Hard drive failure on black macbook already?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by XjeffX, Mar 17, 2008.

  1. XjeffX macrumors member

    Jun 4, 2004
    I bought my blackbook last September and I think the hard drive might have died last night.

    It was running for a couple of hours (just sitting on firefox, nothing processor intensive). I went over to use it, moved the mouse and everything froze. I held down the power button and when it started back up I noticed a faint clicking or clunking sound in the front/right of the computer (I believe that's where the HD is). It just sits on the spinning grey wheel, no folder w/ a question mark or anything.

    Tried booting to the Leopard DVD and running disk utility. Shows the hard drive but no volume.

    Am I SOL? I have nearly 160 gigs of my life on here and no, I haven't backed it up. Poor student, can't afford an external hard drive right now but it looks like I better invest in one.

    I'm taking it in tomorrow morning after class but if this something disk warrior could fix or does anybody else have any other insights?

    Thanks in advance:eek:
  2. bluedoggiant macrumors 68030


    Jul 13, 2007
    MD & ATL,GA
    Well, maybe your HD is still alive, but your macintosh HD volume was deleted, so your files are too, thats what I think, but im not exactly sure.
  3. TEG macrumors 604


    Jan 21, 2002
    Langley, Washington
    If Disc Utility can see the Disk but not the volume sounds like a Master Boot Record corruption. A more intense disk utility may be able to recover it, but no guarentees about that. The disk may be defective, as there is an average life, but that always means there are some that are much longer and others much shorter.

  4. Sherman Homan macrumors 6502

    Oct 27, 2006
    Don't try booting it again! It does sound like a hard drive failure. Here is the deal, every time you try to boot the thing you run the risk of losing more data. You need a backup no matter what, so get a nice cheap USB drive. Find a friend with another Mac with a Firewire cable.
    Try target disk mode first.
    Install Data Rescue II on your friend's Mac, it has a demo mode to see if there is anything worth recovering.
    Report back in!
  5. Pacer69 macrumors member

    Jan 2, 2008
    fyi, you can also get 5 or 10 gb of free storage on various online email like Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, etc. That is a lot of space if you get more than a few addys. The poor man's external hard drive! Just email your files to yourself and max out those boxes. Though external HDs are certainly getting cheaper all the time.
  6. CalmEnvy macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2008
    Clicking sounds coming from a hard drive are not good signs at all. Usually means that it's failing or will fail. So either take it in or do what Sherman Homan said.
  7. heatmiser macrumors 68020

    Dec 6, 2007
    For the future: Mozy offers 2gb of free online storage. Download their backup program, point it to your data, and it'll back things up for you nightly. Then if the unthinkable happens, you simply install the program at an available computer and begin the recovery process.
  8. DaveWonders macrumors regular

    Sep 12, 2006
    Hearing stories about people losing data like that freaks me out. Programs like Super Duper! just make it so easy it's a no brainer. So I feel for you Jeff, I really really do. Sometimes it takes an event like that to shake you and make you realize backups are 100% needed.

    I echo the usage of Mozy for important stuff. At work I use it to back up anything with an Office extension or .fcp files for Final Cut. It's a great offsite solution. A bootable external drive and your most important critical files backed up online and offsite is pretty fool proof. Use this link and you'll get an extra 256 MB of space.

  9. madmaxmedia macrumors 68030

    Dec 17, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    When my PB HD died it also made a clunking noise and wouldn't start up. Amazingly, I found if I tilted the PB about 45 degrees the drive would spin up and run. I was able to boot up and copy everything over to an external drive.

    Yet another time, I was no longer able to boot up, but Data Rescue II did allow me to save almost all of my data.

    I never thought I would have a HD fail, but it's not a matter of if, but when. I was lucky, good luck to you too.

    (Now I have Leopard and Time Machine, it's almost criminal to have Leopard and not take advantage of Time Machine.)
  10. XjeffX thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 4, 2004
    Thanks for all of your replies.

    I bit the bullet and went out and got an external hard drive. I installed leopard to it and booted off of it to run Data Rescue II.

    When this first happened I was able to run disk utility off the leopard dvd and see the drive, but no volumes. This gave me hope for Data Rescue II. Now, neither disk utility or Data Rescue can see the drive at all :(

    3pm appointment with Apple. I was hoping to back up my data before taking it to them.
  11. krye macrumors 68000


    Aug 21, 2007
    It sounds impossible, but I've seen it done. You go out and buy the same make/model hard drive. Open the new and old and swap the platters over. You have to do it in a clean room (dust free environment.) You could make it out of a 10 gallon fish tank. Tape a garbage bag to the open end and cut holes for your hands. It has to look like one of those things they put the premie babies in at the hospital. You get the idea. Basically you can not get so much as a spec of dust on the platters. Sometimes it's not even the motor that's bad. Sometimes you can get away with just swapping the controller boards. You don't even have to open up the hdd. It's an option, but not for the faint of heart.
  12. heatmiser macrumors 68020

    Dec 6, 2007
    Man, this is Mac Rumors, not The Hot Zone. You're talking a level 4 procedure. Here, peeps freak out over ram upgrades.
  13. rhyx macrumors 6502

    Jan 15, 2008
    Good times. I've done this in a regular room and it worked.
  14. Bill Gates Jr. macrumors newbie

    Mar 23, 2008
    Microsoft Lair
    SAME boat

    i had the same thing happen to my macbook 2 days ago. spinning ball=>forced shut down=>grey screen with folder & question mark

    a second mac will NOT recognize the HDD, but I can boot on Leopard DVD.

    a second mac will recognize the DVD drive on the bad mac when it's in Target Mode (Fire Wire logo on the grey screen).

    i bought Data Rescue II, am running it from the second mac, but it won't recognize the bad HDD either.

    any solutions?

    or do i have to wait for the Data Rescue boot disc to arrive in the mail, probably next week? (i've got a presentation in a couple of days & would like to get my .ppt off of the bad mac)

    any suggestions on how to make a bootable disc from the Data Rescue .dmg bought online?


  15. XjeffX thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 4, 2004

    my understanding is that if it won't show up in target mode or in Disk Utility (when booting off the Leopard dvd) then Disk Rescue won't be able to read it either. That's what happened with mine.

    Apple store basically said I was screwed as far as my data goes. Unless I want to pay $2,500 to send to the company they use for data recovery.

    Yes, I know I should have had more things backed up but this is extremely disappointing and frustrating.

    I've been an avid computer tech/user for almost 15 years and never had a hard drive simply die out of the blue like that. I've had them start dying a slow death but I was always able to back up everything when they started to click/act up. And they were all several years old. 5-6 months out of a seagate hard drive which typically have 5 year warranties is just plain ridiculous. I've purchased nothing but seagate drives for the past few years because of their great warranty. And the fact that these things have been dropping flies makes me very weary of Apple & Seagate's quality control. Nothing I can do though. Not like I'm going to switch to a dell or anything.
  16. Bill Gates Jr. macrumors newbie

    Mar 23, 2008
    Microsoft Lair
    i went to the apple store here in seattle. the guy took the HDD out, went into the back room, and 5min later he pronounced it dead.

    i totally understand what you're saying about DU not being able and therefore DR also not being able to read it.

    i presume that if i can't see it in target mode with DR, then having the physical boot disc won't matter.

    have you tried the DR boot disc? any success?

  17. Bill Gates Jr. macrumors newbie

    Mar 23, 2008
    Microsoft Lair
    the guy at the apple store says that he sees at least 10 HDD failures a day, every day.

    does that smell like a quality control issue to anyone else?

    last year i had the power brick for my old PB pop, smoke & die. i called applecare and after the CSR got into his question algorithm, with questions like: "did the unit catch fire?" "was any person or property injured in the incident?" "was the fire dept. called for this incident?"; i realized that they were sizing up & documenting their liability. overnight they sent me out a replacement, free of charge, in exchange for the "failed" unit.

    i suppose there is some threshold where numerous "random" failures become a manufacturing defect, which becomes a recall or a class action.
  18. XjeffX thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 4, 2004
    Planning on trying tomorrow. Doubt it'll work but it's worth a shot.

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