Trouble with bootable external FW HD?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by betsbillabong, Dec 21, 2008.

  1. betsbillabong macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2004
    Hi everyone,

    Is it bad to boot repeatedly off of an external HD?

    Two or three months ago I bought a 250GB laptop drive and a portable FW enclosure for it, because I was really short on space. I intended to put the drive in my G4 powerbook, but ran out of time and then money, so since then I have been using the 250GB as my main drive, working from it, etc, booting it externally. (I cloned my internal HD, then brought all of my music, etc, over to it).

    Over the past month, its performance has been degrading. Startups were very slow, etc. The low point came when I was giving a museum lecture last week and it refused to start at all - just got stuck on the gray apple screen. I restarted several times but to no avail. Kind of a nightmare! I have a lot of presentations to do in the next few months. I realize I could (and probably should) just run them off of the internal HD, but I really prefer having all the space.

    So last night I went in and did a whole bunch of work - ran Disk Warrior, primarily, which found that the HD was 40% out of order and rebuilt the directory successfully (twice, to 0%), and also cleared out library cache, ran crons, etc. It took me a long time but by the end of the night and all day today, I was happy; the whole computer seemed to be running snappier, and startup was less than a minute.

    Then I got home tonight and restarted the computer. It started up quickly, but got stuck at Finder... each time it began to load, it would disappear and then relaunch, as if I was manually relaunching Finder over and over again. After about ten or twelve times, I did a hard reboot. It took forever (okay, 5-6 minutes) to start up again, but it did.

    I can't afford this happening on a consistent basis. Everything is backed up, but I need to know that the computer will turn on right away. Part of me wonders if it's the HD itself, while another part wonders whether it's the external booting that's responsible for the troubles, while a third part wonders whether I've done something to the HD by booting it repeatedly from the external FW enclosure. (Call me Sybil). I can't tell its S.M.A.R.T. status since it's external. How do I know if it's the hardware that's bad? Should I ask for a new drive from the manufacturer? I do eventually want to put the big drive into my Powerbook, but not if it's going bad, obviously.

    Ideas? This is making me very nervous.


    PS Running a G4 Powerbook 1.5 with OS10.4.11

    PPS I am a dead broke graduate student, so a new computer for me is not in the cards. Also, the internal original 80GB drive runs fine! Always starts up right away. Never a problem. If only it had more space...
  2. BlueRevolution macrumors 603


    Jul 26, 2004
    Montreal, QC
    Nope. I ran exclusively off an external for months. You should be able to replace the hard drive yourself if you're careful, though.

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