Sunday, January 11, 2009

Kernal Panic Error and S.M.A.R.T. Failure, Mac Powerbook 15" G4

This is what is referred to as a "kernel panic error" and unfortunately appeared on my Apple Powerbook 15" G4 recently. I was pretty sure that seeing Chinese characters take over my screen was not in any way, shape, or form a good thing. What it ultimately meant for me was that my hard drive died that day and I lost ALL my data. The good news is it was only my hard drive and not the motherboard. I ended up replacing this 50 GB internal hard drive with a 250 GB Western Digital Internal Hard Drive for about $100. The bad news is I had not backed up a lot of my information on this computer so that data is gone for good unless I want to shell out big bucks to Data Doctors, or another data recovery company.

The 50 GB hard drive went with very little warning. After receiving the kernel panic error, I restarted and tried to run disk permissions. It was then I saw a dreaded red-colored message "S.M.A.R.T. Failure" OMG! It essentially meant "death of my hard drive with no time to back up." I attempted to connect my external hard drive, however it would not show up on the desktop. Game over! Take it from me, back-up before this dreaded day happens to you.

Here are a few shots I snapped while this laptop was open after the new hard drive was replaced:

FYI - this is NOT where the screw goes. My friend who had worked on the computer accidentally installed the screws in the holes where the pins for the DVI connector go (for connecting a monitor). I managed to get one of the screws out. As for the other -- I am "screwed." The "genuis" staff at the local Apple store informs me that this involves taking the entire computer apart. Do yourself a favor and do not make the same error shown here. The photos were taken as part of the first attempt to remove these screws, with no luck, and unfortunately a few other things getting jostled around. (One screw got stripped. The DVD drive got messed up and needed to be tweaked at the Apple store, a small part got snapped off internally, etc.)

On the brighter side, I am told that if I do indeed want to connect a monitor I can plug in the pin area and not be concerned with the screw-on pins. As long as there is a connection there, I will be able to connect a monitor to it.

Here's the 250 GB internal 2.5" PATA replacement drive I purchased at Best Buy for $99.99.

Western Digital - Scorpio Blue 250GB Internal EIDE Hard Drive for Laptops
Model: WD2500BEVERTL | SKU: 9024218