7 Replies Latest reply: Apr 28, 2007 8:04 AM by The hatter
TheMacintoshes Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
After more than two years without any troubles whatsoever with my G5, I booted up my Mac today and was greeted with an extremely slooooow startup. The gray screen that first appears with the Apple logo in the center was instead displaying a small static-y square (like static on television) on the gray screen. My computer took a good few minutes to finally get to the desktop (what normally takes seconds to do), and now everything is still extremely slow. I try clicking on the Finder and it takes almost a minute to open up, I try opening applications and they take forever to open. A few days ag, I downloaded a Software Update, so I don't know if this had anything to do with it.

Even though I've had my G5 for a few years, I'm still not very tech-saavy when it comes to computer repair. Does anyone have any ideas what my problem may be and what I can do to fix it?

Power Mac G5 - Dual 2.5Ghz, Mac OS X (10.4.9)
  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (60,915 points)
    Look for "slow" in the search field and you will find it gets asked rather regularly.

    Backup for starters.
    Get a FW drive and a new internal drive.
    Install a fresh copy of OS X to an emergency boot partition on the FW drive.
    Backup to the 2nd partition of your FW drive.
    Repair the boot drive with Disk Utility and Disk Warrior.
    Keep your boot drive in good shape by running Disk Warrior weekly.
    Backup using SuperDuper weekly to one drive, daily to another pair of drives.
    Use Tiger Cache Cleaner and do what it calls "deep clean cache folders" AFTER you know it is running fine.
    Every couple months, do your backup and then erase your boot drive and restore.
    Always backup before updating.
    Keep your boot drive to 50% free space.
    use a couple drives if possible for your data.
    After a couple years, retire your drive and use it for backup.

    Maxtor MaxLine Pro 500GB $139 would be one choice.
    Samsung and WD RE2 or SE16 500GB $140-165.
    Maxtor MaxLine III 300GB $77 is back at OWC great little drive

    Do a SAFE BOOT with shift key held down.

    But do setup an emergency boot drive to repair your drive. And get your backups in order.
  • TheMacintoshes Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks for the quick reply.

    Based on your post, I guess I should assume that the hard drive is broken. I actually have two internal drives on my Mac. Is there anything I can do with the the other drive so that I boot off of the second drive instead of the first one?

    Can I install Tiger to the 2nd drive and boot from that drive then?

    Honestly I have no clue when it comes to backup and disk repair. Any help would be more than appreciated!
  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (60,915 points)
    If you have a 2nd drive, make sure that it is okay first.
    Yes, you can install OS X there.
    SuperDuper makes backing up easy.
    The first backup is free, and "smart" updates (much faster) require $29.

    As I said above, use Disk Utility (First Aid) and Buy a copy of Disk Warrior.

    You can also use your Tiger DVD to try to check and repair your boot drive (I would verify first to see what it says repairing the drive). If you have 10.4.0, I would hesitate to use it to repair.

    When you get to the installer screen to select language, on the next screen, go to the UTILITY menu instead of installing to check your drives. Then go on to install OS X - would be nice to have an external backup drive. OWC sells drives, and good FW cases, some of which come with backup software, but none can beat SuperDuper in reliability, ease of use.

    A book perhaps? A subscription to MacFixit which has a wealth of online tutorials.
    FAQs on backups and other topics
  • TheMacintoshes Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    How can I make sure that my 2nd drive is okay? I can't even get to the Utilities Folder to open up Disk Utility. Is that the only way I can check?

    Same problem with SuperDuper - I can't open up Safari (or another browser) to get to the download page.

    Should I insert the Tiger DVD and try to repair the boot drive that way? Why do you say that you would hesitate to use it to repair - have there been problems using this method?
  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (60,915 points)
    You should not be using your current boot drive.

    I began with "Backup for starters.
    Get a FW drive and a new internal drive.
    Install a fresh copy of OS X to an emergency boot partition on the FW drive. "

    Downloading files can mess things up.
    Follow what I said about booting from DVD and repairing from there.
    Order a drive for Friday deliver.

    What you can do:

    Trash anything you don't need.
    Move to the trash and delete.

    But boot from DVD and install OS X AFTER verifying and repairing the drives.

    Backing up should be the first, not the last, the minute you have a computer and the system installed, make a copy and have it where it is safe.

    There are hundreds of topics, threads, FAQs and links to help articles.

    It is 10 PM and I still have things t o do. Good luck.
  • TheMacintoshes Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Okay, here's where I'm at now:

    I installed OSX onto my 2nd hard drive. Then, I downloaded Disk Warrior 4 and ran it on the 1st hd (the one that failed). It ran for about 10-15 mins and came back saying that it successfully built a new directory but the new directory cannot replace the original one because of a disk malfunction.

    So now I have a read-only version of my 1st hd, which is fantastic! I can see most, if not all, of the files I never thought I'd see again.

    Now before I do anything else, I'd like to get all the data I can from the read-only hd #1 onto my 2nd hard drive.

    I downloaded Super Duper as you suggested and attempted a copy of the read-only hd onto my 2nd hd. Since I am currently using the 2nd hd, I guess that this is not possible (the 2nd hd is greyed out in the "to" drop down box.

    For right now, I will be copying the main files I want manually (clicking and dragging) from the dead drive onto my 2nd drive. Is there a better way to do this?

    And yes, I know I need an external firewire drive, which I will be going out for later this morning.

    In the end, this is what I'd like to get accomplished:

    1 - Copy all files from dead drive onto hd #2 in addition to the unique files that are already there. I don't want to have a straight copy, but more of an addition of files to hd #2.

    2 - Buy an external hd and have a complete copy of hd#2 (with files from both hd #1 and hd #2).

    3 - If possible, repair the damaged hd #1 or replace it.

    If anyone has any recommendations whatsoever, I would really appreciate it! Thank you all in advance!
  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (60,915 points)
    Always have two backups; plus an emergency boot drive (can be a small-ish partition on your backup drive if needed, as well as on your 2nd drive).

    You may be able to just repartition your #1. The fact that DW4 could not replace the directory seems to suggest there was not a large enough area, DW uses a single unfragmented file. TechTool Pro 4.5.2 can write a 'fragmented' disk directory.

    I would still zero your #1. depending on age of drive, replace with a new 300 or 500GB. OWC www.macsales.com is carrying the Maxtor MaxLine III 300GB for $73. They also sell FW cases. Some will take SATA drives. Too bad you couldn't get out the last 2-3 days to pick up some drives or order online.

    Depending on how much space is on #2 you can copy from #1 to a disk image (Disk Utility -> sparseimage) though I think just copying everything to a folder is okay. Obviously you can't even see a lot of system files and the system and applications are all best reinstalled.

    I use Tri-Backup 4.04 for backups where I need more control over copying just files and folders or synchronizing and don't need or want the entire volume.

    I'd pick up two FW400/800 drives, not two in one case. Look for a sturdy well-built model that will work and not give up the ghost in 6 -12 months. Those made by Seagate and WD or Maxtor and LaCie... I think are more trouble than online outlets. You want Oxford 911 or 922 (924 for SATA drive support). Except for LaCie, they come as PC FAT32 and need to be reformatted.

    Seeing you have one good (#2) the idea of installing OS X, rather than pick up some drives first and not jeopardize what you have...

    Creating an emergency boot drive partition.
    Use the rest of the drive for backups.
    You want to build a stable drive platform from which to begin your salvaging and recovery operations and see what you can pull over.

    If you recover some files, or see files you don't need or want to copy and backup (temp, cache, program etc) I would begin slowly and trash those and free up space. Empty the trash. And copy the most critical files you need first and make sure it holds up, the ice doesn't crack. Then move on. but start slow and careful.

    You may be able to free up more space and get the drive to the point where Disk Utility and Disk Warrior can improve on file and directory structure. I always tend to give DU a shot first, then DW. And even run Verify rather than Repair. Takes longer but what the heck, want to be safe.