Is my Powerbook G4 on its way out?
July 15, 2004 9:58 PM   Subscribe

My Powerbook G4, which I bought in January, is beginning to worry me. Microsoft Word crashes incessantly, you have to jiggle CDs back and forth to get them into the slot, and tonight when trying to wake my computer from sleep mode, it wouldn't awake. I had to hit the power button 4 times before anything happened. What should I do?
posted by adrober to Technology (11 answers total)
Take it to an Apple store. The geniuses can help.
posted by esch at 10:14 PM on July 15, 2004

Tell Apple. It's still under warranty, probably.

The Word problems could just mean you need to rebuild permissions in Disk Utility (just run it and click the button rebuild permissions button and let it do its thing, it will cleanse a multitude of sins).

But jiggly CDs and waking-from-sleep issues say "hardware trouble" and that's the kind of thing you need to deal with while you still have warranty protection.
posted by bcwinters at 10:15 PM on July 15, 2004

Oh, and BACK EVERYTHING UP before you take it in. If something's wrong with the hard drive and they replace or reformat it, you'll be up a creek.
posted by bcwinters at 10:17 PM on July 15, 2004

definitely take it back. None of those problems are "normal" at all.
posted by Kwantsar at 10:32 PM on July 15, 2004

Erm... I've definitely experienced all those problems on a Powerbook. They're pretty unreliable - an AppleCare engineer told me that over 20% of them need repair at some point. If you're still in warranty I would strongly recommend you buy the AppleCare extended package, which will enable you to get these things fixed for no extra cost.
posted by skylar at 12:53 AM on July 16, 2004

They're pretty unreliable

Not in my experience they're not. I worked as IT manager supporting 5 powerbooks for 3 years. The only one that ever needed any repair or support was the one I dropped from 4ft onto concrete; I can't really blame Apple for that.

But, yes, phone Apple; you're still in warranty, and still covered by AppleCare.
posted by influx at 2:35 AM on July 16, 2004

Applecare is a complete scam, as are all extended warranties, if you live in europe. Under European law, products must be fit for purpose for their lifespan - for example, if a washing machine were to break down after four years, say, the retailer is obliged to repair is at their expense, as a washing machine is expected to have a long life. A laptop is certainly expected to last three years, at least, and in that time, in Europe, apple will have to fix things - you may have to pressure them, but they'll have to.
posted by ascullion at 4:25 AM on July 16, 2004

I would take it back, for sure.

And just to ratchet up the Mac/PC debate, I've had my Powerbook for almost four years and have never had any hardware problems with it. I have every expectation to get three more years of use out of it before I even think about getting a new one. I guess the point is that it's all anecdotal and different users have different experiences. I've had some doozy problems with my Windows machines, but some people have zero.

Aaaaaaand I generally agree with ascullion that all extended warranties are a scam (even if you live in the US) but Applecare is wonderful if for no other reason than you can call them with any number of inane questions and they have to help you.

And adrober, you're not in Europe, so pony up the big bucks for Applecare and know that if something scary happens to your Powerbook, you won't be left with a very expensive and very attractive paperweight. But all other extended warranties are for suckers.
posted by jennyb at 6:47 AM on July 16, 2004

Hey guys, well I do have AppleCare---I just need my computer for the next two weeks as I am using it to study for the bar. Once I get back, though, I'll shuffle over to my local Apple Store. I appreciate your help.
posted by adrober at 8:00 AM on July 16, 2004

I've recently invoked the warranty on a Powerbook -- my LCD started to die -- and am amazed at the repair experience so far.

I took it into an Apple Store, waited in a queue for about 45 minutes, was seen by a first level technician who took one look, said "yep, they'll replace that," and took care of the paperwork for me. The Apple Store then proceeded to ship the unit halfway across the country -- overnight -- to Tennessee. The repair depot took care of the problem and shipped it back that afternoon. It arrived on my doorstep less than 48 hours after the Apple Store accepted it.

When I get home tonight, I'll see if the problem is fixed to my satisfaction. I can't see why it wouldn't be.

They'd quoted me 7 to 10 days turnaround, but holy crap, this is the second-fastest warranty service I've ever had. If the additional 2 years of AppleCare provide the same level of service, I'll be quite glad I ponied up for it.
posted by majick at 2:12 PM on July 16, 2004

Note AppleCare is not available in Florida without a business license.
posted by jbrjake at 4:15 PM on July 16, 2004

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