Hard Drive Saga: Another One Bytes the Dust Part 2

Last time I talked about how my Maxtor 60GB 7200PM hard drive had started continuously doing the dreaded double beep every 30 seconds, and was told by a friend that the continuous double beep signified the hard drive was about to fail. I then tried to use Toast to backup my hard drive. Toast kept on locking up after verifying the files. Now for the conclusion to my tale.

Later that evening (a week ago Tuesday), I decided to do the dreadful Finder Burn CD. The reason Finder burning is so dreadful is that it first makes a disc image of the CD you inserted, and then burns from that, and is extremely slow. Up to 3x slower than burning the same CD with Toast. I did the first CD at 4x, and it took over 50 minutes to complete! Compare that to Toast, which can burn a 4x CD in 20 minutes. I did the second CD at 8x and it burned in a more reasonable 25 minutes.

Now all my documents and e-mail were safe. At this point I shut down for the evening. I was not going to risk using the computer at all, unless it was essential -- for fear of the hard drive failing and losing all my data. I wasn't going to attempt to backup the 5GB+ of photo's I have. I instead was going to wait until I did the hard drive to hard drive transfer of all my files when I got the firewire enclosure for my 60GB hard drive.

Wednesday morning I called Alex to order the 120GB Hard Drive, and also decided to order a Firewire enclosure for my existing hard drive. Since my existing HD was still under warranty, I would be able to get a free replacement, but since the replacement would be a refurbished drive, I couldn't take the risk of using it as my primary hard drive.

I decided to risk my hard drive to do some research on firewire enclosures with Maxtor Drives and Orange Micro USB/Firewire PCI cards. This was after finding out from Graeme (who runs Mac Buyers Guide) that in his tests with Orange Micro USB/Firewire PCI cards and Maxtor drives in Firewire enclosures, that the drive always had read/write problems. Reading through forum posts of people who have Orange Micro firewire PCI cards and Maxtor hard drives in Firewire enclosures - it indeed did sound like everyone had this problem.

Now the real fun began installing the new hard drive -- an easy task for me now that I was a veteran at hard drive replacements. In 2001 I had replaced the 6GB stock drive with the 60GB Maxtor drive that was now failing. Damien had helped me out in doing my first hard drive replacement, since I wasn't sure how to do it. (I knew it was the IDE cable, and power cable that needed to be connected, but wasn't sure what else I would have to do), I also wasn't sure how to remove the hard drive from the computer case. Things didn't go well then since only 32GB of the 60GB drive were showing up.

After 3 hours, we had given up. He did get a diagram for the jumpers, so we thought it wasn't that. In the end when I called Maxtor the next week I found out that the drive was set to 32GB limit for compatibility with older versions of Windows, which could only see up to 32GB drives. I was instructed on how to change the jumpers, and was able to install the drive myself and had 60GB of hard drive space.

I swapped out the old 60GB drive and carefully placed it in the anti static page. The new drive came in and I installed the new drive, remembering to set the jumpers to Master and removing the 32GB limiter. I booted from my Jaguar CD and went to partition the drive into 1GB (Swap), 6.8GB (Mac OS X, Note if you have a Beige G3, you must install Mac OS X on a partition that is completely within the first 8GB of the drive for Mac OS X to install), 1GB (Mac OS 9), and remaining space for Data.

After partitioning, I quit Disk Utility to install Mac OS X. Now came the bad news. The installer listed the partitions in alphabetical order, which reversed the order of the partitions, and Mac OS X was stating that all the partitions weren't within the first 8GB of the drive. Back to Disk utility and I reversed the partitions - same thing. I then named them 1, 2, 3, 4, and tried again - same thing. I then went back to the original names formatted - same thing. I then decided to reboot and now the installer showed the Mac OS X partition as being allowed to have Mac OS X installed on it.

I installed Mac OS X and then started reinstalling all my applications. Then I restored the 2 CDs of data I had burned the night before. I was going to wait for the firewire case to arrive and then transfer all my Video clips, MP3s, and other stuff from my old hard drive to the new one.

I then changed my mind and decided to see if I could stretch the IDE cable from the CD-ROM to the lowest drive bay, were I wanted to put the old drive so I could do hard drive to hard drive transfer of all my old files. I quickly changed my mind once I got in there and tried to grab the CD-ROM ribbon cable. To say the least, it wasn't going to be easy to get out, and the power connecter was being very stubborn and wasn't coming out. I then decided I might as well remove the CD-ROM and put the hard drive in the CD-ROM bay, which would make it easier for connecting the cables.

Here's how to remove the CD-ROM on a beige G3. First you remove the grey faceplate by first take off the side cover (press the green button on the top of the tower) and then pull the tabs that are on the left side of the faceplate to remove it. Unscrew the 2 screws on each side of the metal plate behind the faceplate; a Philips screwdriver is required (for almost all computer screws, a Philips screw driver is used). Then you have to pull the CD-ROM halfway out -- this gives you more room to unplug the cables from the CD-ROM. One you have disconnected all the cables pull the CD-ROM out of the computer. Now unscrewed it from the sled.

When I went screw the hard drive onto the sled, I ran into the next problem - the hard drive is too small for the sled (the screw holes wouldn't line up). So I reattached the sled to the CD-ROM and decided to just let the hard drive sit on top of the internal ZIP drive that sits below the CD-ROM.

After connecting the hard drive (keeping it set to Master as the CD-ROM is on a separate bus then the other hard drive), I booted up. Mac OS X recognized the drive.

Now the fun part, copying all 32GB of data from my old drive to my new drive, I decided to play it safe, and copy my data over in sections. I first copied over my 5GB of Photos and at first was getting 15-20MB/sec (at least it seemed like that), it showed down to around 5MB. I then copied my video collection (8.6GB) and it took roughly 25 minutes. I then copied over my MP3 collection weighing in at 12.6GB and it took around 40 minutes. I then compared by old home folder to my new one and found the old one was still 2GB bigger then my new one, a quick check and I found out it was the CD images that were causing the difference in size. One final look over the old drive, and off to Disk Utilities to format the drive before sending it in for replacement.

I decided to use my firewire CD-RW to grab some stuff from a CD-R. I popped the CD-R in and well my CD-RW didn't seem to work, this scared the crap out of me, if it had died -- that's another $400 for a new CDRW. After I had got my computer all back together it was working fine. I might have overloaded the system with the Firewire CD-RW and 2 hard drives.

Since I had my computer in pieces, I thought I might as well grab some screenshots I swore were still on my old 6GB hard drive I had replaced in July 2001. I installed it where the 60GB was booted up to a clicking sound, and when I touched the drive, I could feel the head bouncing back and forth. I guess the drive was dead as a doorknob (it had worked in October when I was trying to get my computer to recognize my 60GB when my battery had died).

The final step was to reinstall my CD-ROM. After 30 minutes of trying to get it in I realized that I had put the sled on up side down, I put it on right side up, and the CD-ROM slid in and I put the face plates back on.

The next morning I called Alex to cancel the order for the Firewire case, due to the mounting evidence that showed it wouldn't work with the Maxtor drive. Yesterday I realized I should just put it in Bay 4, and use it as a slave drive. All I would need to do is possibly replace the IDE cable with one that supports Master/Slave, get a mounting plate to attach the hard drive to the sled and then I would have an internal backup hard drive. I will keep you posted as to what happens with that.