Fuck Me, Remind me not to do that for a while…

g4I have an old (must be about 5 years old) MAC G4 PowerBook, and recently it has given me some shit, I upgraded to 10.5 and Photoshop CS4 and everything just seemed to die. Thinking that the OS upgrade and the bloated CS4 caused a problem I downgraded back to 10.4 and CS3, that seemed to cure some of the ills.

However today the machine crashed, and would not restart. It also seemed to be running hotter than usual. First reaction was hard disk failure, second though was memory sodimm failure, a quick test revealed that the memory (which was only recently upgraded to 2Gb) was OK. So I went and purchased a new 2.5 IDE hard disk from one of my regular suppliers (wwww.cancomuk.com). The original HD was a 60Gb Hitachi, the replacement a 120GB Hitachi.


After a numerous number of attempts, I managed to get the machine to reboot, and using a software product called SuperDuper. I managed to copy the entire contents of the hard disk to an external hard disk, and make it boot-able. When it came to resoring it I used Mac’s own, disk utility.

I installed the new hard disk, fuck that was a pain in the arse. Firstly I had to buy a toolkit with a T6 Torq screwdriver bit, so a trip to Maplin was in order, £9.99 got a kit of Torq bits, phillips and other assorted heads. The annoying thing was that everything else I need to do required a set of phillips screwdrivers, only 2 screws had Torq heads.

Anyway. The process, just in case you have to replace a HD in a PPC G4 Powerbook is:

First remove the Battery, and the two screws in the battery compartment, Remove the RAM cover and the two screws inside there. Remove 4 screws that are one the base of the laptop. Then Three screws along each side of the laptop by the USB/Firewire/Ethernet connections,then two on the rear of the computer by the screen hinges.

Prise, gently the upper case, away from the bottom. unclip the Tracker Pad ribbon cable and the keyboard cable (to be honest I left the keyboard cable). Undo two screws from the Hard Drive retaining bar and remove the bar, before removing the HD, re-route the red and black cables that are concealed under the HD ribbon connector, these are the speaker cables, they re-rout easily enough, but remember to but them back after installing the new drive.

Having done that, disconnect the hard drive and remove. Once out remove the grub screws (with rubber grommets) and the hard disk shield material.

Then remove the HD connector from the old one, install with the shield and reconnect, then the process is largely reversed. Except for losing screws, and ending up with several left over, which is considers mandatory for any hardware upgrade.

So I now have a machine with twice the storage, 120Gb is not that big, and fairly common in a laptop now, but was is surprising is that the machine is much quicker, this could be down to several factors 1, higher access speed ( the old disk was 4200-RPM the new is 5200-RPM. 2, Increased space available as swap files. 3, an on going hard disk problem that may have been causing problems.

Remember the important thing about hard disks, there are only two types, ones that have failed, and those that are about to fail.

The important thing is always keep your backups up to date, mine were only a few days old, but the problem was all the silly things that you do not generally back up such as emails, web-cookies etc.

Anyhoo, fully restored, quicker than before, just a few hours of heartache and irritation.

One thought on “Fuck Me, Remind me not to do that for a while…

  1. I’m glad the MacBook (white polycarbonate version) is a piece of piss to work on. I recently updated my 80gb to 250gb, whole process took around 3 hours (backup – upgrade – OS install – Restore). I’m fairly sure my battery life is a little worse now, still nothing too bad.

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