Dramatic title, but my beloved 2006 MacPro1,1 is dying!
For the longest time the hard disk has been thrashing at start up. It’s the original disk, which has never been wiped during the last ~7 years, and has received every OS update until 10.7. After that the hardware is unsupported – EFI Bios version does not support a 64bit kernel.
On Saturday morning the keyboard / mouse weren’t responding, and i had to move things to another USB port. The one they using was apparently dead. Odd, but nothing bad came of it…
On Monday morning, when the Finder failed to start, with a helpful popup telling them that the Finder had failed, and options to ignore, report, and retry (none of which were clickable…) my first thought was that the disk thrashing had got so bad that it just wasn’t starting in time. Seemed reasonable… so, i rsync’ed the root disk with it’s backup disk, rebooted holding down the alt / option key. Er, where is the backup disk?! Back to the original disk. Search for a command to make a device bootable. Ah, bless! Yes, the command ‘sudo bless –folder /Volumes/Backup/System/Library/CoreServices’ will make a partition bootable.
Reboot, select the backup partition… same problem, the Finder dies at start-up. On the positive side, it all happens with a lot less disk thrashing!
Unfortunately this is the last coding / bug fixing week of a release, which means that i don’t have time to mess around moving to another machine (even if i had another machine lying around…) Time to get creative!
While the Finder might have failed to start i can still start a terminal. The first thing i try is sending SIGHUP to the login process (find loginwindow with ‘ps aux | grep loginwindow’ and then ‘sudo kill -HUP’ it’s process id) for this session. That kills the failed login attempt and dumps be back out at the login screen. Logging in again works and everything starts up normally.
That sort of thing is usually dumb luck, but going through the same process worked again this morning. Fingers crossed that no more wheels will fall off the wagon before the new machine turns up, and i can get things moved across. The timing is, of course, absolutely terrible… but that’s hardware failures for you!
1. This is the rsync command that i use: ‘sudo rsync -vaxEXA –delete –ignore-errors –exclude-from=rsync_excludes.txt / /Volumes/Backup/’. The rsync_excludes contains:
.Spotlight-*/ .Trashes /tmp/* /Network/* /cores/* /afs/* /automount/* /private/tmp/* /private/var/run/* /private/var/spool/postfix/* /private/var/vm/* /Previous Systems.localized /Volumes/* */.Trash