The iBook has broken again

Last night the hard drive in my iBook started sounding like it was making repetitive accesses (that’s never a good sign). Hearing a hard drive make the same noise pattern over and over has been drilled into my head since the DOS 3.3 days as a sign that you should begin freaking out and throwing things.

Apps started “Not Responding” so I decided that the most prudent thing to do at the time would be to shut down and run Norton Disk Doctor to preempt any crazy disk problems. So I ran Norton which was seeming to have a bit of trouble accessing the disk but it finally finished up and fixed a ton of problems with the disk. Thinking I was home free I rebooted only to be greeted by the very unsavory “flashing folder/question mark” icon. That means that OS X can’t find a bootable volume on the hard drive.

At this point I decided that things looked bleak so I tried to mount my iBook’s hard drive on Jacqui’s desktop via Firewire Target Disk Mode. Unfourtunately the disk was unrecognizable and it couldn’t be mounted. Grrrr…

So I ramped up the attack on the disk. I tried running Techtool Deluxe (which hung and couldn’t load for some reason because it couldn’t access the disk properly) and Apple’s own hardware diagnostic CD (which also spent a inordinate amount of time loading with heavy and repetitive disk access).

At this point I just decided to give up for the night. I would be going to work in the morning and I could run the big bad daddy of mac disk recovery tools: Disk Warrior. I got the work around 10:30am and began Disk Warrior on the disk around 11am. I left it to run all throughout the day and around 5pm it had reached step 9 of 11. A little after five a sharp and quick noise came out of the case. It sounded almost like a whistle or high-pitched squeal and sounded like it was being produced by rubbing. The drive would eminate two or three of these then a lower-pitched warbling noise and stop. This repeated itself twice and on the third time the noise was constant and had no gaps in it.

I decided at this point that I would turn it off because it didn’t sound good AT ALL for this disk. I’ve called up the Corporate Customer Support Executive guy at Apple who helped me out when the logic board failed. He had instructed me at the time to contact him directly if anything with the machine ever had a problem. I think that this falls under that category. I left a message for him and I hope to hear from him soon (I really need my laptop :P). Fourtunately I have a nightly backup of the client site I’d been working on, but my most recent full backup is from March 1 :(

Here’s to hoping Apple doesn’t drop the ball on this repair :P