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OS X - Operating System General OS operation information and support

OS 10.5 - Hard Drive Clicking, I fear its dying


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italianie

 
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My Intel Imac G5 hard drive has started clicking on switch on, and not booting up as usual. The boot screen goes to a flashing folder icon with a question mark, instead of the apple icon.

If I give it 15 - 20 mins, and keep rebooting it eventually boots, and then runs stable until I shut down the mac. When switching back on after leaving it for a couple of hours, the problem persists, until again at random it suddenly boots.

When the problem does occur and I boot with the OSX DVD, and go into disk utility it shows the hard drive as a WDC 7.5 GB ROM Drive, instead of the usual 145 GB WDC Drive, so it must be a hard disk problem. When it does eventually boot then normal drive shows up in the disk utility from Leopard. Not sure how this relates to the clicking sound, but at least it confirms the hard drive to be the prob. Trying the Disk repair / permission repair has not made any difference.

Can anyone suggest a fix?

Worst case scenario, if I'm right and the HD is dieing, is it possible to just buy a external USB hard disk, make an exact replica of my current hard disk and boot from that. I don't want to have to open the machine up, tried that before it was too hard to access the internal components behind the monitor panel, Apple are obviously not wanting to make it easy for user's to upgrade or repair their own machines. I don't want to have to install everything again, just basically make a replica of my current drive on an external HD and boot from that.

Thanks,

Italianie
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Aptmunich

 
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Yes, that would work. Grab an external disk (Firewire 400 is usually a bit faster, so pick one that can do both if you can), format it as HFS+ and use the free version of SuperDuper! to clone your internal harddrive to your external disk.

Then hold down "option" during startup to boot off the internal drive.

A word of caution: You say you have an "intel iMac G5". It's either Intel or it's a PowerPC G5. That's important because when formatting the external drive you'll need to pick the partition map, either GUID (for intel Macs) or Apple partition scheme (for PowerPC macs).
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italianie

 
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Thanks yes its definitely an intel Imac mac, forget the G5.

It's funny I've been using it all morning and its running rock solid, the problem only seems to occur when its been left for a few hours and on boot. Once it actually boots it runs fine, so provided I never turned it off again, I could maybe get around it, although it wouldn't do my electric bills any good.

I'll start looking for an external hard disk anyway, as even if I don't end up needing it, it will be worth the investment to back up the data on it. I'm just going to leave it switched on until I can get hold of a new external HD.
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Aptmunich

 
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Yeah - even if this does prove to be some other glitch or non-issue you should definitely back up even with a perfectly healthy harddrive.

You only truly "have" the data that you have a back up for. Any other data you're just holding onto until your harddrive decides to check out.
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italianie

 
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Last question, will I be ok with one of the portable hard drives which are power from the USB or Firewire, or do I have to go for one with an AC Adapter? I'd prefer to keep wires to a minimum!!
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harryb2448

 
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Go for one with the power mains adapter to generate a consistent source and Intel Macs will boot from either USB2 or Firewire.
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italianie

 
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Well I sure hope this works I've gone and brought a Maxtor Basics 250 GB USB portable Hard Disk. There's no power supply, I didn't read your last post in time.

I've formatted the drive, to HFS+ format, and downloaded superduper free trial, which doesn't seem limited at all. I've chosen full backup and its in the process of copy my 135 GB's of Data across to the USB HD. It's going to take some time by the looks of it.

I'll post again if it all works.
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harryb2448

 
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No SuperDuper is not limited however if you pay the registration fee you can use the Smart Backup option. Reduces back up time to about 15 minutes when you have the original copy made.

USB2 is slow - Firewire is much faster alas. You could be looking at overnight!
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italianie

 
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Yeah I would have gone for firewire, but I wasn't going to take changes in loosing my data, so I rushed out and bought the only one I could find at a reasonable price. I can always upgrade later, and use the usb one for my PC as backup.

Well it took about 2 hours in total to clone the internal drive to the new external usb HD, and I'm now typing this from Leopard booted on the New external HD. Seems fast enough for me, it was transferring the disk data at about 14 MB a sec when cloning, so don't know if thats any good, but it seems comparable to the internal HD from what I can see. I've completely formated the internal HD, and am going to use it for storage or even backup depending on how it holds out over the next few weeks or if I can find a fix, but I won't hold my breath, I'll play it by ear.

Whilst I'm here I have two more final questions?

1) Would it be better to use time machine to back up to the spare drive, or just use superdupa to clone a copy every now and again.

2) I have two accounts on my mac, mine and my wife. Is there any way that my Iphotos, and Iweb's can come up in her account and vice versa, I mean like sync'd or shared. I've never figured out how to do this?

Thanks for your help!!
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