Mac OS X Blues

The hard drive on my mac seems to be either dead or dying. my iMac is about 2 years old. Its a G4 with w/ 256 MB ram , 80 GB harddrive. I mostly used it for storing my music collection, browsing the internet, doing some word processing, and blogging.

I noticed the the problem last night, as I was working on my PC. I had turned around to launch iTunes so that I could listen to some music as I coded. Suddenly, there was a scrapping sound from the hard-drive, I listed to it a little bit, and then iTunes suddenly started up. I immediatly thought that the time had come to do a backup. Unfortunately, I was so caught up in my code on the other screen that I did’nt do the backup.

This evening when i came back from work, I turned on the Mac, and then walked away. I heard the familiar boot up sound that the mac makes as it comes up, and the gentle chugging of the hard-drive as it loaded up OS X booted up. Usually by the time I come back to my desk the Mac has fully boot-ed up and read to go to work, but today it just showed the blue screen and the mouse pointer.

I know that my premonition had been right last night. I immediatly ran Disk Utility from the Mac OS DVDs. They could’nt fix the problems. I became concerned that it may be a hardware failure, so I ran the Apple hardware test utility. At first that reported there was an error. However, when I ran it a second time, the hard drive passed the mass-storage test. It passed all subsequent attempts at the test too.

So I booted the Mac up in safe mode and brought up the command line console. I ran the fsck utility and then I got the best shock of the day. I/O error could not repair drive. All the websites recommended that some of these messages are benign, and you should keep on running fsck until all errors appear to be removed. Unfortunately, I got the same result. So now I’m confused, is it a hardware failure or is it some file system corruption? I know that the two browsers I use on the mac (Safari and firefox) had crashed more frequently. I had put that down to my heavy usage, plus I know for a fact that Firefox has some serious memory leaks. I had also recently upgraded to Firefox 1.5.

From what I could find on the web, the best way to fix these kinds of problems is to get Alsoft’s Disk Warrior.

So now I’m running the Disk Utility again. This time I told it to verify the the Disk Permissions. I still hear those periodic grinding sounds, and the progress bar seems to be stuck at that percentage.

Update I

The progress bar on the verify Disk Permissions has moved, Hallelujllah! However progress is painfully slow!

Update II

The task bar has moved! The task bar has moved !!, A whole lot of permissions were wrong, and the disk utility is reporting them as such. Could it be that it was only this problem. In any case, I think a good backup manager is nonetheless required.

Update III

The verification phase is done. I’m now repairing the disk persmissions. I’m just hoping that it works. Keep your fingers crossed.

Update IV

Its OFFICIAL.  The file system on my Mac is corrupted, and apparently only Alsoft’s Disk Warrior can recover it.

I still have some ideas on how to recover my data. I need to figure out someway to transfer my music files.I could then easily format the hard drive and then rebuild the Mac.

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