my computer is not yet fixed, but thanks to some research, i now know what the true problem is, and have a potential solution. and i might add, that all of this information should
have been available and given to me at the apple store in denver i took the machine to two weeks ago. i should have had a technician who could identify error -9972, tell me exactly what error -9972 means, and tell me what possible remedies would be in the interest of saving my drive and my money.
what i got instead was 'oh. this drive isn't even mounting. yeaah. you gotta just send it in. they're gonna swap your drive free on applecare (goodbye data). or you could take it to a place that will do data recovery. and that will cost you anywhere from $200 - $2700.' the error message was apparent and in red on the screen, but he paid no attention to it. is it just apple policy to encourage a blind wipe if the disk doesn't mount? or is it that specific tech support guy's laziness? or is it the genius bar's policy to move 'em along like at mcdonald's?
i went through similar crap when my ipod failed last year. apple's line is simple: data is not covered under our protection plan. send in the unit and we will fix/replace it and return it wiped clean. very little help or assistance is offered in the way of, say, getting back every photo you've ever taken. fortunately for my ipod, a simple run of disk utility returned the unit to tip top shape and it has not failed since.
but back to my powerbook: thank god for skepticism and the internet. especially in the technical world, there is now very little information unavailable to the masses.
with a tech savvy friend from work, we ran tech tools pro on my drive and discovered it was reading error -9972. a google search turned up several sites saying that diskwarrior had repaired the damage specific to this type of error.
my understanding of what happened is that there was a "b-tree" error of some sort, that put the "keys" out of place. my friend explained it to me as something that begins as a slight error in reading the drive structure, that progressively re-orders your drive incorrectly the more you use it. this explains why it had become slower and slower each time i restarted, until it was finally inoperable. and who knows how long this problem might have been lingering. a few days before it had died, i had just erased a bunch of files and transferred several very large files onto the powerbook, upping my drive usage far above normal. turns out to have been the last straw.
so, mac users: if you notice your computer acting slower than usual, restart, and then find that it's gotten even slower
BACK UP AS MUCH AS YOU CAN FOR YOU ARE DOOMED.
we found this guy's blog
, which describes his problem in detail, and how he was able to fix it with diskwarrior, an $80 program, which is a far better prospect than sending my machine away to either a.) be charged more than it originally cost to get data back or b.) just lose everything and get a spanking new hard drive from apple in a week.
on the conspiracy end, mine is the third
powerbook i know of to show this exact error
in the last three weeks. anyone else showing this kind of problem? is this a bad batch of drives we're seeing? a class action lawsuit over scratch prone nanos is ridiculous, but a core drive problem that self destructs on a timer is something else altogether.