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Dead HD spinning and making noise

I'm planning to replace the internal HD in my Powerbook G4 laptop, and already have what I need and instructions from iFixit. This drive cannot currently be recognized or repaired by Disk Utility or Disk Warrior. So I hooked the machine up to an external, which has mostly been working fine for quite awhile. But lately the old internal has been sporadically spinning and making lots of noise. This happens at startup or other times and stops when I close the lid, or just stops on its own. But one time, it started with the lid closed, which freaked me out, so I've been just shutting down more when not using. My main concern is, does this normally happen with an old non-functioning HD that is still installed, and am I hurting my machine by running it this way? It is quite nerve wracking, but it's hard to find the time for the replacement attempt.


Thanks for your helpful responses. I've already decided that the internal HD is done for, and when I get it out, there's an option for someone besides me to try to recover the data. Most of the data was not sensitive and could be recovered from other formats, I just lost some photos I'd rather not have. Backing up the old drive at this point is impossible, as the system won't even recognize it, though of course it would be nice to back up the external I am using now.

I'm glad there's only a SLIGHT chance I could damage the machine by running it with this wildly spinning, useless HD. But I will heed that warning and create a space for the work ASAP. I have put it off not only because of time and expense, but because I have never replaced a HD before, let alone in an aluminum Mac laptop which I love and do not want to screw up! For budgetary reasons, I must do this myself. I have good manual dexterity and have obtained the new drive and the proper tools along with printing out the explicit instructions from iFixit.

For a long time after determining this drive was dead, it made no sound at all, and this problem is quite recent, another factor in putting off dealing with it. It is getting more persistent and annoying, but it just stopped.... ahh, silence is golden!

Thanks again, and to iFixit for hosting this great forum and providing such great Mac repair resources online. And I'll probably ask some questions about non-computer items. You are awesome.

I'm a woman and will try to post a photo soon.


Risposto! Visualizza la risposta Anch'io ho questo problema

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Soluzione Prescelta

You're not hurting the machine, it's inanimate, but you're courting a HD failure and loss of all data. If there's no sensitive or important data no need to worry but if you have sensitive data that would be a PITA to replace you need to make time for a backup and replacing the drive. Once it fails you will "find" the time that seems so elusive now.

HD's fail - five years is a lifetime for some HDs. Laptop HDs are especially abused. You can get an external HD case for the failing drive (that's what you're describing) and put a new drive in the powerbook, format and install the OS, then use Migration Assistant to transfer data to the new drive.

Good Luck,


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I did make it clear in my question that I was already planning to replace the HD, implying that I already considered it failed and unusable.


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Try the DriveSavers hard drive demo app, if you have an iPhone or iPod touch - it provides examples of the different types of sounds a failing hard drive can make:

You probably won't hurt the PowerBook, and the internal drive is already done for, but there is the VERY SLIGHT chance of the bad hard drive damaging the controller on the logic board. You will probably will make yourself feel better by removing the bad drive :)

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Sorry, I tried to add my answer to your answers after post from uod1o2y, which was posted 20 hours before mine. Anne

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Just update the question with more information, or comment on their answer. I went ahead and moved your long response into the question.


Thanks for the help in using the forum. At least one person didn't really read my post before answering it, but I see there are other ways to deal with such things than another long post.


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When you have a lot of time then you can spend it by finding the right solution for this problem. In my opinion there is only one I would check.

1. Do I have a backup of the data of the defect HDD? Yes then put the bad unit in the garbage and replace it with a new on.

2. When you don't hv a backup and there is no chance go get to the data then read 1. and replace the unit.

Thats the fastest way.

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I don't think this is very helpful... Maybe you should suggest ways that he could recover the data if it is possible.


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akwellings sarà eternamente grato.
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