Scott's Weblog The weblog of an IT pro specializing in virtualization, networking, open source, and cloud computing

Dead PowerBook

Back in September of 2003, I made the switch from Windows XP Professional on an HP laptop to Mac OS X (10.2, or “Jaguar”, at the time) on a 15” 1GHz PowerBook G4. Over the next three years, I upgraded the laptop to Panther (using the “Archive and Install” method) and Tiger (using a clean build), and throughout it all the laptop performed without any issues. I used it everyday up until the day I purchased my Core 2 Duo-based MacBook Pro. At that time, I gave the laptop to my daughter to use at college.

Upon getting home from work yesterday, my daughter came to me and said, “Dad, can you look at my laptop? It won’t start up.” Convinced that the problem was a loose nut behind the keyboard (think about that—you’ll get it in a minute), I set out to fix the laptop. Quite some time later, I came to my final conclusion regarding the status of the laptop: it was dead, the victim of a failed hard drive.

Well, a failed hard drive is never a desired event, but in the grander scheme of things this was actually good thing. After all, it could have been the motherboard, or the screen display, or any number of other things that could have failed. At least the hard drive is (relatively) inexpensive and straightforward to replace. After all, had it been the display the entire laptop would have been shot. At least this way we can still salvage the laptop.

So, sometime in the next few days, I’ll need to purchase a new laptop hard drive and crack open the case of my PowerBook G4 to replace the failed drive and then re-install Tiger and all her applications. (Fortunately for her, no critical data was stored on the laptop. Thank goodness for that, because she hadn’t been backing anything up.)

I’ve started looking for replacement hard drives, but does anyone have any recommended vendors or models to consider? Price is more important than capacity or performance here…we have to do this on a budget. Any suggestions or recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

UPDATE: I found a new Hitachi 60GB 5400RPM drive from Other World Computing for about $68 (after tax and shipping) and installed it a couple of nights ago. The process only took about 10 minutes and went flawlessly. I’m now in the process of reinstalling all the software, patches, updates, etc., which is a far more time-consuming process.

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