Mac SE hard disk won't boot.

edited July 2017 in Hardware
I've had a Macintosh SE 1MB from 1986 for a couple years now.

I didn't use it much as I don't have a way to make mac 800k formatted floppies at the moment, but today I thought I would search up for a program that'd transfer files from my pc to the mac se by some sort of cable, maybe paralell? (Side question, is there a program like this?).

I went to turn on the Mac SE, and it turns on, but it gives me an image, of a floppy disk with a question mark. I saw that the HDD activity light was not on, so I think the problem is with the HDD.

I confirmed this by loading my Macintosh Sytem +MacWrite + MacPaint boot disc in which contains System 4, and it booted from that just fine.

This Mac SE has not seen very much use, when I turned it on, it was usually for a little while, most times under 10 miutes.

Does anyone know what (aside from a dead drive) might be going on? Is there maybe some things to try without removing the case and messing with the internals?

I'm hoping that it's something simple, like I set it to boot from Floppy but forgot, and all I need to do is change the setting, but that's probably not the case.

Help would be appreciated.


  • Super Weird:

    I opended "MultiFinder" from the floppy disc, let it just shit there for a while, then I cliked "Shut Down", it ejected the system disk and then loaded from the hard disk.

    After the OS had loaded from the hard disc, I clicked shutdown again, and then flicked the switch on the back to "off", then I turned it back on and the hard disk boots just fine.

    I'm glad the hard disk works, but I wonder what caused it not to boot before?

    This has happened to me once before, but the previous time it gave me the "floppy with a question mark" image for a few minutes, then loaded from the hard disk.

    Is there something I should take a closer look at?
  • With a hard drive, it could be mechanical issues; however, issues involving rapid power cycles hint towards capacitors.
  • It might just be the motor spindle sticking. Could you hear if it spun up or not at first?

    After so long oils break down and don't lubricate as well. If a unit is left on for a while and the drive warms up a bit it can loosen up and start spinning. If that is the case then it will work fine for a while, but after a few months or more of inactivity it could go back to sticking.
  • Ah.

    I posted this on VcFed as well, and I got the same reply about oils and sticking.

    I guess I will have to remember to turn it on every day or two for a while now to keep the oil warm.

    I could always replace it with a scsi sd adapter, but just leaving it running every day or two while im doing my daily computing tasks on other things, is far less work (and money) than buying and installing an adapter.

    Is there any way to make the monitor turn itself off as to prevent burn-in when I leave it running?

    I have had it running for over half an hour now, and the monitor was still showing the desktop, which considering it is monochrome had a lot of white and light grey, the kind of thing that is prime for causing burn-in.

    This is of course an all-in-one design, and I am not able to just turn the monitor off by a switch or button.

    Is there anyway to do this in software, a key combo or something?
  • I don't know much about old Mac's of the '80s or '90s but the SCSI hard drives of old Macintoshes are dying and they aren't as reliable as the newer physical hard disks of the late 90's and more commonly any hard disks made after 2005 are pretty reliable. If it's not a dead HDD, then most likely the HDD head might be scratching the platters of the HDD and those can create "bad sectors" where the data can't be stored on anymore. Maybe try to clone the HDD image or find some reinstallation floppy disks for MacOS <MacOS version> and a new SCSI HDD for the MacSE.

    Best of luck with getting it to work again :)
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