Thursday, May 19, 2005

Changing the Icecubes

Mary Ann's laptop, a Mac Titanium, is a little over three years old. I noticed that the last time I checked the warranties. Apple only supports the things for three years. I suppose there are repair methods other than Applecare, but I had been looking to upgrade her system for the past few months anyway. She's always doing heavy Photoshop work on it, and she's always been filling the hard drive. She's got over a terabyte of external hard drive space for her photos, but only a little less than 10 gig at best for fresh photos before she burns them to DVD.

So, when I came back from the hardware store and saw her checking the web on my laptop, I was a little confused. She said her laptop was turned off because it was locking up.

I knew what I'd be doing for the next few hours.

First order of business, get a full backup. Her system booted was terribly, terribly slow. Not a good sign. I booted off the install DVD and attempted to check the hard drive. The system ran okay, but Disk Utility couldn't attempt a repair because it couldn't dismount the drive. I put her laptop in target disk mode and tried that way, no luck. Disk Utility couldn't make a disk image back up for the same reason. Carbon Copy Cloner was the best bet, but it doesn't yet run under Tiger.

So booting off of her defective 10.3.9 drive, I connected one of the external firewire drives and attempted the backup. It only got 44mb out of a 44gb disk. Same thing the second time. I suspected that the hard drive was failing when the temperature got too hot, and keeping the bottom cool with a wet napkin only worked a little bit.

The third attempt I installed 'Hardware Monitor Lite' on her system so I could watch the temperature of the drive, and then I rested the laptop on a tray of ice. I'm currently into 30 gb of the backup and as long as I keep draining off the melt water and changing the ice cubes, it seemes content to just keep running. I'm working hard to keep the drive temperature under 40 degrees C. I don't know what it's limits are, but 38-40 works. I know I'll be up late tonight.

1 comment:

Karen said...

Ice cubes?! Do you have to put saran wrap between the computer and the ice?