Hard drive or computer failure?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by jefflawlessbrow, Jan 6, 2008.

  1. jefflawlessbrow macrumors newbie

    Jan 6, 2008
    I left my house with my iBook G3 on and running. When I returned, the screen was on and the windows all still up, but if I tried to do anything at all it would give me the spin wheel of death (OS 10.3). Also, the computer was making a horrid grinding noise which immediately made me think of hard drive failure.

    I turned the computer off by holding down the power key. I tried to start it again, and a weird knocking noise came from where the hard drive is. Sometimes I get simply a grey screen, other times I get a grey screen with the flashing finder folder upon start up.

    I tried clearing pram and just letting the computer sit with no battery or power for a few minutes, no luck. I also tried booting off the system disc. This does not work. I hold down 'c' and it starts to boot and I get the grey screen with the apple logo on it for about 30 seconds to a minute, then the apple changes to a circle with a line through it like the no smoking signs.

    Is it the hard drive that failed, or a more internal issue with the computer?
    Is the data salvageable at all?
    Any advice?

    The one thing I have left that I was going to try was to install an OS on an external hard drive I got for christmas (what timing, too bad I went out of town and didn't have time to back up my laptop before I left...). I was hoping I could boot off of the exernal drive, hopefully hopefully hopefully it would recognize my failing drive and I would be able to run disk utility or try to save at least some of the data. Also, then I could still use the iBook without buying a new laptop drive.

    Would this work?
    Any other suggestions?
  2. linuxophile macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2005

    Sounds like (!) a busted HD.
    I think all is lost but in case, you can try the following.

    Remove the HD (if you know how to do!).
    Install new OS on external and boot; if it works then you know for sure it was a bad HD (90% chance).

    If you need to recover files, that is tricky unless done professionally.
    You should buy a drive enclosure and put the old HD in the freezer (in a airtight ziplog bag). When cold a failing HD can still give some juice; stick it into the enclosure and QUICKLY backup all you need, starting from the most important. Failure is impending and the operation may not be repeatable more than twice.

    Google around for proper advice in case of failing HDs.

    Do not try to use the HD if it is failing until you are ready to attempt recovery; it makes the situation worse.

    EDIT: to be able to boot off an external HD, this must be connected via firewire (not USB). I hope you ordered the right model! (I use LaCie, that have multiple interfaces)
  3. jefflawlessbrow thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 6, 2008
    Well that stinks, I have a USB external western digital drive. Any idea why it wouldn't boot off of the system cd though? Does the cd still require a mountable hard drive to boot?

    thanks man!
  4. linuxophile macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2005
    Ouch, didn't read that. Maybe the CD is also busted? Or the system disk is too new and does not recognize a G3?

    Sorry buddy, looks like it is really screwed up, but maybe the failing HD confuses the computer and it hangs (but for my understanding of technology, it should boot off the CD).
  5. jefflawlessbrow thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 6, 2008
    The CD works on other computers including a G3 tower I have... this really sucks though I'm losing my college application essays and everything. Gotta hope Simutek (the local mac computer store) can save it for me, it's worth paying professionals on this one at this point unless anyone has any other miracle ideas out there.
  6. jefflawlessbrow thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 6, 2008
    Ok so I found a company that will give me a free estimate and if recovery is possible will charge $150-1,200 depending on the failure of the drive and what's going on. This company is lazarus, their web site is down right now but it's usually lazarus.com. Anyone know of any companies that are better deals or that can be personally recommended?

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