Internal Hard Drive Recognition Problem

Discussion in 'macOS' started by mms, Oct 26, 2005.

  1. mms macrumors 6502a

    Oct 8, 2003
    Recently my 1G iMac G5 running Tiger kernel panicked during a restart after Software Update. When rebooted, it didn't recognize the system and instead showed a folder with a flashing question mark. I started off the Tiger install DVD and ran Disk Utility, to no avail. I then connected it to my iBook via Firewire target mode and started transferring files from the iMac to the iBook.

    The problem came when I returned several hours later and found that the Finder on my iBook had died, quitting but not relaunching as it should have. I rebooted the iBook and reattempted to connect the iMac using Firewire target mode and found that the internal drive for the iMac was no longer recognized. Its internal Superdrive was recognized and the iMac did come up with the flashing Firewire icon on the screen. However, no matter what computer I connected to, the internal iMac hard drive was not recognized. When I booted it off the Tiger install DVD, it again did not recognize the hard drive and would not let me reinstall on it.

    What can I do short of calling Apple for a replacement? Are there some things I can do to try to get the hard drive recognized? And finally, are hard drives apt to fail so suddenly and quickly as it did?
  2. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    First of all, what you're describing sounds very much like a mechanical failure, not a software issue--it would explain all of the behavior you've seen.

    Something to try (unless you already noted this) is when started up from the Tiger install disc, when you launch Disk Utility, to check down at the bottom when you select the disk and see if it says "SMART Status: Verified" -- if it's anything but "Verified", the disk is dying (did you look at this before?). In your case, if the disk doesn't show up at all in the list now, then it's already dead.

    You can also pop in the Hardware Test disc that came with your iMac and see what it says--it'll usually identify a faulty hard drive.

    One thing to try if it does seem dead is to turn the computer off and let it sit for a few hours, then try again--sometimes when a hard drive failure is related to an overheating part, letting it cool can get you a few extra minutes of time to get your most valuable data off of it (this is where the "freezer trick" you'll hear people talk about comes from--chilling the drive to get more time, which worked for me once on an old Maxtor, though it's usually more dangerous than it's worth).

    Past that, assuming it is a hardware issue, if you can willingly part with whatever's on it, there's naught but to call in for a warranty replacement--you may be able to get one shipped to you to replace yourself, if you're confident enought to do that (it's easy), which'll save you some time on the turnaround.

    If, on the other hand, it *does* show up in Disk Utility, then maybe it's not dying, or dead yet anyway. In that case, try to repair it using Disk Utility, and if that fails and you REALLY need the data off of it, Data Rescue is a bit pricey but is remarkably good at saving data from otherwise unreadable disks--it saved my bacon once years back. Then reformat and see if it checks out ok, otherwise replacement time.

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