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HD problem - is it dead???

Posted on 1999-01-26
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Last Modified: 2013-11-17
I have a problem with the HD in my G3 (it's ATA)

The G3 crashed during a desktop rebuild (it's good to do it sometimes right?)...

now, if I turn the G3 on... it won't boot... i see a disk with a question mark...

if i boot the mac from a CD it will boot... but then it will freez... sometimes i can see the ATA HD icon on the desktop before the freez and sometimes i can't... I can still move the cursor... quiting the finder (my brother told me to try this) won't help...

if i disconnect the HD the mac boots fine from a CD...
if I boot with conflict catcher (on a jaz cartridge), and try to rebuild the desktop (by pressing spacebar and then choose rebuild desktop), I can see the ATA HD, but it's gray....

Is there anything i can do???  i have a backup and it's ok to format the HD... its just that i can't boot with the HD connected...

please please help me... thanx
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Question by:danroberto
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KevSpencer earned 400 total points
ID: 1538426
Hi, danroberto.

I've had a client with an similar problem. The Mac's hard drive stores data about the files on the disk and their location in a file called a master directory block (among other names). A G3 at my client's workplace also did the same thing.

You need to repair the data directory enough so that it does not lock the system. To do this, I recommend DiskWarrior by Alsoft (www.alsoft.com). It costs $70 but you can purchase it and download it from another Mac. It fits on a floppy--I hope your Mac isn't the newer floppyless blue-white G3s. If so, add the necessary parts to your Jaz startup to activate your floppy drive. DiskWarrior does only 1 thing--recreate a new data directory so the problems are repaired enough. There may be more damage--don't trust it, but then go ahead and use the Mac CD to reformat immediately (use the low-level format options from the Initialization Options command) since you have a backup.

One other thing...if the drive has physical damage, you might be able to have this drive repaired or replaced under warranty if it is still active.

If this fails, try Norton Utilities 4.01 or TechTool Pro 2.1.1 to repair the drive enough to reformat it. Good luck. --KS
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by:KevSpencer
ID: 1538427
Danroberto: The program Drive Setup on the Mac CD is what you need to reformat. A third (and now that I think of it, BEST) option is startup the Mac by forcing it to ignore the internal hard drive. Hold down Command-Option-Shift-Delete to do this with the Mac CD in place. That way, the Mac doesn't attempt to mount the drive and lock the system. From there, use Drive Setup to reinitialize that puppy. Bonzai! --KS
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by:danroberto
ID: 1538428
Hi again,

Remember the problem I had with the ATA HD??
(if it was connected, it made the G3 freeze when I booted from a cartridge... and I couldn't boot from it...)

My big brother's friend (a Mac Wizard) solved it...
After 2 days he tried everything, he wrote an "apple script" that told the finder to quit and open norton disk doctor...

it worked... norton started to examine the disk and it had like 200 "catalog B-Tree" error... somewhere in the middle norton couldn't continue and gave an unknown error.... Imagine, after we pressed "fix" so many times... we tried again, no luck.... then we tried using techtools pro   and it fixed everything!!!

I had to reinstall some stuff, but all in all everything is OK!!!

Now for the questions:

1. What's "catalog B-Tree"?? how does it get damaged??

2. How can a HD that has all it's blocks OK, prevent the machine from booting from another device?  I can't understand it...


Thank you so much for all the help

Roberto
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by:KevSpencer
ID: 1538429
Hi, again, Roberto.

1) B-trees are part of the data directory that maintains your files and their locations on the hard disk. Normally, b-trees get some minor damage and programs like Norton Utilities and TechTool Pro can correct them. When b-trees get really trashed, you get the programs you had.

2) Hard drives are the same for the most part, but the software installed on them isn't. For example, your G3's drive was probably formatted in HFS+, a new formatting scheme that allows you to waste less space in saving files to your drive. But, HFS+ drives can't be used as startup drives for older Macs (680x0-types) or any PowerPC Mac running Mac OS 8.0 or older. Another reason that drives can't work involves interleaving--the way the data is formatted on the drive. This usually just affects older Macs, so I bet your problem involves the first idea.

Glad you're back up and running. Good luck to you. --KS
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