Hard drive help needed!!

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by headhunter, Mar 12, 2009.

  1. headhunter macrumors newbie

    Mar 12, 2009
    my white 2.16 ghz tiger macbook just packed it in this evening. from reading other threads here it appears to be the hard drive. (white screen appears with a folder with a question mark, accompanied by clicking and whining noises)
    it appears i need to replace the hard drive.

    1. what is the best brand hard drive to buy? (most reliable?)

    2. when installing the os, it it just a case of using the disk that came with the macbook?

    3. if so, can i borrow my mates leopard disk and install leopard instead?

    4. is it possible to recover the data from the broken hard drive?

    5. is there any particular reason why the hard drive has failed? overheating etc? - i upgraded ram from 1gb to 2gb would that play a factor? i have been downloading quite a few films recently - would that have been a factor?

    6. advice on prolonging the life of a new hard drive?

    7. i bought the machine in september 07 - i dont suppose its possible to squeeze a new machine/free hard drive out of apple? i have seen it mentioned that all macbooks are only warrantied for 1 year.

    help here is much appreciated. im a newbie here and just like to say this forum is a great help - very informative etc - fair play to all involved
  2. Jeffrosproto macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2008
    1. Depends on your opinion; I like Western Digital.
    2. Yes
    3. That would be illegal, and wouldn't work unless he had a very similar macbook.
    4. Chances are no, try freezing it for a while then plug it in. (May be wrong on this, check with others before doing.)
    5. Could just be old age, however might be due to overheating, or maybe excessive motion.
    6. Be gentle. Others might be have better advice.
    7. Unless you bought applecare, your warranty expired 1 year from purchase.
  3. NewMacbookPlz macrumors 68040


    Sep 28, 2008
    As far as recovery, you can try picking up an external usb/firewire enclosure, and see if you can mount the drive that way.

    As to why the drive died, it just happens. Could be from getting bumped around in a backpack, could be just a cruddy unit. If you don't have Applecare, don't count on getting it replaced for free.
  4. raremage macrumors 6502a

    Nov 21, 2005
    Orlando, Florida
    With regard to recovering data from the failed drive - how did it fail? Did the system try to boot and then fail with multiple read failures? Are there any nasty grinding sounds? Or what? The way it failed would influence the way I'd try to get at the data.

    There are utilities that can try to read from a failed drive, you'll need to mount it as a secondary drive (typically via an external enclosure, as someone else mentioned).

    If you can't read from it, you can try removing it from the enclosure and tapping it a bit on the floor (or better yet, garage floor, meaning concrete). Then try remounting it.

    Finally, there are recovery services available, but they can be pretty expensive. Do a quick search for failed hard drive recovery. The drive manufacturer may also offer a recovery service - Seagate has one, for example. The value of the data will typically define if it is worth the investment.
  5. headhunter thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 12, 2009
    i had the machine left running in my room, came back in to find a blank white screen and no response. it handnt recieved any bumps etc - i dont move it round much to be honest. it failed whilst sitting perfectly still on my desk with no signs of overheating etc. turned it on and off a few times and just got the blank screen with the question mark. i can hear clicking as if its tring to read it but failing. itll keep clicking for a while then stop, then i get the question mark. it also gives off a grinding/whining noise sometimes also.

    i have an external enclosure. if i plug it into another machine through usb - mounting as a secondary drive has been mentioned a few times - how exactly do i go about doing this?
    also tapping against a concrete floor/freezing it? do they work?

    as for installing leopard - i think my machine was the last one made before leopard was introduced - has different keyboard layout and fan vents to the leopard one - does this mean i cant use leopard on it then??

    this seems to be a common enough problem with macs judging by the amount of threads on the topic. the hd make is hitachi - are they particulary unreliable? what is the best one to go for when buying a new one?

    thanks a million guys for the help so far
  6. NewMacbookPlz macrumors 68040


    Sep 28, 2008
    Seeing as you have an external enclosure, just put your HDD in, connect it via USB, and see if it can be seen/read by another computer. Also, you can install leopard just fine, seeing how you have an intel based computer (macbook as opposed to iBook, and it will run just fine).

    The reason it "appears common" is because people will only post when something bad happens to their hard drive. Nobody's going to make a thread titled "My HD hasn't died yet!" :p
  7. raremage macrumors 6502a

    Nov 21, 2005
    Orlando, Florida
    That repeated clicking and/or grinding noise is evidence of a failed drive. It happens. The clicking is repeated attempts to read from the drive.

    On both OS X and WinXP/Vista, if the drive is readable, it should mount automatically when you plug in the USB. If not, you can't read from it. Having said that, there are utilities that will let you boot from a different device (CD usually) that can attempt to read from an IDE or SATA device. Only done this on Windows boxes, so can't speak to it working or not working using a Mac equivalent. You boot from the CD after adding the drive to an IDE / SATA connection and in some cases can recover data.
    Sometimes. Depends on how the drive crashed. If you are getting clicking/grinding sounds, there's little chance you will do any additional damage by tapping it to try and unhang something.

    Nope, you can still upgrade to Leopard, and eventually to Snow Leopard and beyond.
    It's common on all systems, across all platforms - not just Apple. A few years ago, for example, I think it was Toshiba that made a massive recall of drives. Seagate has been known to formally recognize a problem with a particular manufacturing batch and extend their warranties. Having said that, I personally prefer a Seagate or WD drive, but I'm not too convinced that a particular manufacturer or another is necessarily a beter bet these days. All drive manufacturers have failures. Taking a quick peek at Tom's Hardware shows that both WD and Seagate get the highest ratings by a wide margin.

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