New Hard Drive, Pt. 2

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
May 4th, 2004 • 7:42 am

As regular readers of this blog, my G4 (MDD) has been acting up lately, with random freezes (either momentary or permanent and requiring a hard reset). Because of some of the symptoms (namely weird hard drive noises), I have been suspecting my internal hard drive.

By coincidence, I had just ordered a new Seagate hard drive that I was planning on using as a second internal drive. The freezes, however, led me to decide to use this new Seagate drive as the main internal hard drive.

I installed the hard drive inside my G4 a couple of weeks ago, and have already described the process. I didn’t have time to format it and configure it as my startup volume right away, however.

Last week-end, I did the exact same thing for a colleague’s Power Mac G4 (Digital Audio), whose internal hard drive has been acting up for a long time and who bought the exact same Seagate hard drive as a replacement. After installing the hard drive inside her G4 (not too hard, but different from my own G4), I used Carbon Copy Cloner to literally clone the contents of her existing hard drive onto the new Seagate hard drive. It was my first time doing this, and I was a bit surprised by the amount of time that it took (over 3 hours), but it worked fine except for a couple of unimportant files that CCC was unable to copy.

Then yesterday and today I started experiencing freezes on my own machine again and decided that it was time to take the plunge, bite the bullet, and do half a dozen of other metaphoric things.

In my case, however, there was no certitude that the freezes are indeed caused by the hard drive. It’s a strong suspicion, but not a guarantee. In addition, I’d been experiencing a few other weird things lately, and decided that, rather than a cloning process that might replicate whatever problem I had on my new hard drive, I’d rather do a complete reinstall from the Panther CDs and from the application CDs for all the applications that cannot be simply dragged and dropped. (There are still far too many of those, unfortunately.)

I already mentioned yesterday how disappointed I was to realize that it’s impossible to install Panther on an unused volume without starting from the CD. Unfortunately, the problem extends to subsequent installs (installing incremental system updates and other software titles), which require that you are booted from the new volume where you want to install them.

In other words, the only way to multitask while reconfiguring my G4 was to do other material things in my office unrelated to computing. I guess my office did need a bit of a clean-up.

I like to think that my computing environment fairly well organized. Instead of following Apple’s strict but inconsistent practices when it comes to storing customizations, settings, etc., I try to keep everything in a “Settings” folder and use symbolic links and aliases whenever possible.

It was rather disappointing, therefore, to realize that this didn’t prevent me from having to reconfigure all kinds of things manually. I guess I just use my computer for too many different things, and rely on too many customizations and third-party utilities. Each software title tends to do things in its own way (different types of installers, different places where files are stored, etc.) and this lack of consistency requires constant mental adjustments.

While doing all this, I did note two things in Mac OS X itself that I found particularly bothersome. One is the number of mouse clicks or keystrokes that are required from the time you double-click on an installer to launch it to the time the installing process actually starts. There are just too many “Continue” buttons. I use full keyboard access to try and speed up things are bit (mouse clicking is just too tiring), but even then, it’s hard to remember to press the space bar for some buttons and the return key for others, etc.

The other thing is the problem caused by the fact that there are two “Library” folders: one for all users and one for the main user. I had to transfer all kinds of things from my old “Library” folders to my new ones, and inevitably I ended up transferring certain things to the wrong one. There’s not enough visual difference between the two “Library” folders, especially in Columns view mode. I think that next time I’ll try to customize the folder icons first.

Oh well, I’m pretty much done now, and more or less back to normal. I still have to transfer my fonts, but the rest seems to be working fine.

Comments are closed.

Leave a Reply

Comments are closed.