Hard drive dead but not


macrumors 68020
Original poster
Mar 14, 2004
Chicago, IL
Last night I had a bit of a scare with my PowerBook. I came home to find the hard drive making all sorts of weird noises and the computer was locked up. So hard shut down the computer, hooked up my external hard drive and booted off of my emergency boot partition. And of course, my laptop hard drive was making grinding noises and it didn't mount and disk utility locked up trying to repair it. Basically, it was completely dead.

I shut it down and disconnected everything from my computer. So this morning I go and turn it on to run the hardware test CD to prove the hard drive is dead before I call Apple. And low and behold, no funny noises and everything passed the test. After running disk utility I am currently booted from it. And every thing seems fine, the S.M.A.R.T. status says verified even.

Right now I am completely backing up my whole system. Anyone know why it would recover like that? Should I wait and see if it dies again or should I assume it is dead and go about replacing it?



macrumors 65816
Feb 14, 2003
I'd simply recommend you make backups, and otherwise keep using the system.

I figure if anything, your laptop had just been running some process requiring constant HD access while you were gone, and it simply got ::really:: hot. And as things expand when they're hot, even just a tiny miniscule amount, that could have thrown it off.

This very well could be pure speculation, but if it happens again, get a temperature reading on it.

Otherwise, just keep your important stuff backed up.


macrumors 68020
Original poster
Mar 14, 2004
Chicago, IL
It shouldn't have been hot, fans weren't on and the system was just sitting and not doing anything.

The only thing I can think of is that my laptop had been on for about 9 days straight without even going to sleep. But I do have the "put hard drive to sleep" box checked in energy saver, so I don't know.


macrumors 6502a
Jul 20, 2003
Bay Area
That is a strange story.:eek: I would be a little disconcerted myself, to say the least. Maybe you should try going down to an Apple store and asking a "genius" what might have happened, or calling Apple if your 90 days of free tech support hasn't expired yet. Otherwise, I would just follow the advice of others and continue to use it, but make regular backups.


macrumors G5
yippy said:
It shouldn't have been hot, fans weren't on.
Famous last words those.

The Apple Laserwriter II printers had an ozone filter on the fan output. These filters would get clogged, and the fan would eventually burn out its bearings and stop spinning. Then all hell would break loose inside the machine.

So we would often get calls like :
"Can you fix my printer, there's a burning smell coming from it?"
"What were the symptoms before it quit?"
"It was making a squealing sound a month ago"
"Why didn't you call us when it was squealing"
"Oh, the squealing sound stopped after a few weeks so we thought it was OK"


macrumors regular
Something sort of like that happened to my iPod (on and off) a few months back. It was making a loud noise when it was spinning... almost like something was scraping :eek:... whenever this happened disk access seemed a bit slower... at the time I was using my 'Pod as an external HD and whenever this happened it DID seem pretty warm... hmmm :rolleyes:

Oh well, the problem has since stopped, and my iPod is still fine.

Good Luck!



macrumors 6502
Feb 25, 2004
Villa Park, IL
Same exact thing happened to my iBook G4/800 (60gig). It worked fine the next day, and I was able to back everything up. I told Apple about it when I sent the iBook in for an unrelated problem about 2 months later. They found nothing wrong and sent it back unrepaired. That was months ago, been working fine every since, although it seems a bit louder than it originally was.

Back up regularly and you'll be safe.