Percussive maintenance

Most of the time, the half terabyte or so of drives hanging off my Power Mac are solidly reliable. Every so often something slightly screwy will force me to quit lots of applications, unplug the chain, power it down, then reverse the process – but by and large it all ‘just works.’

This afternoon, then, I became rather concerned when ‘Media 0’ failed to mount. On closer inspection, it failed to spin up, instead making a rather alarming clicking noise. I flipped the case open, noting with resignation that the contents – an 80Gb IBM Deskstar – were dated ‘November 2002.’ In the world of hard drives, that’s quite old. Nothing looked amiss, however, so I sealed it all back up again and tried bunging in the power cable once more. Nothing.

So I bashed it. Hard.

Result: the satisfying sound of a hard drive spinning up and calibrating the heads, followed by a cheery orange/yellow icon appearing on the Power Mac’s desktop. Disk Utility tells me there’s nothing amiss in the least, and I should stop worrying.

Hmm. I may have to try the same technique on the even older Lacie 60Gb drive that ‘failed’ on me a few weeks back. Could be that it’s just stuck, and a good slap around the chops will force it to pay attention again.


  1. There’s a good chance the disk is on its way out, so time to look for a replacement. Can you read its SMART status (often not supported on external drive boxes)?

  2. David Sellwood

    23 May, 2006 at 6:31 pm

    Percussive maintenance is also a good way of “fixing” older iPods which don’t respond anymore, tried it on an old 2G pod a while ago, dropped it on its corner onto a desk from about 4inches, worked a treat after!

  3. We have a computer at work that if powered off requires a sharp roation of the disk to start it up.

  4. Sadly Harro, the only way of doing a SMART check is to bung the thing inside my Power Mac. I keep meaning pick up a PCI IDE card so I can add more drives internally, but I’ve never managed to find anyone who’ll sell me a drive mounting bracket. There’s space in the case for another three or four drives (!), but the brackets seem impossible to get hold of. Boo!

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