Dead powerbook :(

My powerbook died. Well, more precisely, my powerbook’s hard disk died. But it amounts to the same thing.

I’d been noticing an accelerating degradation of performance over the past week or two, starting with little oddities like pauses on disk access, or suspend taking much longer than normal (1-2 minutes as opposed to a couple of seconds), and disturbing noises from deep in the bowels of the powerbook. Then yesterday afternoon, things started going pear-shaped very rapidly.

Simple stuff like moving to the next article in NetNewsWire resulted in the Beachball Of Death, and nothing happening for several minutes. Closing tabs in Safari took similarly forever. Basically, I couldn’t even shut down, and had to resort to ^-Cmd-Power. On restart, the login window came up, but when I tried to log in (which took, again, forever), Finder never really started (no desktop icons).

When I got home, I booted off the Tiger DVD, and managed to save a bit of data to my external firewire disk. The installer gives you a “Tools” menu that includes Disk Utility. So, I launched Disk Utility and used it’s “Create image from folder” functionality to create a DMG on my external drive of my ~/Library folder. It took, once again, forever (at least hours–I went to bed), for a total size of about 500MB. I also tried to do the same thing for my iTunes library, but that was looking unlikely to finish before the heat-death of the universe.

This morning I dropped in at my local Apple Centre (Desktop Power in Ivanhoe, for those to whom it might be relevant). They listened to my description of the symptoms, listened to the noises from the hard disk and quickly agreed with my diagnosis. :( By the time they got it out the back and booted of an external drive, the system wasn’t recognising the disk at all. *sigh*

Anyway, the good news from the whole thing is (a) it’s still under warranty, (b) I made a complete backup before installing Tiger a few weeks ago, and (c) I was planning on doing a fresh install some time anyway. Silver lining and all that…

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