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Old 04-04-2012, 01:54 PM   #1
jazzbassoon
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Tiger won't boot after disk utility fails repair

Hey everyone,
My dads computer, I believe it's the first generation intel imac running the latest version of tiger, won't boot anymore. Here is how it happened. I installed some updates (Safari, iTunes, Java) and when I restarted the whole system seemed a lot slower. So I opened disk utility and was going to repair the disk permissions, but it said it was going to take 40 minutes. So I cancelled it and clicked on verify disk. When it's checking the catalog file, it returned an error of

invalid node structure...
Volume Macintosh HD needs to be repaired.

I don't have a Tiger Install disk, only an upgrade DVD (which is from a different computer) but it will not boot from the dvd for some reason. My other computers do. I do have some leopard install disks from a different computer that it did boot from. I ran disk utility and got the same message. But I noticed that the Leopard DVD didn't have the hard drive as a possible startup disk. I restarted and I get the apple with the spinning circle as well as a bar underneath I've never seen before. After a minute or so the bar disappears and then the circle keeps spinning forever. I can boot into single user mode. Does anyone have any ideas on how to fix this?
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Old 04-04-2012, 02:22 PM   #2
DeltaMac
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You could try booting into single user mode, then type "fsck -fy" (without the quotes)
Press enter, and you should see that your hard drive is being tested, and (hopefully) repaired
If you get an error report, you can try that same test another couple of times. That MIGHT get you going again
BUT -
I suspect that you will get a similar error that you have already seen.
If so - you will need a more capable disk repair tool, such as Disk Warrior.
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Old 04-04-2012, 02:30 PM   #3
jazzbassoon
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I forgot to mention that I had already run /sbin/fsck -fy in single user mode. I also recently booted into a Fedora live cd (not sure if this really has any relevance) but in the disk utility the hard drive failed the self test based on reallocated sector counts and pending sector counts. It says the hard drive has 107 bad sectors. Does this have anything to do with my situation?
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Old 04-04-2012, 02:50 PM   #4
DeltaMac
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I think you have a hard drive that is starting to accumulate bad blocks, and has failures in system file areas (similar to a Windows hard drive with boot block problems). A good utility, such as Disk Warrior MIGHT repair this - or may tell you what you may be suspecting by this time - that there are hardware problems that a software utility may not be able to repair.
If, after trying another utility (like Disk Warrior) - and you still don't have a working, bootable hard drive - next step should be booting to an OS X installer disk, and erasing the hard drive, and then reinstall everything, by cloning (restoring) back from a bootable backup. If you already have a good backup of your hard drive, then this will be relatively painless. If you don't have a backup, then... it won't be so simple.
Let us know what happens.
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Old 04-04-2012, 03:30 PM   #5
jazzbassoon
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I don't have a current backup, but I'm already in the process of making one. Is there a free alternative to Disk Warrior? I don't really have money to spend on something that probably will give me just the same answer to reformat the drive.
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Old 04-04-2012, 03:54 PM   #6
DeltaMac
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Also, keep in mind that even reformatting may not help if the hard drive is failing. Hard drives don't last forever - 5 or 6 years is a reasonable life to expect in a desktop system.
A replacement hard drive is more expensive than a year ago, but still less than purchasing something like Disk Warrior (although that is a great product) - assuming you know how to replace the hard drive yourself. The older intel iMacs are not easy to repair, unless you have done that before. So, you would also have to include the amount that you pay someone to actually replace that hard drive. And, then Disk Warrior is a good deal!
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Old 04-05-2012, 01:06 PM   #7
jazzbassoon
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Well so far everything is looking good. I backed everything up and erased the hard drive. After that disk utility gave me a couple unerased node errors, but was able to repair it. After a couple more times everything is looking good. Right now I'm reinstalling OS X and hopefully everything will go well. I think the hard drive is about 4 years old, so hopefully it'll have a couple years left. Thanks for your help!
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Old 04-05-2012, 03:03 PM   #8
trevor
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Personally, I'd replace the drive, based on what you're reporting about it. Even if it works NOW, it's not something I would trust to store any data I cared about.

Hard drives are not quite as cheap as they were before Thailand flooded, but they're still much much cheaper than lost data.

Trevor
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Old 04-05-2012, 03:23 PM   #9
DeltaMac
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I agree with trevor. You should consider replacing the hard drive.
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