5 Replies Latest reply: Oct 18, 2008 5:28 PM by BGreg
dugat Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Hi all.
My powerbook is giving me nothing but a grey screen. I ran Disk Utility off of the OS X CD on the HD, and this is the message it gave me:

Checking HFS volume
Checking Extents Overflow file
Checking Catalog file
Invalid node structure.
Rebuilding Catalog B-Tree
The volume Macintosh HD could not be repaired.
ERROR: The underlying task reported failure on exit.
1 HFS volume checked--1 volume could not be repaired because of an error.
Repair attempted on 1 volume--1 volume could not be repaired.

I also tried whatever is on the AppleCare CD (can't remember), and it put a bunch of gobbledy gook on the screen, gave me a restart message, and at the very end said "panic: we are hanging here..." (insert twilight zone music here).

I'm guessing all this means my hd is kaput. Is there anything else I can try?

Also, I've looked into replacing the hd myself using instructions on ifixit. It doesn't look too difficult. Does anyone think this is an awful idea?

powerbook G4 15" aluminum 1.5, Mac OS X (10.4.6)
  • DaveMM Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)
    This might be something that Disk Warrior can fix. However, if it is a mechanical problem, you should try to recover your files from your dying HD, using Data Rescue II and another external HD.
  • dugat Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I forgot to mention that I took it to Apple, and they tried to boot up with several different external hard drives, unsuccessfully.
  • dugat Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Okay, I also forgot to mention that I tried to run the Hardware Test. A blue screen came up with two arrows and the cursor looked like a clock, at which point at stopped holding down the Option key. The second hand went around and around on the clock, finally stopped, then I couldn't move the cursor anymore, and had to restart to get the CD out.

    Did I do this correctly? Does the cursor freezing up indicate a hardware/hard drive failure?
  • dugat Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Okay, I'm learning as I go. Maybe someone can help if I give more info. Here's everything exactly as it happened...

    I was at a hospital using my pb, I had a few apps open and was attempting to check email when I started getting the beach ball. After a couple minutes, I tried to Force Quit some things without success. I then had to get up and move to a new waiting room pretty quickly, and I'm not totally sure about this, but I think I shut it down with the power button, and then I unplugged it and got up pretty quickly. Was it completely shut down before I got up and ran off? probably not. When I went to turn it back on, I got an unfamiliar high pitched tone and nothing but gray screen. No apple, just gray screen. I re-tried a few times, same thing.

    For a month or so before all this happened, each time I started the computer I got a message saying that it couldn't delete the disk AboutThisComputer.xxx with some extra info about disk permissions. Why didn't I do anything to address this? Because I was some combination of dumb, lazy, naive, and extremely stressed out.

    Here's what I've done since computer meltdown...

    Took it to Apple, where genius tried to boot up from external hds w/out success. He said it probably needed a new hard drive, but I'm poor, so I decided to take it home and think.
    Reset PMU...which changed the start-up beep to the normal chime, but still gray screen.
    Reset PRAM and NVRAM...no change
    Tried to start in Safe Mode...can't do it, gray screen
    Tried to run the Hardware Test...results described in previous reply
    Tried to run TechTool disk...it gave me a kernel panic message, which I can transcribe if anyone's interested.
    Booted from OS X 10.4 Install disk, ran Disk Utility to repair HD, and it gave me the error message described in the first post.

    My next step is to get ahold of another mac, run it in Target disk mode, and see if I can save anything off of the hard drive, then try erase and install. Dumb idea? Do I need Data Retrieve? Any advice? Does anyone know of a good place to get used copies of DiskWarrior and Data Retrieve? Help?
  • BGreg Level 6 Level 6 (17,500 points)
    A B-tree error is an error in the data structure of the hard drive. Usually, Disk Warrior or TechTool Pro can fix this sort of error (you can go to their web sites and search their support section to confirm). It is possible that the hard drive itself caused the error. In that case, if it passes the hardware test and has a good SMART status, doing a security erase where you write zero's on the hard drive will both ensure you have a clean drive to start with, and that function also updates the bad block table on the hard drive. If bucks are a consideration, a new hard drive, depending on size, can be less expensive than Disk Warrior or TechTool Pro, both which list for around $99.