Troubling sounds from inside my Powerbook

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by danielrobot, Oct 16, 2005.

  1. danielrobot macrumors newbie

    Apr 26, 2005
    Hi there,

    as of today, my 12in G4 Powerbook has been behaving oddly. I'm guesstimating that the problems are hard drive related - which is worrying. What's been happening is programs have been hanging, and there's been a nasty mechanical knocking coming from under the bottom left in front of the keyboard, where I assume the hard drive is. It's intermittent - I'm using the thing now. Could be a loose connection - or something more serious? Or less serious, hopefully?

    I've run the Maintainence automator action and it repaired a lot of permissions. Also, the hard drive has been getting full lately. Could they be factors?

    There is an Apple vendor in my town, but I'd like to avoid the hassle and expense of visiting them if the problem can be easily solved, so I thought I'd come here and see if anyone had advice.

    Thanks in advance for any help.
  2. tech4all macrumors 68040


    Jun 13, 2004
    Check the SMART status under Disk Utility, does it say Verified or Failing? Nonetheless, might be a good idea to back up your data.....just incase.

    Oh yeah, how big is your HD and how much space is free? (you mentioned you were low on space)
  3. danielrobot thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 26, 2005
    It now says failing - it didn't earlier. In fact, it's reported a fatal hardware error. Terrific.

    Still working at the moment though - I'm working on backing up. It's 60gb, and currently has 7.3 available.

    Any thoughts? Is this as final as it sounds?
  4. danielrobot thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 26, 2005
    Just to update - Disk Utility now tells that SMART status is verified. Still backing up furiously. Found a few corruptions in files too - jpegs distorted, that sort of thing.

    Is there a chance this drive is saveable, or is it all over? I'm kind of thrown by the intermittent nature of the problem - and as this is my first Mac, I'm not used to problem solving with the Powerbook.

    (I've thrown away plenty of destroyed windows drives in my time, mind. :rolleyes: )

    I didn't give much detail earlier (I was panicking slightly), but we're talking about a g4 powerbook, 60gb hard drive, 1.25gb ram, running Tiger with the latest update.

    Thanks again.
  5. danielrobot thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 26, 2005
    Hi, sorry to keep bumping this, I wouldn't normally but I'd really appreciate some experienced reassurance/advice on this...

    Things today seem to have returned to relative normality. I've backed up everything that's important, deleted a load of stuff, repaired permissions and such. SMART status is now verified, and most things seem to be working fine (although I'm steering clear of anything intensive at the moment).

    So I'm in a bit of a situation, where I don't know if this is a good or a bad thing. The hard drive was reporting a fatal error yesterday; now everything's fine. Is it likely to stay fine though? When things started going wrong, it had been left on for over a week - could overheating have caused a temporary glitch, and I've gotten away with it? Something else I don't know about it? Is this a common thing?

    If there's something I need to do to prevent a full on crash I'd rather do it now than wait for the sky to fall in, but I don't really know which way to go at the moment.

    As I said, sorry if it's annoying seeing this up the top again, I spent the morning searching but couldn't come up with anything that matched my problem.

    All advice gratefully received. Cheers, daniel.
  6. Demon Hunter macrumors 68020

    Mar 30, 2004
    Is your PowerBook still under warranty? If it is, I would absolutely send it for repairs first thing.

    To answer some of your questions... leaving it on for a week shouldn't cause drive failure. It depends of course, on how hot the laptop really was, if the fans didn't turn on, etc. But typically this would cause damage over months, not in the course of a week.

    It's really strange that it's Verified now, but I wouldn't trust that. There is clearly something wrong with the drive, even if it's just a fraction of the sectors. It may be working now because you aren't accessing those sectors. The mechanical knocking is the giveaway... hard-drives can die abruptly or in stages, but there's no doubt in my mind, your drive is not healthy. "The light always burns brightest before burning out."

    You could certainly try your luck and just use your laptop until it fails. Just make sure you backup like mad!
  7. Lacero macrumors 604


    Jan 20, 2005
    It's terrific ain't it. You may want to check out my thread on the same issue.
  8. danielrobot thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 26, 2005
    Thanks guys - that pretty much tells me what I didn't want to know! Time for a new harddrive, and some new screwdrivers by the sounds of things.

    I'm going away for a couple of days tomorrow, so Lacero I guess you've got the headstart on taking your Powerbook to pieces. I've bookmarked your thread and will keep an eye on how you get on...

    Cheers for the replies.

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