10 Replies Latest reply: Mar 23, 2013 11:07 AM by patrick.dc
chak_133 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

I have a Western Digital 20GB Ata hard drive that has crashed badly. Despite reading other forum posts here and trying out the useful suggestions, I have been unsuccessful in remounting my hard drive. This has denied me access to a precious archive of work e-mails in my macmail mail-box, and other home office work data including Safari bookmarks tracked via the now non-existent user preferences folder.

 

This is all information that I would really like to recover without sending to a data recovery company. The loss of data access has been stressful for me over the last several days.

 

Fortunately, I always stored my text edit, word, and other raw documents on a subsidiary drive. However, and this is unfortunate, backups of my "home folder" fell of the radar due to some significant health issues over the past couple of years. Now, I'm paying the price for that loss of focus.

 

I'm running a Powermac G4 AGP machine with 1.5ghz fastmac processor, 1.75gb ram, OSX 10.4.11. This has been a good computer for my home office work including e-mails, web browsing etc. The main drive in a two drive setup has been a 20gb Apple branded hard drive Western digital drive that was reported full before the crash. This was after the console log file in the system folder reported large gigabyte file logs.

 

No major data has ever been stored on this hard drive, only the OS, yet it would fill up. This has happened in the past and I have been able to delete these files, then restart the computer thus clearing hard drive space. I've done this for the last two years.

 

Two weeks ago when the computer reported low hard disk space, I had a several safari windows open. The computer then froze and the entire computer became totally unresponsive. I had to force power off the computer to get it to restart.

 

Since then, despite using disk utilities like Techtool, Disk Warrior, Prosoft Drive Genius, Prosoft Data recovery and other  software demos like Remo recover, Total Recall, Stellar Phoenix, and Virtual Lab the drive has never been "seen" by the OS to let the data recovery software access it.

 

I've also used techniques like Safe boot, Singe user mode, Target disk mode, plus mounting the drive in a Wiebetech Firewire 400 external enclosure, and still I've never managed to get the drive to be recognized by the system, let alone remount. All I got was the circle with a slash through it or the mac smiley icon that alternates with a question mark.

 

The 20Gb WD was the primary ide drive in a two drive setup that also has a Maxtor diamond Max Plus 9 60Gb ATA133 Hard drive which was my subsidiary drive for data storage. I have since mounted this drive when it was made the only drive on the ide cable (the Maxtor has 10.4.6 on it that I can boot from successfully). (If the Western Digital is either the primary or secondary drive on the joint ide cable, the Maxtor then fails to mount).

 

The crashed hard drive symptoms are:

 

On startup the Western Digital disk makes several whining noises like it wants to startup, and also sounds like it is trying to access the drive data platters, then it goes quiet. After making the drive the only drive on the ide cable, and rejumpering the drive accordingly, it is only making two whining or "coughing noises" like it wants to start, then goes quiet. In neither case, does the OS ever register its presence.

 

In the firewire enclosure the drive either starts with the first type of sound and then reverts to periodically making the second type of coughing sound or it just makes the "coughing sound".

 

Crashed Drive Description is:

 

WESTERN DIGITAL 20GB TRIDE 655T0022 WC93300Y5H7YA EIDE HARD DRIVE. Made August 18, 1999.

MDL (Model) is WD205BA-40AK.

Firmware is CRNBLKMO.

PRIMARY CONTROLLER BOARD (PCB) NUMBER ON WHITE LABEL JUST ABOVE DATA CONNECTOR IS 845000A 30M01G2V2E2 0056, Apple part # 655T0022

 

Has Apple logo and came with Sawtooth Machine 450Mhz that was upgraded to 1.5ghz via Fastmac processor and 1.75Gb CL2 Crucial Ram.

 

Any ideas or suggestions would be most welcome to get the drive to mount and then copy of my home folder data.

 

Thank you.



PowerMac, Mac OS X (10.4.11), G4 AGP Radeon 8500
  • 1. Re: How do I get a crashed Powermac G4 hard drive to mount?
    BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (116,480 points)

    Hello, those Disk Tools you mention, did any of them see it at all?

     

    Particularly, with DiskWarrior... if it shows in DW, hold Option key when clicking Repair Disk, to Scavenge the Directory to a second Directory that can be used for copying or cloning.

     

    If DW doesn't see it at all, then Data Rescue for one MAY be able to see it...

     

    http://www.prosofteng.com/products/data_rescue.php

     

    (Has a Free Demo to see if it could or not, but you'll need another drive to recover to).

     

    If not then Professional Data Recovery is needed in my experiences.

  • 2. Re: How do I get a crashed Powermac G4 hard drive to mount?
    chak_133 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi BDAqua,

     

    Thank you for the fast response.

     

    No, unfortunately none of them saw the Hd at all. I also did try data rescue and it too could not recognize the hard drive.

     

    The DW tip you mentioned is useful one that I didn't know. It will come in handy in the future.

  • 3. Re: How do I get a crashed Powermac G4 hard drive to mount?
    BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (116,480 points)

    Aw, sorry to hear, good luck though.

  • 4. Re: How do I get a crashed Powermac G4 hard drive to mount?
    patrick.dc Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hey, I'm no genius with this stuff, but have you thought of putting the Western D into another G4?  What condition is your system board? The battery and all that stuff.?

  • 5. Re: How do I get a crashed Powermac G4 hard drive to mount?
    Glen Doggett Level 4 Level 4 (1,795 points)

    sorry for your [data] loss.  this may best be left to a professional service.  the more you attempt to mount and use the drive, the more you risk damaging the drive beyond the possibility of recovery.

     

    That said, I would never actually try this myself, and I do not recommend this at all, but there is an "old-wives tale" that you can very temporarily bring a failing hard drive back to life for one short-lived last hurrah if you put it in a zip-lock bag in a freezer overnight.  I would not suggest that you risk destroying the drive with this unproven method, and I am hesistant to even mention it.  Google this topic and decide for yourself, please do not blame me for putting this idea in your head when it does not work.

     

    http://lifehacker.com/5515337/save-a-failed-hard-drive-in-your-freezer-redux

  • 6. Re: How do I get a crashed Powermac G4 hard drive to mount?
    chak_133 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi Patrick,

     

    those are good questions. I haven't tried putting the WD in another G4 (Quicksilver) although I did think of that. Since it didn't mount in an external good quality (Wiebetech) powered firewire enclosure attached to another G4 I thought it wouldn't work installed inside that G4 either.

     

    The condition of the motherboard is fine including battery, ram etc. since the other drive, a ATA Maxtor diamondmax 9 mounts fine (when it is the only drive on the ide cable). I am currently using the computer via this drive and everthing works well.

  • 7. Re: How do I get a crashed Powermac G4 hard drive to mount?
    chak_133 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi Glen,

     

    thank you for your response and suggestions. Truth be told, the old wives tale you mention is gospel for some depending on where one looks on the internet. There's actually a website dedicated to the discussion of crashed hard drives that was started by a guy who persisted in trying to look at alternatives because the professional data recovery option was too expensive for him to pursue.

     

    He eventually had success with an exact make and model "donor" drive logic board swap and got all his data back. On the forum there and elsewhere many people swear by the freezer method as the only way they got their data back.

     

    However, the option also has risks so has to be applied with care. So I'm not committed to pursuing that path and no I wouldn't blame you for putting the idea in my head or suggesting the link if I was to try it.

     

    I'm also not currently trying to mount the hard drive but instead have spent some time researching my options prior to data recovery. I had the thought to find a database of failed or failing hard drive sounds so I could compare it to the sound my Western Digital is making. I eventually found a great place with failed hard drive sounds for all different makes and types (ironically run by a generous Data recovery company who want you to be able to determine whether their services are needed).

     

    I compared the sound of my hard drive to several  Western Digitals on their website plus the sound of dying hard drive on another site and was relieved to hear that my hard drive doesn't sound like it is dying. What it sounds closest to is the example of a fried logic board. In that instance a logic board swap remounted the drive. Many other people on the web have had success with this method, provided the drive is an exact or close match in manufacturing date, model type and firmware. (Some specialist companies can also burn the exact crashed drive firmware code into the donor drive's logic board.)

     

    At best, if the firmware doesn't match, the drive simply spins up but doesn't mount. So at the moment I'm trying to locate an exact donor drive to do a board swap. Since the WD is an apple branded "Expert" rather than the more common Caviar drive this isn't easy but I'm hopeful.

     

    Secondly, on another website I saw the suggestion to try mounting the drive into a PC or into bootcamp. The thought here is that when a hard drive is full it runs out of index room and starts overwriting itself. This in turn leads to data corruption. So if the Pc ignores the Western Digital generated data corruption errors that are taking down the ide bus in my mac, and mounts the drive it can help diagnose if data corruption is the problem or not.

     

    Some here might think that mounting a drive in a pc is problematic, but it was suggested by a mac expert. Atleast the bootcamp option is something for me to look into first as it will keep the Western Digital on a mac.

     

    That's where I am so far.  Any other thoughts or suggestions are  welcome.

  • 8. Re: How do I get a crashed Powermac G4 hard drive to mount?
    chak_133 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I didn't include any links in my post above as I'm new here. I'm not sure whether posting links of my research and specially to a professional data recovery company that I have no affiliation to is permissible so haven't done so.

     

    However if that is permissible I would happily post those since I know this could be a very useful diagnostic or alternative information for other crashed hard drive owners with the anxiety of lost data milling around their head.]

  • 9. Re: How do I get a crashed Powermac G4 hard drive to mount?
    BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (116,480 points)

    I'm not sure whether posting links of my research and specially to a professional data recovery company that I have no affiliation to is permissible...

    Hi, sure, if you did have any association with them you'd have to include a blurb that you may receive compensation from the link, other wise no disclaimer is needed.

  • 10. Re: How do I get a crashed Powermac G4 hard drive to mount?
    patrick.dc Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Any new luck on the WD HDD?