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  1. #1


    Member Since
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    crashed and won't restart
    Hi,

    I was working in Word when the Macbook stopped responding to anything at all and just started to make this funny clicking noise. So I had to power it off and now when I power it up it makes the jingle sound as usual but the screen then just stays clear, there's the same clicking sound and then after a while a picture of a folder (?) and a question mark start flashing on the screen.

    How do I get the Macbook working again?

    Will I have lost stuff on the hard drive?

    Is it at all possible to recover stuff on the hard drive (a while since the last back up, yes yes now I'll be more diligent and regular)?

    Help!

  2. #2


    Member Since
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    Sounds like hard drive failure. In which case the solution would be to replace the hard drive. Chances are that you will have lost all the data on the old drive, yes. It's possible to get the data off in most cases, it's just a matter of money. Professional data recovery can cost you several thousand US$.

    There's one thing you can try at home though, which may or may not work, depending on what actually failed in the drive. I'll post on it when I get home.
    MCCCXXXVII
    Notebook RAM Buyer's Guide- How much, what type, what brand, where to buy, etc.
    MBP: 17" WUXGA/2.4/4GB/160GB 7.2K
    G4: Heavily modified Dual 533 DA

  3. #3

    Neo's Avatar
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    As someone who experienced this, oh, last month , let me take a stab at it, Geeky1.
    What I would try first is connecting to another "helper" Mac by direct Firewire: Boot up your helper Mac, then turn on your MacBook while holding down T, until a big Firewire icon shows up and bounces around your screen. Then connect your computer to that other Mac with a firewire cable. Your helper Mac will (you hope) find your MacBook disk and display it as an icon on the helper Mac's desktop. You will be able (you hope) to access your MacBook drive and pull files off to the helper Mac.
    After (if) you get your files off your MacBook, "eject" your MacBook from the helper Mac and turn off your MacBook.
    Now if Geeky1 has something else to try, go for it.
    Some people (including the Apple site) will tell you to try to repair this or that or reset this or that with Disk Utilities or whatever. I just know that when my HD started clicking, Disk Utilities made it worse, and I lost everything from my drive. It was a brand-new HD and I hadn't backed up. I tried several avenues of data recovery and the HD was as dead as a hockey puck.
    Good luck!

  4. #4


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    Neo: If the drive isn't totally lost, that may be enough.

    There is also a last resort solution, if someone wants to try to recover the data but doesn't want to pay $3k or whatever to get it back. Whether it will work or not really depends on why the drive failed, but it's worth a shot. If it works, great. If it doesn't, hey, your data was gone anyhow.

    The solution is to stick the drive (ideally in an external enclosure, with a new, working drive ready, formatted and installed with OSX installed in the machine) in a ziplock bag, squeeze as much air out of the bag as you can, and stick the drive/enclosure in the freezer. I swear. You laugh, but it's true. Google it if you like. Let the drive sit for at least a few hours, until the whole thing cools down to the temperature of the freezer.

    What exactly is the purpose of this? Simple. Most substances (water being the only exception I can think of) shrink when they freeze. If the bearings on the drive have failed, the shrinkage is sometimes enough to allow the drive to spin back up long enough to get some data off of it; at least until it warms up and things grind to a halt again. You may have to repeat the freezing process several times, but, depending on how the drive failed, it can indeed work.

    Also, blini: do yourself a favor, and get yourself a 7200rpm drive as a replacement. They're a bit more expensive for a given capacity, but they have no impact to speak of on battery life, heat, or noise, and they make a dramatic, noticeable difference to the performance of the machine. I'd recommend Seagate, Western Digital or Hitachi. Oh, and avoid Toshiba drives. Unless you want to set one on fire as a sacrificial offering... That's just about the only acceptable use for one.
    MCCCXXXVII
    Notebook RAM Buyer's Guide- How much, what type, what brand, where to buy, etc.
    MBP: 17" WUXGA/2.4/4GB/160GB 7.2K
    G4: Heavily modified Dual 533 DA

  5. #5


    Member Since
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    Thanks Neo and Geeky1,

    I'll be trying the suggestions very soon.

    Out of interest, is fitting a new drive a thing for me to undertake or do you think it's a thing to ask Apple to do? - I'm still under warranty

    Thanks

  6. #6
    MacHeadCase
    Guest
    Why fix it yourself if you are still covered by warranty?

    I would let Apple do it if only so they can keep tabs on the defective hardware components they use. It might mean you will be out of your Mac for some time, but you would be loosing time if you did it yourself anyway.

  7. #7


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    On the MacBook, you can replace the drive yourself with no warranty issues. I believe there are instructions on how to do it in the manual. It's not difficult at all.

    For anyone else reading this thread, the MacBooks are the only Apple laptops like this. You cannot replace the drive yourself if you have a MBP without voiding your warranty.

    MHC: I agree with you completely, buuuuuuut if it were me I'd still fix it myself. It's a perfect excuse to pick up a 200GB 7200RPM Hitachi drive (and you're not gonna get Apple to put THAT in for you).
    MCCCXXXVII
    Notebook RAM Buyer's Guide- How much, what type, what brand, where to buy, etc.
    MBP: 17" WUXGA/2.4/4GB/160GB 7.2K
    G4: Heavily modified Dual 533 DA

  8. #8


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    MHC & geeky1
    Thanks for the comments on warranty

    geeky1
    I'll take the hint and investigate the 7200rpm things. But how reliable will these be? I (perhaps naively) assumed that apple components were as good as anything else.

    This has all set me thinking about changing my work strategy and investigate that idea of working out of a 4GB flash drive, but that maybe needs to go in another forum

  9. #9


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    Quote Originally Posted by blini View Post
    ...how reliable will these be? I (perhaps naively) assumed that apple components were as good as anything else...
    I'm not sure if I completely understand what you're asking... A good quality 7200rpm drive will be just as reliable as the stock 5400rpm drive was.

    I mean, there's really nothing special about an Apple computer. When you get right down to it, get past the OS and the form-over-function design philosophy, they're nothing special.

    Even going back as far as the G3 at LEAST (probably farther, I just haven't played with anything older than a G3), they were never anything special. The only thing that made them different from a PC was that they were using Motorola/IBM processors instead of x86 stuff. Almost all of the other hardware they use, everything from RAM to power supplies to optical drives to the NIC and sound chips on the logic boards, is often identical to what is found in Dells and Gateways and the like the world over. And when it's not, it's based on the same hardware, but with certain features selectively enabled or disabled to maintain product separation between the models in Apple's lineup, and make the machines harder and more expensive to upgrade. Heck, Apple (like most other manufacturers) doesn't even build the computers themselves... Some of their notebooks are made by ASUS, the others are made by, iirc, Compal-companies that also manufacture notebooks for Sony, HP and Dell, amongst others.

    What I'm getting at is that Apple uses the same components as everyone else, even more so now with the Intel machines; there's nothing special or different about the hard drive that came in your machine.

    As far as flash drives go, I would not recommend one at this time. First of all, flash memory has very slow write speeds. A flash drive will, when saving data, be significantly slower than your factory 5400rpm drive. Furthermore, the 2.5" solid state disks that are out there are very expensive. And building your own using a compact flash card is ill-advised from a reliability standpoint, because flash memory has a limited number of read/write cycles, and you could wear out a flash card that's not designed for use as a hard drive very, very quickly (within a matter of months) and lose all your data again.
    MCCCXXXVII
    Notebook RAM Buyer's Guide- How much, what type, what brand, where to buy, etc.
    MBP: 17" WUXGA/2.4/4GB/160GB 7.2K
    G4: Heavily modified Dual 533 DA

  10. #10
    MacHeadCase
    Guest
    Just out of curiosity... Wouldn't a 7200rpm drive be harsher on the battery life? It would at least drain the battery faster than a 5400rpm drive, would it not?

  11. #11


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    That would be a logical conclusion, MHC, yes, but the reality is that it doesn't. I go into detail about it here:
    http://www.mac-forums.com/forums/sho...979#post492979

    What it comes down to is that the motor that spins up these drives is so small that the 5400rpm and the 7200rpm drives have near-as-makes-no-difference identical power consumption. If you were writing data constantly to the drive, you might take literally a couple minutes at most off the system's battery life with a 7200rpm drive. But the thing is, if you're running the drive constantly you're virtually guaranteed to be working the CPU at least and possibly the RAM as well, which is going to have a much larger impact on battery life than the drive itself will. And since the drives consume the same amount of power at idle, and idle is the state they spend most of their time in, the 7.2k drive has, for all intents and purposes, no measurable impact on battery life.
    MCCCXXXVII
    Notebook RAM Buyer's Guide- How much, what type, what brand, where to buy, etc.
    MBP: 17" WUXGA/2.4/4GB/160GB 7.2K
    G4: Heavily modified Dual 533 DA

  12. #12

    Neo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geeky1 View Post
    The solution is to stick the drive (ideally in an external enclosure, with a new, working drive ready, formatted and installed with OSX installed in the machine) in a ziplock bag, squeeze as much air out of the bag as you can, and stick the drive/enclosure in the freezer. I swear. You laugh, but it's true. Google it if you like. Let the drive sit for at least a few hours, until the whole thing cools down to the temperature of the freezer.
    The only concern I have with putting a freezing cold HD in my room-temperature computer and then turning it on is the risk of condensation on the disk, or the connection and shorting the whole thing out.

  13. #13

    JerrfyLube's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacHeadCase View Post
    Just out of curiosity... Wouldn't a 7200rpm drive be harsher on the battery life? It would at least drain the battery faster than a 5400rpm drive, would it not?
    The hardest part that the motor works on those drives is when it starts to spin up when you turn the computer on...otherwise, its really not working all that hard and really there is only a very small difference in power that is needed to spin it a couple thousand RPM faster. It might affect battery life to a point, but probably not enough that anybody would ever be able to tell.

  14. #14


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    Quote Originally Posted by Neo View Post
    The only concern I have with putting a freezing cold HD in my room-temperature computer and then turning it on is the risk of condensation on the disk, or the connection and shorting the whole thing out.
    Yep. That's a potential problem. That's one of the reasons it'd be better to use an external enclosure; There's still a large potential for condensation, but it's not as great as it otherwise could be. And if it's in an internal enclosure, a short on the drive shouldn't damage the computer.

    Thing is, at this point, the drive is toast one way or the other. It doesn't matter if the condensation kills it (which is possible but may not be likely, depending on the humidity of the room that the procedure is being done in) or not, because you won't get the data off the drive anyhow. Basically, yes, it could potentially kill the drive, but that doesn't make the situation any worse, practically speaking, than it was before the drive was frozen.
    MCCCXXXVII
    Notebook RAM Buyer's Guide- How much, what type, what brand, where to buy, etc.
    MBP: 17" WUXGA/2.4/4GB/160GB 7.2K
    G4: Heavily modified Dual 533 DA

  15. #15


    Member Since
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    Arrow clarification
    Neo -

    Just to clarify something:

    I've spoken with the helpline at Apple, and used the start up disk to get to the bit where the disk utility tool is available. Apple say that becasue the disk utility couldn't recognize the hard drive in order to check it then the only option is to have the drive replaced.

    Is it still worth trying the helper Mac option?

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