 7200 RPM HDD that will work with my iBook? I found this site which has overpriced hard drives, sure, but all of the hard drives for the G4 laptops are 5400 RPM ATA drives. The intel laptops are the ones with the 7200 RPM SATA drives. Is there a 7200 RPM ATA drive that will work in my iBook?

    Is installing a hard drive in a laptop hard? My swapping parts experience has only been with desktops...just video cards and cd burners, and that was 6 or 7 years ago, but it wasn't that hard. The Cd burner gave me problems with the whole slave/master drive thing, which I still don't understand. There has to be more to it that just the physical swap...a fresh drive has no data on it.

    I'll probably max out the memory while I'm at it, but that raises the question of how much money I want to put into this outdated laptop. Will a new hard drive and max RAM (from 512 mb to 1.25 gig) increase my performance? What if I also updated to 10.4 or 10.5? The cost of a new hard drive (70-120) and RAM (50-60) plus OSX (130), I'm looking at over 300 bucks (worst case scenario). That's almost a third of the cost of a refurb macbook.

    Any suggestions? Thanks again.
     
  8. g4cubed macrumors 6502a

    g4cubed

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2004
    #8
    Check out OWC in the link, 3 brands of 7200rpm from 100GB-320GB sizes. The RAM will make a difference in performance the faster HDD minimal.

    As if it's worth it or not is a personal choice and whether you can afford a new/refurbed one.
     
  9. i make movies thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2007
    #9
    Much appreciated. I guess I have some pondering to do.
     
  10. g4cubed macrumors 6502a

    g4cubed

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2004
    #10
    No problem. If you do decide to go the new/refurb route let me know I maybe interested in the G4.
     
  11. joselo macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2008
    #11
    the same thing happen to my IBook G4. But, i just installed a new HD and the computer is not recognizing it during the restore process. I am ready to throw it out the window. :mad: does anybody has a solution for this?
     
  12. California macrumors 68040

    California

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2004
    #12
    If you want some help, explain what the screen is showing. If you run disc utility, what does it say about your hard drive?
     
  13. California macrumors 68040

    California

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2004
    #13
    Uh, there is no 320gb drive that will work in an iBook because iBooks only take PATA/ATA IDE drives.

    NOT SATA drives.

    Your best bet for speed is actually the 250gb 5400rpm drive that tests about as fast as the fastest PATA laptop drive the 100gb 7200rpm Travelstar. I know, I have had both drives in my Powerbook.

    While you have the iBook open, put a dvd burning superdrive in it and max out the ram. That is what i do with all my iBooks when I've upgraded them.
     

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