4 Replies Latest reply: Aug 19, 2008 4:06 PM by Christopher Wall
Eric SN Level 2 Level 2 (175 points)
I know, I know. It was a big mistake. In a moment of weakness and frustration due to other circumstances wearing me thin, I shut my PowerBook off when it had appeared that the spinning beach ball was never going away and it looked like software update was stuck. When I tried to reboot, I got the whirling thing on a gray Apple screen for a reeeally long time, and because I was really bent out of shape (again, dealing with too much other stuff whilst trying to get something else accomplished), I hit the power button another time.

The next thing that happened continues to happen: File folder with blinking question mark.
My PowerBook is acting as though there is no longer a hard drive in it. There was never a grinding noise, or anything unusual prior. Now I just hear the head park and unpark, that intermittent ping-pong ball kinda sound that I used to hear every now and then. Only now it happens three times, then stops, then again.

I have tried going into open firmware and the internal drive is not readable there either. The Open Firmware command for verifying a drive is present does work (can't remember the command) but when you put in dir hd/ it says "cant OPEN the DIR device". I've reset all params, prams, pmu, etc.
I have tried a disk warrior boot-up CD. The internal drive cant be found by the software.
I have tried booting with an external drive, but once up and running, disk utility does not see the internal drive.
I have tried putting it in target mode, hoping my iMac can see the drive in the PowerBook.
No Go.

I'm trying to figure out how a software boo-boo turned into a hardware failure. I can see if there's a corrupted boot sector or something, but for the drive to be present, not grinding, but not be seen by any software is something I'm not understanding.

Any thoughts?

PB G4 1.67 1GB 128VRAM, 100GB drive, TiBook 1ghz, 512, 60GB
  • 1. Re: software update seemed to quit, so I restarted. No more hard drive?
    eww Level 9 Level 9 (52,975 points)
    Hi, Eric. A software boo-boo didn't turn into a hardware failure; a hardware failure led you to commit a software boo-boo that, by the time you did it, made no difference at all. Your hard drive failed during the software update, causing the computer to hang. Everything that happened after that was inconsequential. Your actions were unwise, but the damage was already done.

    Just replace the hard drive. I hope you had your data backed up. If you didn't, mount the bad drive in an external enclosure and try to recover the data from it using one or another of the following utilities:

    Data Rescue II

    All three come in demo versions that will show you what the full version could recover before you have to pay for anything.
  • 2. Re: software update seemed to quit, so I restarted. No more hard drive?
    Eric SN Level 2 Level 2 (175 points)
    Thanks for the response.

    I am wondering though about what you said about putting the drive into an enclosure... What do you think the chances are of a drive that is not even seen as being present in the PB would be seen if it were mounted in an enclosure? Does it need to be a specific kind of enclosure?

    Because the drive - still in the PB - is not seen by the OS when the PB is booted from an external drive, or from a install DVD, or a disc warrior DVD. The drive is not seen if the PB is put into Target mode. It's getting power, it's doing something with the heads, sounds like it's trying to read.. but it just wont. It does not appear amongst the choices in any software. I hope it's accessible from within an enclosure.

    I did not have a recent backup of the entire drive. Just some photos and itunes stuff. And that was not up to date. Lesson learned.

  • 3. Re: software update seemed to quit, so I restarted. No more hard drive?
    eww Level 9 Level 9 (52,975 points)
    Data recovery utilities such as the ones I linked above are designed to "see" drives (and their contents) that can't be seen, let alone mounted, by differently-purposed utilities including DiskWarrior, TechTool Pro, etc. It's not putting the old drive in an external enclosure that may enable you to see it and recover files from it; it's using the appropriate data recovery software that may make that possible. Getting the drive out of the computer and into the external enclosure just gives you a much more efficient way to work with it, because then your computer will be fully usable.

    The enclosure itself will be a sound investment, because you can buy a good (and BIG) hard drive to put in it after you've done whatever you can about recovering your files and tossed the bad drive. That will then become the place where you make those daily backups that you now know would be such a good idea.

    Message was edited by: eww
  • 4. Re: software update seemed to quit, so I restarted. No more hard drive?
    Christopher Wall Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    So, I have had the same experience with the boot to folder icon with a question mark on it. Are thee some good instructions for a PowerBook 15" 1.67 hard drive replacement DIY guide anywhere?