*$#&%^%(*&!!!! (Or why I'm annoyed at apple's laptops)

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Joined: May 6 2005
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I'm sitting here typing this message on our home server (a horrible dual P3 with the Dell "unquietKey" Keyboard).

This is due to the fact that my 11.5 month old 12 inch G4 has just crashed the hard disc. It's so badly damadged that the drive now emits a horrible metalic sound when I start the machine up, and fails to recognise any system software. It doesn't even boot into mac OS so I can't boot -v and then fsck.

This is the sixth apple portable that I've had now over the past four years and every one of them has gone wrong. I've not got a bone to pick with Apple in general since they produce such nice kit (I've now owned well over 30 mac desktops and not had a problem with a single one) and a fantastic OS to run with them (I've got system 6.0 right up till OS X Tiger) - but my experience with the laptops is that for every Apple laptop machine I have owned or known of in the last four years I have been shown it going wrong.

I know laptops aren't meant to be as good as desktops - but having components fail on me so quickly really doesn't make me want to replace it with another Mac.

Has anyone else experienced this Hard drive issue? I think it sounds like a bearing has gone in the drive and so the platter is now out of kilter. I'd suggest that it was the result of a drop in normal situations - but the machine was on the desktop and suddenly started to make this horrible sound!

Since I use my Powerbook for my work (I'm self employed) I'm considering going to the desktops and getting an entry level iMac....

Frustrated of Bristol
(aka Nikki)

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catmistake's picture
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Joined: Dec 20 2003
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yes

I had what sounds like the exact same issue. Mine started less than a month after purchase... just as you describe, a metalic scraping noise. I called AppleCare and was preparing to be without a computer for a week or two.

I let the computer sit all day and all night while on, and, amazingly, it seemed to work itself out. No more scraping, no more crashes. I cancelled the AppleCare.

About 6 months after the 1 year warranty ended, the HD died for good. I lost a lot of data, but I can't blame Apple. I blame myself for not backing up, I blame myself for not sending the laptop in for a HD replacement when I had the chance, I blame myself for not purchasing 3 more years of AppleCare, and I blame Toshiba for making such a POS drive. I replaced the drive with a 100GB Seagate with a 5yr warrranty.

Don't make the mistake I did. Apple got a bad batch of drives, its not their fault. You still have time to get this in under the original AppleCare 1 year warranty... send it in, get the HD replaced... and STRONGLY consider extending your AppleCare for 3 more years... its worth it.

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Joined: May 6 2005
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Hmmm. I should consider th

Hmmm.

I should consider the applecare warranty I guess. It just seems rather expensive when you consider the cost of a new HD. I guess though that other nastier things can go wrong eh? Wink

The data is lost. I'm pretty darned sure of it. It's no-longer even starting up Sad - though I may try it now it's been left a while and had a chance to sort itself out Wink

---OOOOH! Got it to boot into verbose mode Smile (this is good methinks!)

I shall report back on this one. If I can get it to boot I'll transfer my files over Smile

(This may have saved my life!)

Thanks! Smile

N

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iantm's picture
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Joined: Apr 2 2005
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PowerBook hard drives

Unfortunately, since Apple doesn't make the hard drives, it's not really an Apple QA issue. Apple used to use IBM/Hitachi drives extensively in iBooks/PowerBooks, but due to some quality issues, they lessened their use, using more Toshiba and Fujitsu mechanisms. Apple's been trying to address the hard drive issues. Ironically, now that Apple has lessened their dependance on IBM/Hitachi drives, they've improved. I'd recommend taking advantage of this bad situation as an excuse to upgrade your hard drive. If you have a local Apple reseller, they may be able to work something out where you can do the warranty repair and trade in the new repair part hard drive on a newer, bigger hard drive. Since they're going to be in there anyway, may as well make it worth your while.

I'd recommend against Fujitsu and Toshiba mechanisms (if you're going to upgrade), they seem to have the highest failure rate of Apple's OEM drives right now. Seagate, Western Digital, and Hitachi are solid buys though.

- iantm

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Joined: May 6 2005
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You know I'm tempted by an up

You know I'm tempted by an upgrade. I've managed to get the thing to boot into the verbose single user mode - but any further than that seems impossible Sad

Nikki

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Think of it as an impetus to upgrade . . .

. . . and replace your HD with a larger and faster one. It's too bad to read about the quality of Toshiba drives going down, though.

CompUSA had a decent sale on 100GB 5400RPM 2.5" Seagate laptop drives a couple of months back and I took advantage. (I think with rebate, sale price, and tax it came to about $175 total). Keep your eyes peeled. I think that there will be some great sales after christmas.

Mutant_Pie

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If it's partially working. . . can you back it up?

With the disk repair/utilities on the OSX install disk, can you recover your data?

Mutant_Pie

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Joined: Dec 17 2005
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okay here's the deal

parts break, wear out, that's what they do, your fan will stop working, your HD will crash, you ram will die, that's how it goes. no brand is perfect, I work on almost EVERY single brand out there, and there's no perfect machine out there, I personally wouldn't touch a Compaq with a 10 foot firewire cable, but you can't really say "so so makes junk systems" Apple doesn't make the 1st component for their portables, I think there are about 4 or 5 companies in SE Asia that make all the portables for all companies.

Just my 2 cents

coius's picture
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crap

out of curriosity, I looked in my system profiler. I have a toshiba. I just hope it doesn't go out soon....

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I'm not 100% blaming apple. Y

I'm not 100% blaming apple. Yes,I should have backed up (but as I said - the important stuff is backed up!) Smile

I've managed (through exhaustive single user /fsck cycles) to get the thing booted. I've got the GUI et all. All I need to do now is find some space large enough to handle all the backups I need to do. Obviously the drive is screwed, so I'm going to back up NOW!

Nikki

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chris501's picture
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Joined: Apr 5 2005
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uh oh...

got a toshiba drive too in my 12 inch powerbook... hm, it's already 2 years old and besides of a broken keyboard (some keys don't work anymore) everything is running fine, no metallic scraping noise nor any other from that good old hard drive.

hope that situation doesn't change in a while, got a lot of work data on it Wink

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Joined: Mar 20 2005
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HD enclosure

Sorry to hear about your powerbook. I just bought my third Powerbook in 5 years (refurb'ed 17in) and I'll keep an eye on the hard drive.

I had a G3 Pismo that I upgraded the drive to a 20 GB drive a few years back. I was cleaning up my desk when I found the original 6 GB drive. I purchased a firewire drive enclosure on ebay for $15 and use it to store movies when I travel.

If you don't want to walk away from your HD, buy another HD and an inexpensive drive enclosure. You can use it as cheap drive storage until it dies.

If you are like me and never shut you computer down, you might want to set the computer to spin down the HD when idle for more than say... 30 minutes. No need to flying around over 5000 rpm when not in use.

iamdigitalman's picture
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Joined: Mar 2 2004
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I can relate.

damn that sux. My mom's wintel laptop (Toshiba Sattilite 1.8ghz celeron) had a 30gb toshiba HDD in it. it just failed RIGHT AFTER her 3 year warrenty was up. I kept urging her to back it up. she did on occasion. but not enough. she lost ALOT of papers and stuff for shcool. And, I had a 20gb fail in my old Compaq a while ack.

but, she took it to the geek squad, and they loaded her up with a new Segate 60gb with a 5 year warrenty. put a freash copy of (ick) Windows XP on it. it now loads faster than when she had it brand new back in 2002.

oh, should I be worried about my Fijustu 4.85gb drive in my wallstreet? it runs great now, but I prolly should fit a larger one in it. I have a spare IBM Travelstar 20gb which I just formatted to use in my compaq, but it can be initilized to Mac file systems.

oh, and here are 2 methods to recover data off a failing hard drive:

remove the platters (carefully), and place them in a known working drive, and recover yor data, or:

place the drive in the freezer for 24 hours. put it in your laptop, or better yet: a desktop with a converter. the read access will be slow, but you should have enough time to back up your data.

both of those methods work. I havnt done anything to my mom's 30gb yet, but they have worked on some older mechanisims.

and remember: "Data is ALWAYS more important than hardware." -me

hope this helps. -digital Wink

catmistake's picture
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re: single user mode

This is the same thing mine did... I booted into single user mode, and ran fsck and it may have come back with keys out of place or something... not very helpful...

But if you can boot into single-user mode, you may be able to have it boot into fw target mode, and if so, you may be able to get the data off there using another computer with fw (I was able to boot into fw target mode, and I could see directories, but I still couldn't get any data off).

Its worth a try... but regardless, send it back to Apple, have them replace the drive, and make note of anything else, like scratches or screen blemishes, and while its out for repair, get a 100GB 5400 Seagate Momentus (has the 5 year warranty, @$120, replacing the drive yourself isn't that hard, if you don't get extended AppleCare, the warranty you're voiding on the pb is nearly over anyway).

Here's one for $124.99

Here's one for $129

/edit/
whoops... looks like those auctions ended... so watch this site for deals, and try to resist getting anything but a seagate. Yes, Western Digital and Hitachi make fine products... but they only have the 3 year warranty at most, and maybe even only a 1 year warranty. No one beats Seagate's 5 year warranty

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Noise level

One question: is this Seagate quiet? I do care about this issue, and by the way I'm very satisfied with the low noise level of the Hitachi 5400RPM disk presently working in my iBook - which is pratically silent Smile

Roberto Giannotta
Trieste, Italy

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I've just seen a 5400 120 Seg

I've just seen a 5400 120 Segate drive on a UK mac site for 197gbp. http://www.macheaven.co.uk/?page=proddetail&prod=7675

I may just go this route as it will increase the disc size of the laptop by 40 GB.

At the moment though I'm conentrating on getting the data off the laptop. Of course, I can't use Carbon Copy Cloner to get the files off the drive since it's not got any firewire drives or USB drives connected to it (grr!)

An option I'm exploring is to get a new desktop 80GB drive and then just copy the whole thing using a firewire card and firewire target disc mode.

Having said that - I think the data recovery portion of TechTool Pro 4 is going to let me save data off the drive onto a network volume. (That may be of great advantage!)

N

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Good news everybody!

Well, I either sound very scary on the phone or I used my female Mac Geek charm on the Applecare/Customer service people as I'm getting a G5 desktop to replace the powerbook. I'm happy Smile

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catmistake's picture
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Holy Schneikies!!

Quote:

I'm getting a G5 desktop to replace the powerbook

Man! I've never heard of this! Its madness, I tell you! Madness!

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Joined: Dec 12 2005
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my dead PB drives

I've been a PowerBook fanatic since I stole my dad's PowerBook 1xx (I was too young to remember which one it was) around 1993...then I stole his PowerBook 1400, Wallstreet, and I'm currently stealing his TiBook 667/DV.

I've gone through THREE HARD DRIVES in the TiBook and one in the WallStret...is this a sign of declining quality control?

I don't think so. I think there are two other likely reasons for this:

1) the hard drive holds 100x as it used to: this means there are 100x more bits of data to ruin: obviously everything is much smaller and more compressed than it was back in the day, at the expense of being less indestructable

2) I am not sure if this one may be more true for only me or for everyone, but I use my PB much more NOW than I did in the the 1990s. Now that PowerBooks are truly replacements for their desk-bound compatriots, I am using it a lot more and in a lot more places. Now my PowerBook is ALWAYS thrown in my backpack being jostled around and going through the same daily beatings of life that slowly turn my binders into tattered pieces of pulp.

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A (partial) CURE IS ON THE WAY

Now that all 'Books shipping have SMS (no not the text message, the Sudden Motion Sensor), perhaps we'll destroy them less.

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coius's picture
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Re: A (partial) CURE IS ON THE WAY

Janus wrote:

Now that all 'Books shipping have SMS (no not the text message, the Sudden Motion Sensor), perhaps we'll destroy them less.

Actually, I have seen some people use that as a poor excuse for abusing them Tongue

I try to protect mine as much as possible, as I cannot afford a new one every 2-3 years. I only buy what I need and for about 4 years in advance. So, I get the highest end (screen size is not a concern for me) and am happy with it. But I like to keep mine in shape. I hardly did anything to the last one, and it still broke a lot (the infamous iBook 900Mhz G3) *shudders*

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Coius, I feel your pain. I do

Coius, I feel your pain. I don't get the absolute top of the line but I save a big premium that way:

PowerBook 1xx (1993-7)
PowerBook 1400c/133 (1997-9) ok I got lucky with this one
PowerBook G3/266 WallStreet (1999-2002)
PowerBook G4/667 Ti DVI (2002-sometime in 2006) (the low-end Combo drive one, not the SuperDrive one)

Now I anxiously wait the i(ntel)Book

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After being completely withou

After being completely without a mac for a few days I'm hoping it'll not be long before I get the nice new G5. I have actually had a lot of bad luck with the powerbook and iBook lines and made that perfectly clear to the customer service representative.

Moral of the story: When 'phoning apple make it blatently clear you're not happy and want to speak to a customer service representative. Smile

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