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Thread: Drive Reports Fatal Hardware Error

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Default Drive Reports Fatal Hardware Error

    Something odd happened with my G5. But first let me say that I backup my computer and bootable hard drive once every week. I then remove the backup hard drive and store it in a fireproof safe. That way I'm covered not only if my computer fails but if I have a fire or a theft.
    After the last backup of my bootable hard drive and my archives (on the same partitioned 2TB external HD) I forgot to eject the HD and put it away and a couple of hours later turned off my computer. I turned it back on and saw that in the window which allows me to sign in as a guest or user it had at the top in red "Safe Boot". I had never seen that before. My thought was that perhaps because I still had my bootable hard drive connected to my computer it had restarted from that bootable hard drive. So, I went to my Start Up Disk in my Preferences, selected my computer's HD (RLE 5) from which to start up, and rebooted. It seemed to go fine. Once I did that I removed my 2TB external HD with the bootable hard drive. I'm going along nicely thinking everything is fine when I open up my Disk Utility a couple of days later and see what I have attached as a screen capture. This cannot be good. But I am perplexed as to why my computer seems to be working ok when I have the message in Disk Utility, "This drive has reported a fatal hardware error to Disk Utility." I also noticed that in my Finder Upload window under "DEVICES" is not only "RLE 5" but "RLE 5 (2)". But "RLE 5 (2)" is not there when I just open up my Finder window.
    What steps should I take to fix this problem?
    Thank you in advance for your help.

  2. #2
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    Howdy -

    Not seen this exact issue, but I would expect one of two things:

    - SMART sensor has detected that the drive failed a specific test or parameter, and the drive is failing. Could die/fail/malfunction at any moment.

    - SMART sensor is wrong. HD is OK, but will always say this.


    Not aware of any way to really know, or test, or reset. Great time to be sure your bootable backup is current, and working as expected. Not a bad idea to grab a second copy on a second HD if possible.

    One thing you might consider is to format the drive and see what it does, and what if anything is reported after. Obviously you would want to be SURE your backups are 100% complete and ready before attempting this. The HD could fail during the process, so be ready.

    If it were me: I would format it, because I would rather have it fail then, as opposed to right in the middle of important work, at the least convenient time.
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

  3. #3
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    I recently pulled a hard drive with similar/same issues from a 1st gen Intel iMac a 1.8GHz single core.

    Quote Originally Posted by uncle
    - SMART sensor is wrong. HD is OK, but will always say this.
    I might agree here.
    The drive was giving them "SMART warnings" -- I took it out and put into a FW Case. Never found an issue with the drive. I formatted the drive and they still use it for some backup. The SMART is been disconnected.

    FWIW - She had the exact window / look or warning message. Which could be a few things.
    Last edited by rwm; 06-30-2012 at 01:59 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Default Will Try Formatting the HD

    Thanks unclemac and rwm. I will try formatting the drive. I have never done this, so I assume these are the steps I need to take:

    1) Make sure my bootable HD is updated. Make sure everything is backed up.
    2) Test the bootable HD to make sure it works properly.
    3) Reboot using my bootable HD.
    4) Format the HD (RLE 5) using Disk Utility.

    Isn't the process of formatting going to erase the HD?

  5. #5
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    Yes, sounds like you got the process down. It will erase it. You might consider in the security options to zero the drive - it will take a lot longer, hours maybe but it will stress the drive and if that works I'd think about keeping it as a backup drive.

  6. #6
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    Once I have gone through the process of formatting the HD it is suggested that I can use it as an external backup. So I will get another HD to install into my G5. However, I do not know the process of getting everything back onto the new HD that will be used for everything my current HD (RLE 5) is doing. Is it a matter of using Chrono Sync (that's the program I use) to migrate/copy everything from the bootable HD to the new HD in the computer? Seems too simple.
    Thanks

  7. #7
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    There are two or three methods and/or softwares. I like and use SuperDuper. There are many around like Unc, Rick, Damien and others with better input and all have great info.

    When you get a new Drive then via firewire you can copy it's entirety or /users and apps with Migration Assistant in the /Applications/Utilities folder.

  8. #8
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    Yes, sounds right. If you clone the whole volume to another HD, then yes, to be quite sure it is right, boot to it and use if for a bit.

    Once you are sure, you can wipe the offending HD. If it behaves, could still be used, and would be a great candidate for a secondary backup destination. If you don't have an external case, you can slide it in the second HD bay in the G5.

    I don't use Chronosync myself, but it is well liked, and can do the job I'm sure. CarbonCopyCloner is a great free tool to back bootable clones too. Many others.....including SuperDuper. Last I checked, the free limited version would do a perfect clone, and was super easy to use.
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

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