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Software and Computer Systems Company has released a free eBook in PDF format titled "Hard Drive Troubleshooting." It targets Macs and includes not only basic troubleshooting, but tips on how to properly analyze a system that is exhibiting problems that may be mistaken as drive failures when they are, in fact, system problems.
The book traces the data flow all the way from the I/O controller on the logic board to the read and write heads actually exchanging data with the drive platters. The book is intended for those using systems running Mac OS X 10.5 or higher on either a PowerPC G4 or Intel-based system
Although the book is clearly targeted at users using Apple Macintosh based systems, the general theory is applicable to almost any Mac or PC based system. SCSC invites anyone interested to download the book from their website. You can obtain the book at http://www.scsc-online.com/Downloads.html .