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kadams
14th January 2008, 02:45 PM
Sorry if this issue has come up before but I have a 2001 G4 PowerBook (667MHz) which started freezing infrequently a while ago and is now doing it every few minutes I use it. It seems to happen whatever I'm doing whether on the internet, in an office program or just checking out the profile. The only way out is to restart and then it freezes again.

I know its an old computer but my needs are pretty simple and I want to keep it going as long as possible. I also want to avoid using an apple service as they are costly. I'm a newbie at fixing computers but am willing to give it a try but I don't know where to start.

So far from general reading in the past hour I should check the battery, hard drive, motherboard/logicboard, wires, memory, conflicting extensions amd probably check logs and comments.

Where do I start? What is the likely culprit?

My hunch would be to get more memory first. However I have lots of available hard drive (27 of the 29 original GB is available). My ram is only 256M but I'm not sure how much of that I've used. I'm not even sure my hunch about the memory is right and would hate to buy stuff that won't fix the freezing problem as I have a limited budget.

Any advice would be very gratefully accepted.

Nevets_Anderson
14th January 2008, 03:06 PM
Sounds like the HD is on the way out - You might want to try starting the machine up from a system cd / DVD or an external drive if you have one - does The mac still freeze? (if not then it's almost certainly the HD thats on the way out)

If your running os X look at the console application (in the utilities folder) look for the crash log that may give you some clues... Other things to think about are have you installed any new software of late? Did this freezing start after the install?

Byrd
14th January 2008, 03:13 PM
(27 of the 29 original GB is available). My ram is only 256M

Welcome kadams :)

Are you running OS X? Regardless of version, OS X needs some free space available (approximately 20%) to do it's stuff with virtual memory. With your PB having a "lowly" 256MB RAM and a couple of GB free, OS X will be gasping for as much free swap space as it can get, which can get up to several gigabytes. It could be the main reason why your machine is locking up - it's simply running out of room to move.

The other checks to perform would be scanning the hard disk for any errors using Disk Utility, try another account, or try booting from an external firewire hard disk and see if the same issues occur. It could also be flaky RAM, but best to try these things before switching it around.

By all means go for some more RAM - at least another 256MB which is dirt cheap, or a 512MB module can be picked up for around $70 for So-DIMM PC100/133 SDRAM :)

JB

kadams
16th January 2008, 01:08 PM
Hi guys,

Thank you both for your advice. You've made this problem seem more approachable even for a newbie like me :-)

As a first step I did check out the console log which had messages I didn't understand. Is there someplace you learn what the messages mean?
eg.s of some of my console messages are
loginwindow[22] can't connect to pbs obect "rulebook server"
localhost windowserver[69]: csorderwindow: invalid other window
localhost lookupd[180]: Caught SIGHUP - reset
localhost automount[242]: automount version 23

I've also gone through disk utility which recommended i run the hardware testing disk which i did and my pb passed all the tests.

QUESTIONS
Could my ancient mac os (version 10.1.4) be causing the freezing?

Where is the best place to buy ram?

Can you buy an external hard drive and use it as a permanent solution to a dying hard drive?

Can you buy external ram and again use it as a permanent solution? Although it looks pretty straightforward to replace ram internally so I might give that a go.

Can an old mac (consistently repaired) last indefinitely? I.e. how long can you keep a mac before you need to replace it if your needs remain the same?

How or where are the best places to learn more about:-
- mac powerbooks
- ram
- hd's

Sorry there are so many questions and if some of them seem really stupid :-) And once again, thank you.

cosmichobo
16th January 2008, 01:56 PM
You've made this problem seem more approachable even for a newbie like me :-)

That's this site at its best :)


I did check out the console log ...

Um, someone else can handle that :)


I've also gone through disk utility which recommended i run the hardware testing disk which i did and my pb passed all the tests.

That's a good thing... though the tests are far from 100%, it suggests it may just be struggling due to the lack of room on the hard drive, and/or lower RAM - although if you're only running 10.1.4 as advised, it shouldn't be TOO bad... certainly not causing all these freezes...



Could my ancient mac os (version 10.1.4) be causing the freezing?

Not in itself... If so, it would have been causing problems all the way along, rather than "now".

You could look at upgrading to a newer version, but Apple's latest - 10.5, is probably too intense for your machine - certainly with only 256MB of RAM... so you'd need to look at eBay etc to find an older version - maybe 10.3 would be a good OS for your computer.


Where is the best place to buy ram?

Again because it's 2nd hand, you'll pay a FORTUNE to get this RAM through Apple... if they even stock it... eBay is good... just buy from reputable sellers with high feedback scores.


Can you buy an external hard drive and use it as a permanent solution to a dying hard drive?

You can, and this will work, but if you go "on the road" with your Powerbook, then it will just be a bit more cumbersome to have an external drive with you all the time... If you don't leave your desk - go for it. (Though a new internal drive may be cheaper)


Can you buy external ram and again use it as a permanent solution? Although it looks pretty straightforward to replace ram internally so I might give that a go.

No, RAM has to be internal, on the computer's "logic board" (aka motherboard), so can't go external.


Can an old mac (consistently repaired) last indefinitely? I.e. how long can you keep a mac before you need to replace it if your needs remain the same?

I have a Mac Plus, manufactured around 1985, which still works just like it did 24 years ago... The only thing is, the expectations of a computer exceed its capabilities...

Your Powerbook is not THAT old, in that it can get online, do fairly powerful word processing, etc... It's all a matter of what you need the computer to do... As long as it meets your needs, and you treat it nicely, it could give you another decade no sweat! (Batteries will become an issue though, if you do get away from your desk)


Sorry there are so many questions and if some of them seem really stupid :-) And once again, thank you.

Honestly - never feel stupid asking a question, about ANYTHING in life. There'll be another 1000 people right behind you thinking the same thing... but too afraid to ask. Knowledge is the most powerful thing in this Universe... can never get too much :)

halledise
16th January 2008, 02:29 PM
I should have a copy of Panther floating around here somewhere's that you can have for the cost of postage seeing as I'm not using it these days.

(that's if you think it'd assist - the extra memory sure would!)

probably got Jaguar too - take your pick

PM me if interested

Nevets_Anderson
16th January 2008, 03:56 PM
Interesting Log data...

Found this about What is "RulebookServer" on Mac OS X?

http://community.scriptmeridian.org/16507

Are you running or do you have on your machine a producto called Frontier/Manila?

As this is an older machine - (did you purchase it with a whole hunk of software on it?)

If you don't have a lot of info on the machine it may be a good idea to do a clean install the Operating system (not this will erase all data on the machine so you should back up before you do this)

kadams
16th January 2008, 04:17 PM
Wish they had said a bit more on the scriptmeridian site. Might try to google it.

I recently reinstalled the o/s and the only other thing i installed was the microsoft office suite. So Frontier must be a part of one of those. Am trying to do a find on my hd but it's telling me it's unindexed so it can't search it. When I go to 'index now' on the find menu in sherlock it's greyed out. Hmmm another dead end or puzzle to solve.

Just wanted to say thanks for all your help - . You've all been fantastic - cosmichobo for your detailed answer...halledise for your software offer and Nevets-Anderson and Byrd for your suggestions.

All my friends are hopeless at this sort of thing and it feels as if I've suddenly gained some very 'handy' friends lol. A bonus is that all this is starting to really interest me and it's even turning out to be fun.

Another question When buying ram for a mac can you buy any ram or does it have to be specifically for macs/apples?

Byrd
16th January 2008, 05:12 PM
Hi kadams,

With 512MB+ of RAM, you could quite happily run OS X 10.4.11; ideally you'd need to wipe your hard disk to install it, so I'd also look into a cheap external firewire hard disk to back up your data.

By all means OS X 10.1.4 is a dinosaur and a very early revision of the software. It is buggy, crash-prone and supports only a handful of OS X programs, I'm surprised you can run Office with it! With 10.4 installed it'll feel like you have a new Powerbook! Microsoft regularly release updates to Office so I'd also update to the latest versions available.

Regarding RAM; as long as you buy the right type, any good quality RAM will be fine. "Apple" branded RAM generally commands a price hike of 400%, and it's not required.

The exact RAM you require is PC133 3.3V 144-pin SO-DIMM SDRAM modules; they come in sizes up to 512MB. It can be easily installed by finding the little tab in the top of the keyboard, unscrewing this, popping out the keyboard and pushing the RAM firmly into one of the two memory slots (the other will contain the 256MB stick).

I found a couple of eBay links on the cheapest 512MB sticks I could find (there is cheaper, but it looks bad):

http://cgi.ebay.com.au/512mb-pc133-144-pin-sodimm-laptop-memory_W0QQitemZ180206871974QQihZ008QQcategoryZ992 61QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

http://cgi.ebay.com.au/1-x-512mb-PC133-sdram-laptop-sodimm-144-pins_W0QQitemZ320206588941QQihZ011QQcategoryZ80201 QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

JB

kadams
16th January 2008, 05:46 PM
Thanks for the links byrd. I also found this website which looks good and has a lifetime warranty. company claims it has been around since 1988 which is a plus. What do you think?

http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other%20World%20Computing/133SO512328L/

Questions: Are used so-dimms just as good as new so-dimms?


What are the pros/cons to backing up on a memory stick versus an external hard disk? I'm assuming space is the or one of the major issues?

Once again every time I get an answer more questions spring to mind!

Byrd
16th January 2008, 06:55 PM
OWC are an excellent store kadams - and the price isn't bad either. You could go crazy on the site buying an upgraded hard disk, Airport card, Superdrive for your Powerbook ... the list goes on :)

Q 1: I've not had a problem with running good quality used so-dimms; it's the cheap generic stuff that might fail over time. Good brands for your PB are Kingston, Samsung, Hyundai, Corsair.

Q 2: Cost per GB is probably the issue; you can now buy a 320GB hard disk for around $100 these days. You can only get about 8GB for the same price in flash memory. Memory sticks are great for transporting data, but I'd not trust them for regular backups, partly because they can be easily lost/stolen/go in the wash :) As with any reliable backup, you need to do it three times to different media - eg. on your PB, an external drive, and burnt to DVD.

JB

kadams
17th January 2008, 06:38 AM
Wow just checked out the hard drives and firewires on owc. Am really liking this one http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/firewire/owc-neptune-drives/

More questions
What is the difference between firewires and hard drives?

Is it best to go for the largest amount memory available you can afford? i.e. 500gb? Or would the performance enhancement level be minimal between 320gb and 500gb?

I have an airport card - are the latest ones much better?

What's a superdrive?

Is it worth getting two 512mb ram and replacing the existing 256mb ram I currently have in my pb?

I think I need to learn about computer parts :-) Anyone know a good book/site/magazine that describes computer parts that's good for a newbie? At the moment I'm looking at computer websites and not really having a clue what most of it means. This means I have no idea what I should be looking at for my pb. I'll definitely get more RAM and and external hard drive. Any other suggestions of essential computer parts that could be upgraded would be great.

Daviddc
17th January 2008, 07:07 AM
as for books to help learn a bit more about beginners understanding all what's going on I found the Dummies books useful, you have to be able to cope with the Yank sense of humour, but they have some easy to understand chapters and plenty of screenshots to show what's happening on the screen as you do things.

Have a look at http://www.dummies.com/WileyCDA/DummiesTitle/Macs-For-Dummies-9th-Edition.productCd-0470048492.html for their latest edition

they are usually available at local bookshops or by the web site of course

Hope you get it sorted soon

GraphicUmp
17th January 2008, 12:16 PM
You can't upgrade to the AirPort Extreme card - your PowerBook only has an original AirPort card slot (they are different).

SuperDrive is Apple's term for a CD/DVD -R/-RW - in other words, a DVD burner. Combo is Apple's term for a CD-R/RW and DVD-ROM; a CD burner that also reads DVDs.

FireWire is one technology used to connect an external HD to your PowerBook. USB is the other, but I definitely recommend using FireWire if available.

When you're talking 320 GB vs. 500 GB, you're talking Hard Drive size, not memory. There is no performance enhancement in using a 500 GB drive over using a 320 GB drive. If you talk 7200 RPM vs. 5400 RPM, now you're talking about a performance enhancement in HD. But that means more in an internal drive than in an external. FireWire has much better sustained data transfer rates than USB 2.0, that's why I recommend it for external drives over USB 2.0.

You will see a performance enhancement in loading your PB with as much RAM as it can handle, which is 2x512 MB for a total of 1 GB.

You will also see a performance enhancement in running either 10.3 or 10.4 instead of the incredibly buggy and slow 10.1. But you will need to increase your RAM first to see any benefits.

Your 30 GB drive should be more than enough for the moment, even installing 10.3 or 10.4 and Office. But you can eventually replace your 30 GB drive with a larger one, as large as you want.