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Hard Drive Failures just piss me off... (rant)
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: July 14, 2010 12:29PM
My 2.08ghz Intel iMac 24", which is probably my favorite Mac that I've ever owned (though, in it's day, my Dualie MDD was pretty nice!)... has had a "sort of" hard drive failure.

"What's a 'sort of' hard drive failure? is that like being 'sort of knocked up'?"...
Well.. let me elaborate (those of you who don't care can leave now.. I'm likely to be venting at some length...).

Couple days ago, my iMac just "froze"... mouse moved, a few things could be clicked.. responses took MANY minutes.
Forced a restart, everything was normal.. I checked the console log, and nothing looked suspicious. Which, in itself, I should have found suspicious.

The next day, it happened again.... everything just screeched to a halt, so I decided it was time to boot from the shiny new 10.6 Retail CD I have, but have not gotten around to installing (I was at 10.5.8... hadn't had time to make sure some apps I use all the time wouldn't have issues...).

Booted from the CD, Did a "repair disk" with DU, got a clean bill of health with no errors, and ran the installer.
Installer failed. WIth a wonderfully non-helpful message. Something like "install failed because installer didn't install" or some such tripe.

So now I'm thinking, there's something wrong here... a grave disturbance in The Force...

I go grab a 250gb external drive from work (it's actually mine, I was just using it at work), so I can make a full clone backup to augment my Time Machine backup (which I also nervously checked... appears good to go).

Tried Cloning. Things are cloning away... going fine... then.. things. Just. Stop.
Carbon Copy Cloner is still TRYING... but progress has ended.

I boot from the 10.6 DVD again. Disk Utility.. Repair. "All Clear on the Western Front"... No errors. No problem.
Try imaging the drive using Disk Utility.
Things start out fine... cloning away... Then. Things. Stop.

Boot the iMac to Target Disk Mode. All Hail Firewire Target Disk Mode! Bow Before the Greatest Tool Ever (right after duct tape, and alcohol... don't think alcohol is a tool? Try getting 5 guys to move a metal lathe WITHOUT it!).
Attach to my aging 1.83ghz Core-Duo Macbook..
Begin the Clone.

Things start fine... blazing along....
Then. Things. Stop.

I contemplate ways of hurting myself... or possibly others... determine that it wouldn't help, and move on.

I take a deep breath, and make the decision that it is FINALLY time to invest $108.95 in a newer copy of DiskWarrior.
All Hail DiskWarrior! Bow before the greatest Bacon-saver any disk tool junkie could want.
Except this time.
A few minor errors... nothing serious..
Boot from the HD again, Things Look Normal... Everything works...
I start to hope.

I should know better than to hope. A couple hours into normal operations; Things. Just. Stop.


Why, you might ask, has this fool not just tried nuking the drive, and restoring from Time Machine, the Third Greatest Invention From Apple Ever (right after OS X and Firewire Target Disk Mode)???

Sniveling paranoia... nothing else.
I just REALLY want to have a full, complete, bootable clone before I turn the launch key and turn the drive platters into a parking lot.

SO...
Last try.. A New Hope!
I nuke my external drive, (not the Time Machine one... Madness and Death lie down that road!) and install 10.6.
I boot from it, and begin using Migration Assistant to suck the cream filling from my iMacs Time Machine Backup.
What's this? It doesn't stop! It keeps going!
The unstoppable juggernaut of Migration Assistant is going to save the day!

I begin preparation for cannonization of Migration Asssistant. I'm thinking of tatooing something pithy about the usefullness of Migration Assistant somewhere on my anatomy... if I can find someplace not covered with an unseemly amount of hair...

It finishes, and I log into my user account...
The ridiculous mess of my destkop greets me, my over-crowded dock popping up happily like the dawning of the sun.

Then; darkness comes. The oncoming storm...
I try to open an application. It "unexpectedly quits". I try another. Down in flames it goes... no chute.. officers in dress blues visit the family..

I bring out the Titanium Spork.... just to test my done-ness, and the done-ness of this drive.
And possibly to open a major artery if my Time Machine backup is to blame for this latest failure - which would mean many many days reconstructing software installs.


Let this be a lesson to you all...
Never start a land war in asia, never bet with a sicilian when death is on the line, and KEEP YOUR DOUBLE-REDUNDANT BACKUPS CURRENT!

I'm of to bundle up my iMac to take it to the local Apple Authorized shop for a drive replacement... and have them take a shot at cloning the drive. I could keep going, but I've now wasted two days, and I have a newsletter to start! And to be perfectly honest, having read the instructions on how, I think I'd rather have a pro crack open the chest of the 24" iMac for the drive-ectomy. I've done my rooting around in the guts of G3 iMacs, 8500's, and the Giant Molar G3 All In One machines...

Good Day All!



Paul F.
-----
A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
----
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

--

--

--
Eureka, CA
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Re: Hard Drive Failures just piss me off... (rant)
Posted by: M A V I C
Date: July 14, 2010 12:32PM
I'm curious, was this machine on a UPS with AVR?




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Re: Hard Drive Failures just piss me off... (rant)
Posted by: jdc
Date: July 14, 2010 12:38PM
I just replaced the drive in my 24" AL iMac, took about 20 minutes.

Overall pretty simple.

The longest part was taking out the 16 screws.



----


Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: Hard Drive Failures just piss me off... (rant)
Posted by: haikuman
Date: July 14, 2010 12:39PM
Here is something to calm your shattered nerves...*(:>*






Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/14/2010 12:40PM by haikuman.
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Re: Hard Drive Failures just piss me off... (rant)
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: July 14, 2010 12:42PM
MAVIC:

UPS yes, AVR "don't know, probably not".



jdc;

Were I not in an increasing hurry, I'd probably give it a shot...
But right now, I just want it done, with as little chance of a broken part as possible.



Paul F.
-----
A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
----
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

--

--

--
Eureka, CA
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Re: Hard Drive Failures just piss me off... (rant)
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: July 14, 2010 12:43PM
haikuman;

Heh heh... yeah, I saved that pic too.
Unfortunately it's on the drive that's not working... banghead smiley



Paul F.
-----
A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
----
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

--

--

--
Eureka, CA
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Re: Hard Drive Failures just piss me off... (rant)
Posted by: sekker
Date: July 14, 2010 12:53PM
I'm resuming my old habits of hard drive archives plus my time machine backups.

Means 3 copies of everything, but safer.

Maybe not needed for every machine, but I think critical for main machines these days.
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Re: Hard Drive Failures just piss me off... (rant)
Posted by: Rick-o
Date: July 14, 2010 12:59PM
Quote
haikuman
Here is something to calm your shattered nerves...*(:>*



Thank you, haikuman! My nerves aren't quite as shattered as Paul F. but it definitely helped me out! big grin smiley



Mr. Lahey: A lot of people, don’t know how to drink. They drink against the grain of the liquor. And when you drink against the grain of the liquor? You lose.

Randy: What the @#$%& are you talking about?
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Re: Hard Drive Failures just piss me off... (rant)
Posted by: vision63
Date: July 14, 2010 01:05PM
Paul's hard drive woes was stressing me out. So that helps H'
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Re: Hard Drive Failures just piss me off... (rant)
Posted by: billb
Date: July 14, 2010 01:14PM
Quote
haikuman
Here is something to calm your shattered nerves...*(:>*




I had a thought about the hard drive problem, but it's long gone now.
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Re: Hard Drive Failures just piss me off... (rant)
Posted by: MacArtist
Date: July 14, 2010 01:16PM
Quote
haikuman
Here is something to calm your shattered nerves...*(:>*



Rudy,

You're a good man!



I sit on a man’s back, choking him and making
him carry me, and yet assure myself and others
that I am very sorry for him and wish to ease his
lot by all possible means — except by getting off
his back. - Leo Tolstoy, novelist and Philosopher
(1828-1910)

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Re: Hard Drive Failures just piss me off... (rant)
Posted by: billb
Date: July 14, 2010 01:19PM
did someone want to know if it was safe to eat ?
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Re: Hard Drive Failures just piss me off... (rant)
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: July 14, 2010 01:35PM
ahhhhhhhh. thanks.

(no, no, no, nothing of that sort)


Paul, my dad's machine (same one, I believe) had a HD go south about a year after he bought it, just out of warranty. Total bummer.
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Re: Hard Drive Failures just piss me off... (rant)
Posted by: Dubya
Date: July 14, 2010 01:41PM
Um... Could this be an intermitant RAM failure?
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Re: Hard Drive Failures just piss me off... (rant)
Posted by: tenders
Date: July 14, 2010 01:42PM
> begin using Migration Assistant to suck the cream filling from my iMacs Time Machine Backup.

My sympathies as to the Situation. But this was a very good metaphor. And also an excellent training opportunity; I didn't know MA can do its thang from TM files.

I had some sort of error a few weeks ago that prevented my machine from booting after I applied the latest version of 10.6. I expected to have to wipe the drive and start over, but nowadays reinstalling the OS from scratch reinstalls ONLY the OS; it doesn't nuke the whole drive. I didn't lose a bit of the limited amount of datastuff I kept on the boot volume.

Anyhoo, THAT was the event that finally caused me to turn on Time Machine.

[edit:] Dubya, true, the symptoms explained do not uniquely describe a drive failure. RAM failure, or looseness, could also be the culprit.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/14/2010 01:43PM by tenders.
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Re: Hard Drive Failures just piss me off... (rant)
Posted by: btfc
Date: July 14, 2010 01:48PM
Quote
haikuman
Here is something to calm your shattered nerves...*(:>*





Just in case the problem is that your drive wasn't hard enough.
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Re: Hard Drive Failures just piss me off... (rant)
Posted by: kj4btkljv
Date: July 14, 2010 03:25PM
Quote
haikuman
Here is something to calm your shattered nerves...*(:>*



Thanks a lot! Now I've got a hard drive problem too.

Jeff
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Re: Hard Drive Failures just piss me off... (rant)
Posted by: Speedy
Date: July 14, 2010 03:55PM
Had a hard drive fail in one of our iMac 2.4 24". Fixed under Applecare. But the service provider muxed up the iSight. Needed two more trips to get that fixed and Applecare covered the provider's installation mistakes.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: Hard Drive Failures just piss me off... (rant)
Posted by: tronnei
Date: July 14, 2010 04:15PM
You forget to repair permissions and zap the PRAM. That would've fixed it.

old fogey smiley
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Re: Hard Drive Failures just piss me off... (rant)
Posted by: sekker
Date: July 14, 2010 04:30PM
If zapping PRAM would be a general fix for such hard problems...
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Re: Hard Drive Failures just piss me off... (rant)
Posted by: hal
Date: July 14, 2010 04:34PM
I can't believe that you got so worked up over this... you being a guy that spends all days supporting macs.

you've NEVER seen a hd that stops spinning? Then starts, then stops again? Pretty common failure. VERY aggravating the first time you deal with it - I guess I'm just surprised that this was your first.

Replacing the drive on that machine is easier than non-intel all-in-ones

scary when you read it - first time is pretty 'exciting', but it's easy after that.
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Re: Hard Drive Failures just piss me off... (rant)
Posted by: mlfrank
Date: July 14, 2010 04:51PM
Yup, similar issues here with a 24"/2.8 iMac. It does seem the hotter the weather is, the harder the hard drive has to work. Fortunately I have an aquaintance (sp?) that might be willing to put in a new HD - bad thing is, his info is on the iMac! Will have to wait for the morning & it's cool air.
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Re: Hard Drive Failures just piss me off... (rant)
Posted by: Speedy
Date: July 14, 2010 05:38PM
mlfrank, contol-click on the word and your speliing kan be chekd and korectd.

Quote
mlfrank
aquaintance (sp?)



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: Hard Drive Failures just piss me off... (rant)
Posted by: TheCaber
Date: July 14, 2010 05:59PM
Well, Paul F., I can only say it's a relief not to be the only one suffering from <booming echo chamber> Hard.Drive.Failure </booming echo chamber> on a (formerly 4GB, now 1GB) 20" 2.4GHz C2D iMac.

It appears that my 320GB Seagate internal drive has developed a non-mappable bad sector/logical block that sits at the 200GB address on the drive. S.M.A.R.T. status reports 'Hey! You're just peachy keen!' (Disk Utility) and SMARTreporter says 'Drive Failing'.

Like you, I did the dance of DiskWarrior, Disk Utility, Time Machine, nuke & pave, Migration Assistant, multiple times. A sad struggle that is nearing its end...



=TC
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Re: Hard Drive Failures just piss me off... (rant)
Posted by: Plumbking
Date: July 14, 2010 07:53PM
The first thing I do when I suspect HD failure is remove it from the machine.

Clone it, then try to restore with the cloned copy.

Sounds like you are trying different methods of backup and restore form the "defective" drive onboard.

I hear your frustration cause this is MY personal machine and I know what I am doing and this shouldn't happen to me.

Good luck buddy.
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Re: Hard Drive Failures just piss me off... (rant)
Posted by: C(-)ris
Date: July 14, 2010 10:30PM
Those symptoms are pretty common for a HD failure. There are probably some bad blocks or a bad area of the drive. You can get data off of everywhere else, except whatever is in those bad parts. If I was in CA I'd fix it up for you. It really isn't too hard to do, but one slip of the hand and your screen can have a nice scratch in it.



C(-)ris
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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Re: Hard Drive Failures just piss me off... (rant)
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: July 14, 2010 10:48PM
I HAVE had drives fail like this before...

I admit it, I'm just a little burnt out after trying to clone from it for a couple days...

Time Machine has certainly earned it's keep, even if the "full restore" with applications and all didn't work..
I HAVE all my user data, and though I really don't relish reinstalling and updating a whole sh!tload of applications, I'd be more than a little suicidal without my user data!


And what he heck, I get to support our only local Mac shop... Their tech is a good guy. If they can save most of my apps, great.. all the better. It was time for a larger drive anyway.

Now I just need a larger backup drive I can partition into a weekly clone, AND a Time Machine volume..



Paul F.
-----
A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
----
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

--

--

--
Eureka, CA
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Re: Hard Drive Failures just piss me off... (rant)
Posted by: haikuman
Date: July 15, 2010 10:24AM
Just make sure you keep your floppy out of my hard drive ~!~
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