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  1. #1
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    Any Mac experts in the Lounge

    <img src=/S/hello.gif border=0 alt=hello width=25 height=29> Loungers

    OK my friend just walked in with her Mac PowerBook laptop, and asked me for some help.

    It seems that she was working on the laptop, yesterday, and today the darn thing won't boot. When I tried to power up the PowerBook, it gave me an icon that looks like a folder with a ? "Question Mark" in it. I take this as a signal that it could not find the operating system, for some reason.

    I have been able to boot via a CD-ROM that has some software install on it, and I also was able to run some diagnostics from that CD. Unfortunately there are no hardware utilities on that CD, and the fact that the HD come up as Untitled with nothing but empty space, is kinda worrisome.

    So, any Mac Guru out there who can help answer some of my questions:

    1) How does one access the BIOS of a Mac PowerBook if they even have the same concepts. I want to check this just to see if the hardware is recognized, and eliminate any hardware issues and deal with maybe some software issues.

    2) What disk recovery utilities are out there for the Mac that I can use to try and find what I need to find? I would like to try and install something and see if it will work, but I can't because I am scared I will over write something important on the HD, thus I want to test things first.

    3) What file system is used on the Mac side, do they use a FAT, and what type of FAT is it? Could I recover one copy and try and boot after that?

    Thanks for any ideas

    Wassim
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  2. #2
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    Re: Any Mac experts in the Lounge

    Perhaps the hard drive died suddenly? What Mac OS is it?
    -Mark

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    Re: Any Mac experts in the Lounge

    <P ID="edit" class=small>(Edited by Bowlie on 15-Dec-03 18:11. corrected link to the Apple Discussions)</P>Hi Wassim

    You are right the flashing ? says that the machine can't find a system folder to boot from. (Beit OS 9 or 10).

    Does your friend have the original OS CD? If so you should find 'Disk First Aid' on that (when it boots from the CD - select this from the Utilities menu.

    If your friend had any version of OS X (currently OS X.3.1 is the most up-to-date) try holding down the Command (looks like a shamrock) and S keys to boot into single-user (Unix terminal) - at the prompt type fsck -y (there is a space between the K and the -, but not between the - and the y) This is file system check - yes repair. Repeat this as many times as needed until you get the prompt Disk seems to be OK (or something like that)

    IMHO the best disk repair utility is Disk Warrier .
    <hr>Instead of patching the original directory, it uses a patent-pending technology to quickly build a new replacement directory using data recovered from the original directory, thereby recovering files and folders that you thought were lost and that no other program could recover. <hr>
    I regularly rebuild/replace my directory every month or so. It should be able to mount the HD whatever the state of the directory.

    You should also have a look at the Apple Discussions here

  4. #4
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    Re: Any Mac experts in the Lounge

    <img src=/S/hello.gif border=0 alt=hello width=25 height=29> Mark

    OK stop with the bad news. I think you may be right, but I am not sure of that.

    Since the diagnostics showed the HD as empty, so the hardware seems to be OK I am hoping.

    I understand that HDs are single points of failure, and I know my friend has a fairly recent backup, but she has downloaded her pictures from her camera and that was not backed up.

    Any ideas how to recover stuff off the Mac?

    Wassim
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  5. #5
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    Re: Any Mac experts in the Lounge

    <img src=/S/thankyou.gif border=0 alt=thankyou width=40 height=15> Bowlie

    Yes she does have the original CDs, OS 9.x, and I did run the Disk First Aid application, but no tests were done on the disk. It did a video card test, some memory tests, but no real hard drive test.

    I want something that will do a "Scan Disk", or a defrag, or maybe an FDisk equivalents.

    Would Disk Warrior do these kind of things?

    <font color=red> holding down the Command (looks like a shamrock) </font color=red> <img src=/S/confused.gif border=0 alt=confused width=15 height=20> How does a Shamrock look? <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15> Oh please don't take my <img src=/S/eyeout.gif border=0 alt=eyeout width=15 height=15> out, just joking, I think these days it also has an apple on it as well.

    Oh <img src=/S/bouncenburn.gif border=0 alt=bouncenburn width=31 height=31> fsck -y is what I think I should be using, so I'll try it on Thursday when I see her again. I will keep doing this until I get the big old A-OK...

    But what are the equivalents to the Scan Disk, and FDisk utilities?

    Thanks a lot, for the ideas, I will reply with news when I get them.

    Wassim
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  6. #6
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    Re: Any Mac experts in the Lounge

    You're getting better advice from Bowlie than you probably will from me. What I can tell you is that without a working OS, recovering any data that is not permanently lost is going to be more difficult. If you suspect the drive is dead, get a new one, install the Mac OS on it, and then attach the other drive and see if you can retrieve anything from it using the GUI. Beats the heck out of trying to learn the command line and save a hard drive at the same time!
    -Mark

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    Re: Any Mac experts in the Lounge

    Wassim
    Forget fsck - OS 9 does not have a Unix kernal - this won't work, you won't even be able to boot into single user mode by holding command-S.

    I still think you will be able to recover data using DiskWarrior, This version supports OS 9.

    Other than that I agree with Mark. The challenge will be to get the machine running with a working OS. I'm working from memory but I am certain that OS 9 will boot from an external HD. If you have one to use that is. Install OS 9.x from the original disks.

    From the Apple Menu (upper left hand corner) you should see "Apple System Profiler" that should tell you whats connected and recognised.

    One other suggestion, since your in New York, why not give the "Apple Store" a call (or a visit if you are near). I have very good things about their support and they may let you borrow their tools.

    Good luck

  8. #8
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    Re: Any Mac experts in the Lounge

    Wassim,
    What I think has happened is the 'blessed' system folder isn't being recognised as being 'blessed', i.e. that it is capable of booting.

    A re-install may be necessary if the folder, or some of its contents, are corrupted - even Disk Warrior won't fix this.

  9. #9
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    Re: Any Mac experts in the Lounge

    <img src=/S/thankyou.gif border=0 alt=thankyou width=40 height=15> Bowlie

    My friend came back today, and I am working on her PowerBook.

    I did run Disk First Aid, heck I am an American Red Cross CPR/First Aid instructor, and it said that the disk appears to be OK. I did a verify and it gave me an OK on the "untitled" disk ATA Bus 2 Dev 0, the stop button is always dimmed.

    When I did a repair, it went very fast for a 20 GB HD, but did not do anything.

    Thanks again for all your help

    Wassim
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