iBook Harware Woes? Help please!

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by wjones, Sep 22, 2005.

  1. wjones macrumors member

    Oct 25, 2004
    I've been such a happy PB owner for a year now.. that I've convinced 8 of my friends to go mac as well. Which I thought was great! but now people are starting to have problems with them:

    The machine in question is an iBook (14" 1Ghz combo drive -256M RAM soldered on- no ram in upgrade slot).

    A few months ago, I had a number of issues with it:
    iTunes file corruption
    a significant number of beachballs that lasted a couple min. or more
    frequent random programs shutting down

    Here's posts I made when I was fixing it the last time:


    SOOO this time, the machine was given to me- running crazy slow.
    no crashing programs, but CRAZY slow. The owner said that it has been gradually getting worse for that past few weeks. When I got it- it wouldn't boot up completely. It would show the desktop picture, and the mouse cursor and would be otherwise stuck.

    I booted from the OSX install disk, and repaired permissions. This took a while, but it fixed it enough for me to be able to boot up again.

    I then tried to backup his data to my firewire drive: about 4 Gigs of information needed to be backed up, and it was a long process. The machine was still running slow, so the first attempt to move the data grinded for about 6 hours, before giving up with less than half if it done. The next 5 attempts to back up the data had very similar results. However, the 7th try started slow, then sped on up to what I would consider the proper speed. The backup completed successfully!

    Next I ran the hardware test- everything passed.

    Next I zapped the PRAM.

    Next I tried to format and install tiger. It was installing, but was going SLOW (much like the backup). After about 6 hours of slow and steady installation- it encoutered an error and quit. (it was about 80% done)

    Next I tried to format and install Panther from the original iBook disks. I let it run all night, only to find it stuck this morning while installing Internet Explorer.

    This has got to be some kind of hardware error, but the hardware test turns up nothing! Perhaps he's got a hard drive that's super-slow and it caused these data transfers to crawl and fail. Maybe there's a small gnome or gerbil inside the iBook playing a cruel prank on the owner and me. I'm stuck!

    If anyone has any experience with this sort of problem (or is an expert on gnomes and gerbils) I could use some help!

  2. wdlove macrumors P6


    Oct 20, 2002
    Sounds to me like the iBook could use more RAM. RAM would definitely increase performance.
  3. wjones thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 25, 2004

    Thanks for the reply- but shouldn't OSX install just fine with 256M of RAM? Granted, a RAM upgrade is a good idea, but I don't think lack of RAM is keeping me from installing OSX.

    I think the problem I was having while backing up the machine (crazy slow data transfer and failures), is the same problem I'm having installing OSX. In both cases, data transfers are about 10 times too slow, and sometimes fail.

    I'm now doing research on ring-tailed lemurs, I'm thinking that one of those might be in the machine.

  4. Jigglelicious macrumors 6502


    Apr 25, 2004
    It sounds to me like either one of two things are happening - either there is a logic board failure, which can either be just a general failure or heat related, or more likely, the hard drive is dying. Do you hear the hard drive making any odd sounds, like a repetative clicking or clunking? Have you checked the SMART status of the drive under disk utility? OS X can have corrupt installs which can cause slowdowns and other general strangeness, but a fresh install or OS X should clear everything up. The fact that you can't even GET OS X to install means that there is a more serious hardware problem.

    Its time to call Apple and get it looked at.
  5. lexfuzo macrumors 6502

    Mar 15, 2005
    The heart of Europe
    256MB is definitely not enough for OSX being fun to use, but it doesn't cause those problems either.
  6. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Apr 3, 2004
    Adelaide, Australia
    I think Jigglelicious is onto something. It sounds like a hardware failure and I can probably narrow it down to logic board or hard drive. However, is anything plugged into the iBook? What peripherals do you have?
  7. Scarlet Fever macrumors 68040

    Scarlet Fever

    Jul 22, 2005
    For backups, start up the iBook in Target Disk Mode; connect the two Macs with a firewire cable, and restart the problem iBook while holding the T key. The HDD should show up on the recipient computer as a removable media source.
    As for fixing the problem, it could be that the HDDs are getting old. My G3 iMac did that on me. It may be that there is too much 'stuff' on the HDD. Try cleaning up the HDD in Target Disk Mode and see how it goes
  8. yenko macrumors 6502a

    Aug 29, 2005
    Are you using "Tiger" or "Panther" ??? :confused:

    How full is your drive??? :eek:
  9. wjones thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 25, 2004
    Thanks for the replies!

    I agree with Jigglelicious, I think it has to be a hardware issue- either logicboard or HD most likely.

    As far as backing up: You'll see in my post- that I have already done that successfully. But I'll use the target disk method in the future... thanks!

    As for what OS I have and how full my hard disk is: You'll see in my post that I have now formatted my HD twice- so hard drive space isn't an issue. I did those two formats as part of failed tiger and then pather installations. Before the first format the machine was running Panther.


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