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G3 iMac Hard Drive Failure

Dronecatcher

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jun 17, 2014
3,797
3,810
Lincolnshire, UK
Just wanted to leave a record of this here as it differs from a lot of hard drive failures.

Last week the HDD on my G3 iMac got a bit cranky whilst copying files - the progress bar froze for nearly a minute but then continued as normal.
I didn't give it any thought but a hour or so later, the drive spun down and then revved up a couple of times before freezing the OS. Upon reboot all I had was a white screen.

PRAM resets from the keyboard and Open Firmware didn't change anything and I also couldn't boot from my Firewire drive - infact the boot selecter showed no options at all.

I removed the backup battery and reset the PMU - still nothing. Given the absence of a flashing folder and no external boot options I assumed the fault was on the logic board somewhere.

After a few days I remembered I had a MDD that displayed similar behaviour, so I opened the iMac up and replaced the HDD - bingo! Flashing folder and a fresh install away from being in business again.

What threw me off was the boot selecter being unable to see any external drive plugged in - not something you'd assume would be caused by a faulty/dead HDD.
 

vertical smile

macrumors 603
Sep 23, 2014
5,330
6,192
What threw me off was the boot selecter being unable to see any external drive plugged in - not something you'd assume would be caused by a faulty/dead HDD.
I have seen this once in a Late 2012 iMac when the Fusion Drive failed.

Nothing would boot, not internal, external, recovery, internet recovery, the Apple Store's HW diagnostic tool.
 
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RhianB

Cancelled
Sep 3, 2016
1,577
2,299
Never ever ran into this. Thank you for sharing. I would’ve absolutely misdiagnosed that situation as a bad logicboard.
 
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velocityg4

macrumors 603
Dec 19, 2004
5,292
1,753
Georgia
What threw me off was the boot selecter being unable to see any external drive plugged in - not something you'd assume would be caused by a faulty/dead HDD.

Sometimes when a drive has failed. Depending on the type of failure. Macs get really hung up. Where no other drives can load at all. Even if it's just a data storage drive. I'm not sure why the computer will keep trying to access the drive and gum up the works.

This happens with regular PC's too. Although I've never had it so bad where none of the drives would load due to one bad drive. Just on Macs have I experienced this.

I wish I could find the article. I remember fairly recently in the news (last couple years). A massive data center was taken down because one hard drive failed. So, this can happen on a massive scale too.
 
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