I had an iBook G3 in college (2002, exact model @ http://bit.ly/VGVpSh), and when it died I purchased a new Mac and shoved the iBook in a box (About 7 years ago). It died from the logic board/display issues that all those dual-USB iBooks had. I actually had one, or maybe even two, logic board(s) replaced under warranty, but it eventually went out again, and I just bought a whole new laptop. I know I have a ton of photos from college on there, and that's really the data I'm now after! I can get the screen to work most of the time by placing a clamp under the 'Option' key on the left half of the keyboard. New problem though, as fired it up to take a stab at finding my data; I'm getting a flashing question mark when it boots up, which a little research shows is indicative of hard drive failure... My photos!!! So I've messed around with the computer for an hour or so, and haven't had any luck.
First and foremost, does the flashing question mark mean that data's dead and gone for good, period? Or could the drive itself be fine, but the controller/cables be bad? Sadly, ten years later I don't have the install CD, so that's not an option. I used a random OS9 disc I found online, but it wouldn't boot off that either; I'm guessing because it's not the original OS CD for this model... I also can't get the 'Firewire target' to work. The oldest computer I have in the house is an Intel 2ghz core duo 2 (exact machine @ http://bit.ly/LqDkzw) running 10.6. I'm guessing the new machine/OS won't do the Firewire target mode, as I've been unsuccessful when I've tried. I just read there are different Firewire 400 vs Firewire 800 cables, so I guess I could just be using the wrong cable as well..? I found an old Firewire cable to even try this in the first place, but I have no idea if it's 400 vs 800. Or would a bad hard drive preclude the Firewire target mode anyway?
I've also tried random things like Ethernet connections, but no luck. I'm guessing the probably-wide OS gap won't allow them to communicate anyway.
I found a bunch of these laptops on ebay for $45, So I guess I could just buy one used, and swap the hard drives? That way, if the HD it self’s ok, moving it to a new home might help (plus it'd fix the logic board issue). Downside is that the hard drive swap doesn't look easy at all, and I could end up messing up the HD even more.
I've never used a data recovery business, but is that possibly my best bet? I have no idea how much they cost, but I think a friend said his data recovery cost like $250. In all honestly I think I'd pay $250 for my old memories, I'm just not sure where to go from here. If anyone has suggestions on fixing it, or ANY suggestions on who’s a good merchant to handle this, I'd greatly appreciate any advice. Thanks all!