Death of an iBook
November 1, 2004 8:31 AM   Subscribe

Death of an iBook. A couple hours ago, in the exact instant that I pushed the button to turn off my iBook G4, the iBook made a weird sound, its power was cut out immediately and abruptly went dead in a split-second (instead of the usual, slower process). It doesn't restart. It doesn't. Batteries are OK, by the way. Two questions: how bad is it, is it just electrical or the hard disk has been damaged as well? Also, I have put a lot of expensive software (Photoshop CS, Toast Titanium, Office, etc) in it. I still have the cd's and serial numbers, will I be able to reinstall them when the iBook's been fixed? It is still under guarantee, it's 7 months old. (more inside)

Today it's a national holiday here, so Apple Support offices are closed. I plan to call tomorrow, immediately. Anybody has ever had similar notebook trouble?
posted by matteo to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
matteo, this happened to me with my Powerbook once. I unplugged it, took out the battery, put it back in, plugged it back in, and it worked. Hasn't happened since. Not saying it'll work for you but it's worth a shot. Even if that does work you might want to bring it in and get it looked at since it's still under warranty.

As for your software... well, it's yours. You can install it as many times as you want on the one computer. At least, that's the situation to my knowledge.
posted by dobbs at 9:08 AM on November 1, 2004

Did you hold down the power button or did you just hit it? Holding down the button on the laptop will force it to skip all the checks and processes which are ordinarily run at shutdown, and do a cold shutdown. This, however, should not ever prevent the computer from starting up as normal.

I'd bet it's not a serious problem.

I assume you have already reset the PRAM? If not, google up the instructions for that for your model. Do this. Take out the battery and unplug it from the mains. Let it sit there for about ten minutes. Then put the battery and power cord back in place and try to start it up again.

If it is truly a logic board or power problem, odds are good the hard drive is fine. You will probably not have to reinstall anything.
posted by Mo Nickels at 9:08 AM on November 1, 2004

This happened to Ahmed Chalabi, too.
posted by zaelic at 9:26 AM on November 1, 2004

Something like this also happened to me, and taking out the battery, waiting, and putting it back in worked for me. There were a few hours of panic, though, so I sympathize with your state right now.
posted by advil at 9:34 AM on November 1, 2004

Reset your power manager by removing the battery and holding in the reset button (the tiny little hole - you will need a paper clip) for 30 seconds. Attempt to boot.

If that doesn't work, you won't be able to boot up far enough to zap your PRAM or do much of anything else, and may need a motherboard replacement. It happens. You're cool if you're under warranty, and data loss is not necessarily likely.
posted by scarabic at 10:02 AM on November 1, 2004

Response by poster: thanks everybody, I'm going to try that later this evening.
posted by matteo at 11:46 AM on November 1, 2004

Response by poster: nope, didn't work. thanks anyway, tomorrow I'll take the iBook to the doctor

*shakes fist*
posted by matteo at 1:52 PM on November 1, 2004

I have an iBook, and one thing their notorious for is their bad logic boards (the logic board is just like a normal computer's motherboard). I had an experience similar to yours and had to have it (the board) replaced, though the problem was hard to reproduce because it wouldn't happen all the time.

Of course, mine is a G3 - Apple may have fixed that problem.
posted by swift at 3:07 PM on November 1, 2004

Technically, it's not that the iBook has bad logic boards, it's that it's placed in a poorly designed case which allows too much stress to be put on the l.b. Thus--kablooey. But when you're sending an iBook in for its 3rd logic board replacement, such distinctions tend to be cold comfort.

This was a serious problem with G3 models, but supposedly the G4s are better. Matteo, the good news is that you don't seem to have the symptoms of l.b. failure. It's probably the battery.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 6:55 PM on November 1, 2004

Response by poster: I've just spoken with Apple Support, I'm bringing the iBook to the lab tomorrow morning. they were pretty blasé about the whole thing -- from the calm, anodyne tone of the guy's voice after I explained what's wrong I suspect I'm not the first customer to have had that problem
posted by matteo at 10:02 AM on November 2, 2004

Response by poster: FOLLOW-UP:

thanks everybody -- apparently the "logic board" commenters were right .
I went to Apple offices with my iBook and the repair woman just said:
"Oh, yeah, it's got to be the logic board, I've seen a lot of those. you're under guarantee right? cool, fill out this form and come back in 2 weeks, we'll' replace it"
posted by matteo at 2:53 AM on November 3, 2004

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