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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Powerbook G4 Alu 12" Resuscitation

Powerbook G4 Alu 12" Resuscitation
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FrozenTaco
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Join Date: Mar 2007
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Nov 12, 2007, 08:24 PM
 
Hi all,

I've got a 12" 1.33 GHz Powerbook G4 (bought in Sept '04) that had a dying/almost-dead HD (takes forever to load OS X and fan etc. is making an awful racket). Looking to replace the HD and also amp up my 'book to make it last until college graduation...

Here are my questions:

1. To save dollars, I'm considering installing the new HD myself. I'm no longer under any warranty. I've looked at the iFixit manual and have all the necessary tools, and (not that it doesn't look difficult, but) it looks kind of fun (to use the popular language, "I'm into that kind of thing"). Any tips from people that have made this replacement before?

2. My Lacie external drive only backed up my user folder, so a lot of the tutorials I've seen regarding data restore don't apply. Has anyone had success restoring data via the root user (seems like the most viable option since all I really need to do is plunk my user folder into the new user once I reinstall OS X on the new drive - please, someone tell me otherwise if it's not the way to go)?

3. I'm currently running Panther, and would like to upgrade to at least Tiger (but why buy Tiger when you can get Leopard, right?) I know I'll have to upgrade my RAM - hopefully up to 1 GB, if the price is right, and it sounds like this is what Leopard needs to run properly. What else do I need to consider in order to make this upgrade? Have people done this successfully or has Leopard just caused problems? And where should I buy my memory from?

Thanks for any/all help and tips for this replace/upgrade - the more budget-conscious this experience can be, the better.

I figure that if worse comes to worst and I f*** everything up, well then that's what college computer loans are for (helloooo, MBP 17"!!)

lauren
     
peeb
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Nov 12, 2007, 09:40 PM
 
You machine will love Leopard so long as you get enough RAM. Clone the current drive to the new one before you replace it.
     
FrozenTaco  (op)
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Nov 12, 2007, 10:04 PM
 
Problem is, I can no longer perform any cloning/copying/backup from the current HD....it just freezes up. I've tried target disk as well but the disk's just shot - I suppose I'm out of luck, right?
     
Flagheimer
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Nov 13, 2007, 12:58 AM
 
I have a 12" PowerBook G4 (1 GHz, 1.25GB RAM), bought mine in 2004 as well (January, I believe). Earlier this year, the original HD started to fail, the PB was just freezing all over the place, luckily I was able to use CCC to preserve the HD to an external drive.

I did some research and decided to replace the HD myself with the help of iFixit and it was successful! I'm really proud of myself as I have ZERO experience working with computers. Honestly, I never upgraded the RAM until after I replaced my HD. I'm probably not even using my PB to its fullest potential...

The only problems for me while taking the PB apart was keeping track of the screws and taking the F1, F2, F11 & F12 Keys out... Other than that the iFixit manual made everything easy!

I actually had to replace the HD for the second time a few weeks back because the replacement (Seagate) HD was failing too, fortunately it was still under warranty (5 years), so everything is in working order...

But I love this PB! My entire college career is in here... and life..

I'm thinking of upgrading Leopard, my college bookstore has Leopard for $69 so I should get it soon...
     
Jens Peter
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Nov 13, 2007, 12:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by FrozenTaco View Post
1. To save dollars, I'm considering installing the new HD myself. I'm no longer under any warranty. I've looked at the iFixit manual and have all the necessary tools, and (not that it doesn't look difficult, but) it looks kind of fun (to use the popular language, "I'm into that kind of thing"). Any tips from people that have made this replacement before?
I replaced my harddrive on my 12" 1.5Ghz just last weekend, and a thing I forgot was, that on the disk in the powerbook already, there were 2 rubber-things screwed into the side of the harddrive, to make it fit better into the compartment. Unfortunally I first noticed this, when I was putting the old harddrive into an external case, so I had to open up the powerbook one more time to fit the rubber-things to the new harddrive.

And, if you want to use the Migration Assistent tool (that is, if you are installing a clean version of OS X and want to keep all your settings, email doucment etc) you need a external case with firewire.

Have fun
     
Dork.
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Nov 13, 2007, 12:13 PM
 
ifixit.com has take-apart manuals for lots of Macs, including a "Screw Guide" you can print out to put all your screws on so you don't lose track of them. Here's the page for the 12" PB:

PowerBook G4 Al 12" Disassembly: Installing HD Replacement - PowerBook Parts

I have a 12" PB, and it's one of the easiest Macs I've taken apart. Replacing the hard drive was a joy compared to iBooks.
     
FrozenTaco  (op)
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Nov 30, 2007, 10:08 PM
 
As follow-up for all that were kind enough to respond (and those looking to do something similar), my 'book is up and running with a new 160 GB Seagate hard drive, 1.25 GB RAM, and a brand new OS X (Hi Leopard!)

I restored all my user folder's data using the root user; the technique is outlined here:

Mac OS X: How to back up and restore your files

Awesomely simple - lets you do a clean install and discard any random programs or settings that a clone doesn't permit.

The iFixit instructions were a breeze to follow, except for omitting a detail about how to get the upper case of the computer off after taking off the keyboard. For anyone trying this and having trouble prying off the case completely, take a look at the connections to the frame at the battery compartment - there are two small grey plastic clips that need to be pulled back for the case to pop off all the way. Other than this small setback, it was easy and inexpensive to do this repair/upgrade (relative to a new computer, that is!) A total run of cost:

$16 toolkit
$139 Seagate HD
$69 OS X Upgrade
$94 Samsung RAM memory

Also, if you bought your Powerbook in Dec '04 or later and the HD has just crashed, see if you're covered under a Toshiba warranty (check the HD model number in Disk Utility)

Not only is Leopard a totally sick upgrade when you're coming from Panther, but toting it around on 12 inches instead of 13+ makes it even more satisfying.
( Last edited by FrozenTaco; Nov 30, 2007 at 10:14 PM. )
     
   
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