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Apple Notebooks Apple's notebook computers including MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, PowerBook, and iBook.

Possible Hard Drive Problems - Diagnostics?


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domtrump

 
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I've used this MacBook 2,1 (Intel) for a few years without any issues. It has always had very snappy response and very few problems. Earlier this week, I noticed that it takes about 4 minutes to boot up now as opposed to the 30 seconds it used to take just a week ago. Once running, Safari also tends to be unresponsive at times and slow to load. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that during boot up, I can HEAR the hard drive give off some "clicks" and faint "beeps" (for lack of a more technical description). In my experience with Windows machines, this is often a sign of hard drive problems.

With Vista, I can run a CHKDSK and fix the drive by taking the bad sectors out of the mix. I am trying to figure out how to best diagnose and repair my drive on this Mac. I tried booting from the Snow Leopard DVD and running Disk Utility/First Aid to find the problem, but this utility reports that everything is fine and dandy. I am not sure I agree.

Can someone tell me of a more powerful tool for the Mac that will fully diagnose any hardware or software problems on this machine so I can get it back to tip top performance. Is there a diagnostic utility provided by Apple? Other utilities built in to Snow Leopard? Third party applications? (I looked at TechTool Pro but $98 is pretty steep. Plus you can't download it. Looking for something closer to $0 that I can get right away.)

I've tried holding down "d" during a restart with the Snow Leopard DVD in the drive in hopes of launching Apple Hardware Test, but the Mac just starts up normally every time.

As I have never had problems with a Mac before, I am in uncharted waters with regard to diagnostics so if anyone can help, I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks!

MacBook2,1 Mac OS X (10.6.3) Vista 32 Ultimate/Parallels 5
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chscag

 
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Neither Disk Utility FSCK nor the Apple Hardware Test is a positive way at picking up on a disk that's getting ready to fail. Both tests may or may not show anything at all. The "human" test is the best test. And by that I mean your sense.... Clicking, slow downs, etc, and plus the fact the machine is several years old, are good indicators.

Rather than repairing the drive, it's best to swap it out. And the time to do that is now while it's still functioning. Make a good backup with Time Machine or use cloning software - SuperDuper, Carbon Copy Cloner. New hard drives are inexpensive and swapping one out in a MacBook is an easy DIY job.

Regards.
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domtrump

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chscag View Post
Neither Disk Utility FSCK nor the Apple Hardware Test is a positive way at picking up on a disk that's getting ready to fail. Both tests may or may not show anything at all. The "human" test is the best test. And by that I mean your sense.... Clicking, slow downs, etc, and plus the fact the machine is several years old, are good indicators.

Rather than repairing the drive, it's best to swap it out. And the time to do that is now while it's still functioning. Make a good backup with Time Machine or use cloning software - SuperDuper, Carbon Copy Cloner. New hard drives are inexpensive and swapping one out in a MacBook is an easy DIY job.

Regards.
OK, thanks. I agree that my "sense" tells me this hard drive is going to crash and burn. This is my first and only Mac so I am really unfamiliar with the whole time machine, backup, restore process. Can you give me some pointers?
  • I use Acronis True Image for my PC back-ups. Will TimeMachine make an EXACT clone of my current hard drive (sector by sector) and then restore it to a new drive (which will be much larger in capacity) without any problems?
  • In addition to Snow Leopard, I am running Parallels Desktop 5 with virtual machines for Vista Ultimate and Ubuntu Linux. Will these still function properly? (Note: My machine came pre-installed with Vista so I do not have the disk to re-install Vista if something were to go wrong).
  • Am I going to run into any licensing issues with the software I've installed on the Mac? I know this is sometimes and issue when you make significant hardware changes on a PC.
  • Finally, I've never taken a mac apart before. Does it use a standard SATA 2.5 inch hard drive like any other notebook?

Thank you so much for your help!
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