Replacing PowerBook G4 hard disk

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Stardotboy, Jun 22, 2008.

  1. Stardotboy macrumors regular

    Jan 30, 2008
    Manchester, UK
    Could really use some advice on a PowerBook problem! Unfortunately the PowerBook in question (12" G4) belongs to my mum who lives a fair distance away, so I've not been able to do any 'hands on' diagnostics.

    Basically she was using the machine yesterday when it randomly started emitting a high pitched squeaking/scratching sound (she described it as screaming though, bless). She called me and I asked her to turn it off - gave it a couple of minutes and asked her to try turning it on again. When she did the computer immediately started making the same noises (even before the startup 'bong' sound). Today one of her friends who is a little tech savvy took a look at it, and figured it must be the hard drive. Fortunately he was able to retrieve all of the important data from the computer whilst enduring ear-splitting screeching.

    1. Does it sound like the problem really is the hard drive? It does to me, though I'm not an expert - however would hate to waste money on a replacement drive to find out that wasn't the problem in the first place.

    2. Is it worth replacing the drive? Any idea how much it would cost to replace the disk? Is it something that could be done by myself, or would we need to find a specialist repair person to do it? Would it likely be more cost effective to get a new laptop?

    The money issue is pretty key as she's in something of a tight spot at the moment, so trying to find the cheapest solution that will get her computer working again asap. As she lives in a rural area and is housebound her laptop is very much a lifeline for her, so would be good to get it sorted.

    Any advice would be very much appreciated.
  2. gehrbox macrumors 65816


    Jul 5, 2007
    There aren't many moving parts in a Powerbook. If the sound is not from the speakers then it is either a fan, the DVD or HDD. If there is no disk in the DVD then it is not likely to be that. The fans are not very big so while they can make noise it would not likely be very loud. I think you would be able to easily tell if you are getting an odd noise from the speakers. So most likely the HDD.

    Some of the Apple notebooks can be challenging to take apart. Google powerbook g4 12" disassemble or hard drive replacement to get an idea what you are in for.
  3. lord patton macrumors 65816

    lord patton

    Jun 6, 2005
    go to to see instructions for replacing the hard drive. The Powerbook will take any IDE or PATA 2.5" hard drive.

    Being in the UK you wouldn't want to order from here, but you can take a look to see what is available:

    It's not easy to do it yourself, and you need the right tools. But if your mom knows someone who is moderately tach savvy, it can be done.
  4. Finlandboy macrumors 6502


    Oct 14, 2007
    Indianapolis, IN
    the same thing happened to my 12 in. g4 also, although mine was more of a dull rubbing noise compared to a sharp screeching noise,

    if u don't think it is the HDD (even though i think it is) try booting from an External HDD or even a linux cd and not use the HDD and see if the comp. still makes the noise

    but anyways i got a replacement hard drive off the net and used to replace it myself and it was good as new, it took me maybe 40 minutes to replace it, it wasn't the easiest thing in the world but anyone who is moderately tech. knowledgeable will have no trouble, not to mention that if u get a 5400 rpm HDD compared to the stock 4200 rpm HDD u will see a pretty big performance boost

    best of luck
  5. dakmary macrumors newbie

    Jun 16, 2008
    I just have this problem. I took it to apple store and they said it is the HDD.. :(

    it will cost you more than $300 to fix it at Apple store. the maintenance guy recommended me to fix it outside apple store, it will cost less, and I'll get a bigger capacity..

    Good luck

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