G4 Makes Clanking Sound, Can't Recognize OS

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by MyDesktopBroke, Dec 23, 2008.

  1. MyDesktopBroke macrumors 6502

    Jun 2, 2007
    My computer is an :apple:G4, 533mhz, <1gb of ram, 8-9 years old, OS 9 & 10.3.9.
    Last night I was on youtube watching videos, not uploading, not downloading, or doing anything else on the computer that would cause any strain on it. It froze (mouse and everything) and started making a *clanka-clanka* noise, not from the speakers, from inside the tower. I tried to restart using the little restart button, but it didn't work. I finally held down the power button for a few seconds, turned it off, and went to bed. The next morning, when the computer was turned on it's screen went to that purplish-blue-gray OS 9 color, with a picture of a yellow folder with the OS 9 smiley face which blinked into a question mark and back. Holding down X failed to boot it into OS X. Holding down alt brought me to the screen where you should select which OS to boot to, but there were no options. Just the arrow to continue, and the refresh button, which didn't do anything. We don't do anything "risky" with the computer (torrents, cracks, warez, porn, etc.), so I'm guessing it's a problem with the hardware. Is it time for a new computer?
  2. bartelby macrumors Core


    Jun 16, 2004
  3. smchan macrumors member

    Jul 22, 2008
    Sounds like the hard drive has failed. The drive ought to be an inexpensive replacement if you care to replace it though, given the age of the machine, I'd be inclined to buy a new one if your budget allows.

    Be advised that if it is your hard drive, you may have difficulty recovering your data from it. Assuming you have data you need to recover, I wouldn't power it on anymore without some help from a pro.

  4. MyDesktopBroke thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 2, 2007
    Well, that's what the apple genius said too: broken hard drive. The only things of any importance were some photoshop .tgas. The real kicker is that the iPod these files were backed up on was corrupted just a few weeks ago. Talk about bad luck . . . Also, the genius said that retrieving any data was either impossible or would cost >$1000. Is this the case?
  5. 11800506 macrumors 65816


    Oct 31, 2007
    Washington D.C. Area
    You could try booting into Target Disk Mode from another Mac or you could get an external enclosure to put the HDD in but you still likely won't be able to recover any data. I'm assuming what the genius is talking about is a service where you send your HDD to a company which dismantles the platter and attempts to get the data off the drive which is pretty expensive.

    It still isn't very likely that you'll be able to recover the data properly though.
  6. n8mac macrumors 6502

    Jun 25, 2006
    Yes there are services that can take apart the hard drive casing (not enclosure), remove the platter (the part that your info is stored in), and put it in a new case. An external enclosure won't help if the hard drive is bad. Just do a search for "hard drive recovery". I found a service that will do it for $500 - $800.

    If you can live without that data and save your money than it maybe worthwhile to buy a newer used Mac as suggested. Your Mac is now entering the zone where it is worth just a little more than the cost of parts for it, like a hard drive.
  7. MyDesktopBroke thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 2, 2007
    Would I use a firewire for connecting two macs? But if the hard drive is physically damaged, it doesn't look like good prospects.
  8. Luftwaffles macrumors regular

    Nov 25, 2008
    Kansas City, MO
    Definitely sounds like a shot hard drive.

    Was it the original Apple-provided drive? If so, then it definitely died of natural causes. Your best bet is to do one of two things:

    1. Buy a new hard drive from NewEgg, TigerDirect or your local electronics store,
    2. Buy a new computer.

    If this is the first major failure you've had with that system, then I have a feeling other components are going to start failing as well. If you're still using that old G4 after all this time, it doesn't sound like you need a whole lot of power, but just about anything will run Photoshop better than your G4. Just another thing to consider if you've got the money.
  9. MyDesktopBroke thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 2, 2007
    Okay, I tried to use target boot mode (on a second G4), but the computer shuts down. I read that one G4 model, the one with PCI graphics doesn't support TDM, but I don't know if mine is PCI or AGP. It has the blue front plate like in the picture I posted.

    And there will definitely be a new iMac or Mac pro coming into our house this January. *hopes new macs are released*
  10. KítscheñÇinqµe macrumors regular

    Seems like the data on the hd is gone, but maybe the ipod weeks-old backup is retrievable?
    besides the data problem... If want the g4 fixed, you could put a used drive in. circa 2001 emachines tended to die prematurely, so maybe you'd find a low mileage hd from one of those. (A hd pulled directly from a fresh body is less likely to have suffered use for bessboll batting practice, as clay pigeon sub, or similar sporting hardships)

    Spend $ toward better backup (external drive) for this mac and the incoming mac.

    easiest: pull the dead drive (store it in nonstatic bag, in case you decide to try recovery someday), and "dump" the remains on craigslist free stuff. or if you're nearby in sfbay, i might want the g4 carcass (especially with the install CD) :)
  11. AlexMaximus macrumors 6502a


    Aug 15, 2006
    A400M Base
    Geek Squad at BestBuy

    I had a bad hard drive two years ago and was very concerned. Went to the Service people at Best Buy called Geek Squad. They have a very good hard drive diagnostic CD - Rom that they use to find out what' wrong with it. They charge you about 50 bucks for the diagnostic. It worked out for me and I was happy not to loose out on my old data.
    Since Best buy has Apple now too, I would give them a chance.

    good luck buddy

  12. MyDesktopBroke thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 2, 2007
    Yes, I'm resurrecting my thread, but just so I can end this story with a happy ending. We got a new hard drive that was compatible with the G4, and took out the old one. We put the new drive in as the "master," as a tech guy called it, and put the old on in as a "slave." We reinstalled Panther on the new drive and went about our business. A week later, the old drive showed up on our desktop with all the files we lost inside it. In the end, the only cost to us was the $ for the new drive, and the months spent on our Windows.

    New Hard Drive: <$100
    Complete Date Recovery: Priceless
  13. OrangeSVTguy macrumors 601


    Sep 16, 2007
    Northeastern Ohio
    Congratulations on the happy ending. Why'd you leave the old "dead" hard drive in there? Well it's a good thing you did as it resurrected itself. I hope you took all the data off it and then trashed it. I wouldn't trust a drive that had failed once.
  14. California macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    Good lesson. I've noticed it, too that when a hard drive is failing, you have a certain amount of time to get the data off it before it fails completely.

    No one told you the "freezer trick" of putting the drive in plastic in the freezer for thirty minutes, and then getting the data off it immediately. I did this with a dying Toshiba hard drive and was able to get all the data off it in the half hour after I took it out of the freezer...

    then it died dead.

    The cold helps for some reason, the inverse as to why heat ages hard drives

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