Detecting Apple Hardware Problems

Tis Better to Have Loved and Lost (Your Powerbook) than Never have Loved (Your Powerbook) at All

I was hoping to post an entry entitled “My Week with a Powerbook” last night or today, but after re-installing the OS several times over the last week, and having it freeze up and come back up with no hard drive again today in the middle of work, I’ve decided to post some things that I’ve encountered that eventually led to the conclusion that it was in fact a hardware error, and not me doing something. Engel you can shut up about hardware karma now 🙂

  • Getting “can’t send data fast enough for CD, try burning at a slower speed” messages trying to burn CDs
  • Strange lockups and the pinwheel of death when copying files across the network
  • Situations where apps will start pinwheeling one after the other, eventually leaving you completely locked up
  • Booting up the computer after one of the aformentioned lockups and getting a grey screen of death
  • … or a folder with a flashing “?”
  • … or booting up on an install CD after and trying to get information about the hard drive and having it sit forever getting hard drive information
  • … or telling you it can’t repair the disk with the wonderfully descriptive “error -9972”

Update: That said, the experience using the powerbook and OS 10.3 was heavenly. It’s hard to go back to WindowsXP or Linux (as far as the GUI) now, they are ugly, clunky…. ugh. Sadly it looks like I got a computer from a bad batch ($otherprogrammers powerbook is running fine) and this shouldn’t be taken as what all apple hardware is like, especially if you have succumbed to the dark side 🙂

7 Comments on “Detecting Apple Hardware Problems”

  1. Heh… I was about to suggest to install Windows 2000. My laptop never gives me problems booting up or with the hard drive 🙂

  2. The network thing is frustrating. My common complaint is browsing Samba networks. Usually it works like a dream, except when Finder dies hard as soon as you browse (and logging out or rebooting doesn’t help). And the bugs in FTP and WebDAV are well known.
    If you’re getting the ? (something along the lines of the old “LI” error in LILO, or the various DOS-type boot errors) then zap the PRAM and hope a reinstall isn’t needed.

  3. Try running ‘diskutil’.
    First run:
    diskutil list
    This give you a list of your drives and partitions. Next do:
    diskutil info /dev/disk0 #Or whatever number is your HD
    You are looking for the Line that says:
    SMART Status: ###
    See if SMART status says anything is wrong.

  4. Nope, there was extra ram added, but it was done by apple, and we took the ram out and tried. Looking at the things it was doing (not sending data to the cdrom fast enough, crashing when transferring files across the network) it seems to make sense that it’s some sort of harddrive problem. It’s out of my hands now anyway, sent back to head office for them to deal with and replace.

  5. I have a powerbook 1400 that was working fine but suddenly froze. It flashed an error message for a millionth of a second that said something about BIOS. It will not boot up now. The battery is fine, some attempts got a partial boot–then it shut off suddenly. It makes a loud beep when I reset. What’s up with that?