What is this Powerbook's problem?
October 17, 2008 3:23 AM Subscribe
What is this Powerbook's problem? Rare kernel panics followed by disk catalog errors on startup, but I've ruled out the HD and OS.
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks to technology (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
15" Aluminum Powerbook, 1.5GHz, OS X 10.5.5.
It all began when, in the course of trying to get it to stop undercharging the battery, I did a PMU reset. On the first post-reset restart, the disk gave all appearances of crashing -- got about 10 seconds into the startup and then froze, and then couldn't be booted afterwards. I booted from disc and installed a new OS, which also would have occasional panics after/during restarts, and once it just had a system-wide freeze in the middle of otherwise working, which didn't even show the kernel panic multilingual announcement (ugh, even typing that I'm thinking "you know it's the logic board", but read on please).
Apple Hardware Test checked everything out as being OK, and after repairing the post-panic HD, Disk Utility also gave the HD a clean bill of health as far as that goes.
I originally felt that the HD was the most likely culprit here (it's old and mechanical, while the other two likely possibilities -- the RAM and logic board -- are solid state and don't have such an obvious reason to up and die after four years of working) so I put in a new drive. Symptoms haven't changed: sometimes restarts go wrong, followed by catalog errors on the drive when I run fsck in single-user mode. The catalog errors can be repaired in single-user mode. Since the kernel panics are sort of rare, I don't feel like I can easily test the RAM sticks with the "take one out, see if things are better" method, although I am certainly wondering about them now.
The practical issue is that every time it does happen and the catalog is repaired, Time Machine no longer recognizes the things it's backed up already and attempts to back up the entire drive again, making it useless as an incremental backup tool, and the combination of weird computer + no incremental backups is no good.
What do you think, definitely the logic board? If so, that is going to be the end of the line for this Powerbook. Or would you proceed by replacing the RAM (it isn't very expensive, but on the other hand I don't want to waste the money on it if it isn't to blame).
Any suggestions? Keeping in mind that I've already run Apple Hardware Test and it reported no problems, and there is a brand-new HD and a brand-new OS install, and both the PMU and PRAM have been reset in the course of recent events.