Seamless upgrading with Seagate

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
August 3rd, 2003 • 12:03 am

By some strange twist of fate, last week I ended up with not one, but two different Macintosh computers owned by friends whose hard drive had just died on them, including an old Performa 6400 and a more recent iMac DV SE (slot-loading).

My attempts to revive the hard drives were in vain. The one in the iMac was making horrible clicking noises and, even though it would sometimes mount just fine, indicating that the directory portion was OK, there was clearly a large area of the disk itself that had become inaccessible and was causing the noise. DiskWarrior was able to “repair” the directory, but that wasn’t the problem. Norton DiskDoctor was not able to REPAIR the problem. It kept hanging halfway through the process. I was just able to rescue some files in the non-affected part of the drive, but not many. Unfortunately, my friend didn’t have a recent backup. She doesn’t seem too discouraged about it. I would be.

The one in the Performa didn’t make any noises, but I kept getting error messages and seeing files disappear literally before my eyes. I had no luck trying to REPAIR it either. But at least it was something like 7 years old.

I did a bit of reading online, especially on the web site, which is invaluable for drive compatibility issues, and found that the most common brands (IBM, Maxtor, and Western Digital) were not necessarily the best choice. Luckily for me, the most reliable online vendor in Canada,, also carried Seagate drives, and I could only find positive reports about them. So I ordered a new 120 GB with an 8MB cache for the iMac, and a new 40 GB for the Performa. They arrived within a week.

They didn’t come with any instructions except for what was printed on the drives themselves, but it turned out to be enough. The 40 GB drive was already configured as a “master” drive and the Performa recognized it without any problems. The 120 GB drive was configured as “cable select”, but it was just a matter of changing a jumper. Strangely enough, I started with the Mac OS X CD and formatted the hard drive with OS X’s Disk Utility, which worked fine, but then OS X would not install on the hard drive. Since I wanted to install OS 9 on it anyway, I restarted from an OS 9 CD and formatted the drive using the OS 9 Disk Utility, and everything went smoothly after that.

I was especially glad to see that both drives were still seamlessly backward-compatible, with a 3-year-old CRT iMac and with a Performa 6400, which I think was one of Apple’s first computers to use an internal IDE drive rather than an SCSI drive.

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