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Argh. Disk Problems on my G5 (1 Viewer)

Steve Tannehill

R.I.P - 4.28.2015
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As I type this on a MacBook, my G5 tower is sitting to my side, dismantled and gathering dust.

The machine started having problems early last year, when I found it would not start warm without resetting PRAM. The problem does not happen often, but that's about the time I bought the Apple Care extended warranty. I think it may be time to take it in.

In the last couple of weeks, I started getting crashes in all my programs. Everything. I would bring up Safari, and it would crash, offering me the chance to restart or report back to the mother ship. Same with Mail. Same with Disk Utility.

Disk Utility on my main hard drive showed errors that could not be fixed, then a crash. I got the drive out of the tower and cloned it as fast as I could to a fresh USB hard drive. It had problems copying one thing from the old Mac OS 9 System Folder. Strange.

So I get a new 500 gig hard drive at Fry's ($109) and decide to install the OS on it and transfer back the apps and files.

A Tiger install disc won't boot. Okay, I go back to the discs that came with the machine. The first disc works, the second one does not.

So I reintall a core OS using only the first disc. That works. I then go into Software Update to bring the system up to 10.4.9. Then instead of booting to Mac OS, it boots to a UNIX command prompt.

I can't get into the OS. I can't mount a disc. So I reformat and attempt to copy my last good backup to this new 500 gig disc. The backup is the old 250 gig hard drive that was original equipment on the G5--I saved it away last year when I upgraded to a 500 gig drive (the one that is now corrupt).

The old 250 gig hard drive boots fine, it has no errors. I put the new 500 gig drive into an SATA enclosure and plug it in--recognized, fine. I start up Carbon Copy Cloner and kick off a copy.

CCC dies after a few minutes.

I try again.

CCC dies after a few hours.

So I can't even copy an old good HD to a new good HD using the G5 as a host.

This makes me think there are problems with the G5 hardware itself.

My next step is to get a second enclosure and try to copy the old good drive to the new good drive. I'll use the MacBook as the host to control the copy. Then I will put the new 500 gig HD with its restore back into the G5 and see what happens.

I tried loading the diagnostics disc into the G5--died with UNIX garbage.

I'm afraid the next stop is the Apple Store repair department.

- Steve
 

Steve Tannehill

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Just discovered that the enclosure I am using might not be able to handle drives > 320 gig in size. That might account for the crash during the clone attempt.

Argh. Off to Fry's to find a better enclosure.

- Steve
 

JohnRice

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Steve, first off, whenever I get a new drive, or start over with an old one, I ALWAYS not only reformat, but wipe clean the drive. Yes, a brand new drive ALWAYS gets wiped clean before using. If you don't know, just reformatting in DU does not do this. You have to choose "Options" and select to zero all data. Once it usually fine. Sorry if you already know all this.

Second, I strongly recommend using SuperDuper instead of CCC. When I used CCC I always had problems. SD has been absolutely faultless, but you have to buy it to get the best features, particularly Smart Backup.

Finally, the housing is certainly causing problems, but my gut feeling is there is a hardware problem. Ram is probably the first place to look.
 

Steve Tannehill

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Thanks so much, John. I am currently about halfway through a zero all data on the new hard drive.

I will check out SuperDuper.

I also got to Apple Hardware Test on the original install discs (holding the option key while restarting). I am going to run it next.

I would hate to de-install my 4 extra gigs of RAM, but I believe it has a lifetime warranty... so with a little luck, the hardware test will point to a bad DIMM or two...

Meanwhile, I'll get that second 500 gig enclosure and have another half a terabyte online for use. :)

Thanks again, John. It really helps to have a second perspective on things after hours of my hacking not working...

- Steve
 

Steve Tannehill

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Yep. Apple Hardware Test returned a failure in the memory tests...

***ERROR CODE*** ***ERROR CODE***
2MEM/1/4 DIMM5/J7200
***ERROR CODE*** ***ERROR CODE***

So I pulled a pair of DIMMS and am re-running diagnostics.

Thanks for the tip...

- Steve
 

Oren

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Yeah, based on your symptoms it really sounds like a memory problem.
 

Steve Tannehill

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Now the waiting is the hardest part.

The new hard drive is freshly formatted (although Apple Disk Utility choked on the zero-out format). The OS installed fine, and now I am experimenting with the Migration Assistant--I am transferring the users, network settings, apps, and files from the 500 gig hard drive that has errors on verification.

It is hard to say if I will lose any files in the process due to the questionable state of the hard drive--but since it is such a pain to reinstall everything from scratch, I am hoping this restore strategy will work.

The hours are ticking off like minutes--some 326 gig to restore.

And yes, I'll be figuring out a backup strategy. I'm thinking the leftover 500 gig drive will go into an enclosure, hang off the Airport Extreme network, and be used for network backups.

Any preference to software that will do this?

Thanks,
Steve
 

Steve Tannehill

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The migration was complete by the time I got up this morning. I finished installing the last of the Mac OS updates, tweaked a few settings, and I am back in action.

Lost in the shuffle (according to Migration Assistant) was the mouse driver for the Microsoft Wireless Laser Mouse 6000. I've lost a few preferences, but the new hard drive checks out from a structure perspective. Yea!

- Steve
 

JohnRice

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Oooh. DU choked on the zero all data. That is not a good sign. Is that a new drive that you can return?
 

Steve Tannehill

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It choked on the "create a file" step, but then ran for 1.5 hours writing to the disk.

- Steve
 

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