Powerbook G4 Gone Kaput - Won't Boot


Yesterday afternoon I was in the process of burning back-up DVDs of my music and photos, and my computer began making some odd "thinking" noises that I didn't like the sound of. It almost sounded like something was loose inside. Then, my computer began freezing up as I transfered data to the DVD disc in order to burn. Then as I was burning a disc the computer froze half way through, but in the end the disc actually finished burning properly even though the computer froze. In my frustration with the freezing problems, I closed my screen, unplugged the computer, and took out my battery--knowing no other way to shut down. I'm sorry dear Powerbook. Then, as I restarted, I was having freezing problems again. And then programs wouldn't load. And then after a couple more restarts, finally everything seemed to load properly except for Mail. Then around 10pm last night it froze up again, so I let it sit all night, hoping it would work itself out, only to find at 7am it was still frozen. So, I (sorry) did the whole no-power-take-out-the-battery thing, and then when I tried to power up this morning at work, it would seem to boot up, but then it would get to my wallpaper image, and the mouse would freeze, and a message would pop up saying: "you need to restart your computer. hold down the power button for several seconds or press restart button." I tried this several times and I get the same message every time I reboot. I'm pretty knowledgeable of my computer, but I'm no computer whiz for sure. But I'm afraid I did my powerbook wrong here. Please tell me I haven't lost everything...

The "thunking" sound makes me think your hard drive went bad. If you can get the computer to boot long enough to make a backup, do so... if you can use another Macintosh with FireWire, put the laptop in Target Disk Mode and see if you can get the data off that way.

Depending on how valuable the data is to you, there's always drivesavers.com -- but be warned: recovering data from a crashed hard drive can cost anywhere from a few hundred to thousands of dollars.
here's a bit of an update: i took it to the genius bar at the apple store after trying numerous things (reset PRAM, tried to boot in safe mode, repair drive after booting with boot disc). they told me my SMART status was failing and the drive was a goner. i had seen "SMART status failing" in my disk utility but just didn't know what it meant. so, that night, i took my computer to a friends house and hooked it up in target mode, copied my most important files to my external drive. it was suggested that i use Carbon Copy Cloner, but i didn't end up doing that. when i got home, i did an archive and reinstall. right now, my hard drive is still working, but i'm about to order a new drive right now, because apparently my present drive could crash any minute.

thanks for the response,