Well, the laptop itself is fine, but the hard drive is dying. Much like my laptop hard drive failed.
It’s much earlier in the failure process, but shows many of the same symptoms – SMART status was fine, but there are blocks are going bad with more and more going bad with each drive scan. In this case, I was able to review several fsck checks and it appears the superblocks disappeared. All of them.
Kind of odd, seems somewhat unlikely, but it happened. Seems like the catalog B-Tree corrupted beyond repair.
I tried to list the raw contents of the drive, and it failed as well. Strange that I can view the files in a terminal, but I can’t raw-view the files.
So, I gathered as much information about the laptop and drive specs as possible, printed up a summary of the findings and the best-match laptop drives from NewEgg and TigerDirect.com, and will return it to the owner. I also strongly recommended a purchase of Mountain Lion ($20), to avoid the possibility that a Mac OS update kicked-off the drive failure.
All in all, about $70 to get it repaired and updated. The laptop is still supported under extended warranty by Apple, so they could repair it as well. I doubt it would be less than $150, if they were to do it.
I was hoping for better results, but – at least I collected more information about the situation than I was able to gather before. I was also able to delve into the details of filesystem maintenance on Mac OS X within terminal – so it was an excellent learning opportunity.
I am kinda envious that this laptop has thunderbolt ports, and more bells and whistles than mine.
An unscrupulous repair person would proclaim that a chip had exploded on the board or something, and offer to dispose of the corpse.
But, being unscrupulous isn’t in my nature.
I’m going to go cry in a corner about my morals. Then I’ll work some more on this theme.
Have fun, readers.