Memory test

use the hardware test CD that was bundled with your G4. Faulty ram would cause a lot of system crashes, while a prob with a file system would rather give you error when accessing certain files.
Good luck!
Nope. Always a good idea to save the CDs that come with your computer.

What makes you think you've got bad RAM? Have you added any 3rd party RAM to your computer? Have you tried removing all the RAM except for the stick or two that came pre-installed with the computer and seeing if the problems persist?

Even a bad RAM stick can pass the hardware test, so that's not an accurate way to determine if your RAM is bad -- it's just an accurate way to determine if your RAM is really, really, exceptionally bad.
Well I am sure I can hunt down that cd somewhere - I have moved a lot recently :)

Well I am just trying to trck down the problems I am having, and I have a feeling that it is bad ram. Over the weekend I experienced several system crashes (not kernal panics) where I would be using Pshop, or just browsing and suddenly the computer starts to click away and crank like its processing something, but it happens when Im not doing anything processor intensive. I will be browsing in Safari and suddenly it starts making the crunching noise and the cursor turns into the spinning disk, and I cant click on anything. Ive left it for ages and it still doesnt recover. It even made a beep noise yesterday too, constantly and the fans started spinning really fast. Something is up with it.

Im running Panther on G 1.25 mdd with two sticks of 256 RAM (not sure what make) have space on my HD 30 gigs.
Just to exclude any software problem: setup a new user account and test your system over that one.
And by the way, which os is it that you are using?
Another easy thing you could and should do before blaming the hardware for this: repair permissions.
Panther (latest reslease)

I have done all of the usual software tests - repair permissions, created new accounts, start up and type fsck-h (or something similar) and still no joy. The OS seems to perform ok, had a few permissions problems a while back but those are resolved.
I posted the question about the beeping a while back - but nobody seems to know what it is... maybe overheating caused by the overworked motherboard due to dodgy ram or a dodgy HD?

I am considering getting an apple expert out to test my machine but I think this will cost an arm and a leg...
Unfortunately there are few, if any, software tests for RAM that will test your RAM as thoroughly as a modern operating system such as OS X. The RAM test on the Apple Hardware Test CD is only fair and then only if you run it for several hours or even overnight.

The most reliable way to test RAM is to remove one of the RAM sticks and see if the problems go away. If not, take the other RAM stick out and put the first one back in. In either case, if the problems go away then replace the RAM. Simple to do and dead accurate, which is more than can be said for software based RAM tests.

As far as your HD goes the first place to look is open Disk Utility, then select the drive, not the volume on the drive, and look at the bottom right of the Disk Utility window for the S.M.A.R.T. Results. If it says anything other than "verified" the drive is well on the way to becoming JUNK. It will fail much sooner than later. You can also boot from the Install CD and on the Installer menu bar select Disk Utility and run Disk Repair. Disk Utility is pretty weak at making repairs, but it does a decent job of detecting file system errors. Better alternatives to Disk Utility are TechTool Pro 4.0.2 or its older and somewhat less capable sibling Drive 10 1.1.5, both of which offer an extensive battery of hardware tests as well as file system tests and repairs. DiskWarrior 3, does an excellent with job file system repairs but lacks the extensive hardware tests. Of the choices, in your case, I would think TechTool Pro would be indicated because of the hardware tests and the more extensive suite of tests it offers.
perfessor101 - thanks for the advice. I will have a look at the software you recommend, and I will also take out one of the RAM sticks and test performance. This will leave Panther with only 256mb - is this enough?

I had severe problems last night. it crashed while I was running Safari, and it would turn back on again, after several restarts, it would reach the login stage (just before the window appears) and then the spinning cursor would appear. It did this about 5 times, then I gave up. turned it on this morning and it did start up - but was struggling, it could only just open a text file - very wierd clicking and scratching sounds. ooohhh....

As I said before I will have a go with the software tests that you recommend, and also try just running with alternate sticks of RAM, and then I will see what happens. If this doesnt solve anything I will need to get a specialist out to sort it. I dont have Apple care, I hope it wont cost too much.

Sounds like the harddrive... Clicking and scratching sounds? Get a harddrive fast, make a backup and then install that new one and get rid of the old one. Not on eBay, though, rather a trashcan.
fryke said:
Sounds like the harddrive... Clicking and scratching sounds? Get a harddrive fast, make a backup and then install that new one and get rid of the old one. Not on eBay, though, rather a trashcan.

oh god.
Don't panic Elliot. Sure, clicking and scratching sounds from the hdd are a pretty reliable signs that your disc is going to die soon. However, you will still be able to backup your data (hopefully).
What kind of mac do you have? A book or a desktop? Does any of your friends have a mac or a firewire/usb disc that you can use for backups? Once you have your data backed up, you will have enough time and nerves to examine what's wrong with your drive or your system.
its a G4 mdd 1.25 well I have a dvd burner so I will start backing up my stuff. And I will purchase disk warrior too. How much is a new HD?!??!
I would rather not use your dvd burner. Why? Your system is not stable and messing up one dvd after another.. not really it. If you have no ppl that can help you out, then simply get a 160gb disc (best space/price relation) and install it and transfer your files to that disc. A 160gb disc is around 80€. However, you might want to take a look at ebay as well. Go for a IDE ATA100 disc.
Elliotjnewman said:
This will leave Panther with only 256mb - is this enough?
Panther will run with only 256 MB of RAM. It won't be fastl, but it will run. Let us know what the S.M.A.R.T. test says. Your problem is really sounding like a drive going bad. If you have to replace your HD, the price depends more on the capacity of the new drive and the rotation speed, but prices can range from less than $60 for a 40 GB drive up to around $200 for a 250 GB model. If your G4 is a Mirror Drive Door (MDD) or later model you can easily go up to a 250 GB drive, but Quicksilver and earlier G4s are limited to 128 GB drive capacity unless you also buy a new ATA adapter card.
Ill have a look at what the SMART test says and will post them here in a few hours (if I get a chance when I get back from work).

I would rather have speed over space on a HD. Im running on a G4 MDD dual 1.25 - what speed is that drive and how fast can a drive goto? oh more money to spend... it never ends...
Accordigng to, the G4 MDD comes with:

—One 7200-rpm Ultra ATA/100 drive preinstalled in
standard configurations: 60GB, 80GB, or 120GB

So you can get a replacement (from ClubMac, just to name one source) for as little as $92 for the 120GB drive.
Elliotjnewman said:
I would rather have speed over space on a HD. Im running on a G4 MDD dual 1.25 - what speed is that drive and how fast can a drive goto? oh more money to spend... it never ends...
The standard drives used in the G4/1.25 MDD are 7200 rpm and unless you are doing really demanding audio/video work that should be more than adequate for anything else. You can get 10.000 rpm drives but they are expensive, noisy, and tend to have a shorter lifespan.

Rather than going to a 10.000 rpm drive, I would be more inclined to install a pair of matched 7200 rpm drives and configure them as a RAID array. RAID isn't all skittles and beer, as the saying goes. There are backup issues and problems with non-support of RAID by disk maintenance utilities to contend with. If you are interested in learning more, there is a good tutorial on RAID here. It isn't Mac specific but does a good job explaining the pros and cons of the different RAID levels. If maximum performance is your goal and you have a deep checkbook then RAID is definitely worth a look.