G4 Powerbook Won't Start-up, Can't Find Hard Drive


My problems started with the SBBOD (spinning beach ball of death) and the machine responding/processing sluggishly. (Note: I have plenty of available memory and RAM)

I ran Disc Warrior several times, and each time it repaired problems, but now (2 days later) the machine won't start up, and won't recognize it's hard drive.

I thought an upgrade to Tiger might help, bought the software... but the install is not successful. The message: Installation was NOT successful. (Not very revealing.)

If I start the machine as usual, it stalls out on the grey Apple screen with the startup wheel just spinning endlessly.

I "zapped the PRAM" too (twice) and that didn't help either.

Please help. I'll be at the corner pub killing my headache, hoping for a reply.




Chmod 760
Staff member
Open Disk Utility from the OS X Installer DVD, and check your hard drive with it ('repair permissions') ... as well it should show a S.M.A.R.T. status - is that reported ok?
Did you have 10.3 or 10.2 running on your Mac before?


Thanks Gia.

I was running 10.3.

I followed your instructions with Disk Utility/repair permission, which seemed to 'work' but I did not see anything that indicated SMART status (and I don't know what that means, or perhaps where to look). I also attempted to "repair disk" and that failed. Error message > Disk Utility stopped repairing Mac HD because: the underlying task reported failure on exit.

What next? I'm considering sending it to MacResQ.com but am a little nervous. I cannot lose the data on the machine.... yes, I have not backed it all up recently enough. A mistake, I know. Lesson learned: the minute I ever see the SBBOD again, back everything up immediately!

I'd just like to get my HD to mount so I can back it up before more serious repairs can take place, or get my HD replaced.

Any more suggestions?



The Late: SuperMacMod
Two choices;
1-Try DiskWarrior - this may be able to fix the problem
2-Reformat the drive - unless DU won't let you do that (bad drive)

the minute I ever see the SBBOD again, back everything up immediately!

Why would you wait till you saw the SBBOD before you backed up?


I can haz cigar?
Sounds like you have a bad hard-drive - at this point the more you mess with the drive, the less likely you will be able to save any of the data on it - reformatting the drive will erase all of your data.

There are companies that will retrieve the data from your hard-drive, but they tend to be expensive.

If you decide you can live with losing all of your data, then boot to the install disk and use disk utility to zero the drive to map out bad sectors and format it.

If this will not work, chances are your hard-drive is "dead".


I'm assuming that you have the problem fixed by now. Can i guess that you ended up with a new hard drive? everything that you explained happened to me. my S.M.A.R.T. status was "failing" and by the time i realized what that meant, it was too late to back up a bunch of things. i think i drank myself silly to forget everything for awhile. So i now have a new hard drive but i have a question for you. do you have any idea as to why your hard drive failed? i was told that my hard drive (powerbook g4) may have had a problem to begin with when i bought it and it didn't become a problem until now. and then i read that Tiger has destroyed some hard drives as well. were you using Tiger at all? apple sent my powerbook back to me with panther and i'm wondering if its worth upgrading back to Tiger if it may just lead my hard drive back to a slow death...