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ChaoZ
Dec 16, 2008, 12:52 PM
Last Friday, I returned to my 24" 2.8ghz Intel iMac and found it had frozen. Rebooting it caused a folder with a question mark to pop up. After reading up a bit, I ran Disk Utility off of the Mac OSX disc and it didn't find any problems. Restart and it was just fine.

Yesterday, same problem happened when I booted it up. Did the hardware test (which I'm not sure even covers the hard drive) and found nothing. Rebooted a few times and I got in. It did crash again (beach ball spins, mouse moves, but nothing else happens). I suspected at the time it was a heat issue, so I installed an app to keep the fans running. Machine was a stable 41 degrees C.

Today, same thing happens (folder with question mark). I do the usual steps, even reset the PRAM and nothing. Disk Utility doesn't even see the hard drive. Almost as if it's not connected.

Before I take the machine in, is there anything I've missed? I believe my iMac is out of warranty. I do need the data on the hard drive. If it was a PC, I would go in and check the drive connectors or even remove the drive to put into an enclosure, but with the iMac, it's not possible.

Thoughts?



synth3tik
Dec 16, 2008, 12:58 PM
The "?" means that the computer can not find the start up volume on the hard drive. This can be hardware or software. Did you repair permissions. Might want to archive and install and see if that helps.

nando2323
Dec 16, 2008, 01:05 PM
I would definitely repair permissions or do an archive install.

ChaoZ
Dec 16, 2008, 01:18 PM
Oh, on the first day it happened, along with the hard drive scan, I also verified and fixed permissions (there were a few fixed). Yesterday, I did another scan and it didn't find any problems.

I can no longer verify permissions, as the disk utility does not detect the drive.

I'm running 10.4.10 if it matters. I have a 10.5 disc handy, but I need to know I will have the files preserved if I upgrade. (Can I even upgrade if the computer doesn't detect the hard drive to install to?)

nando2323
Dec 16, 2008, 02:21 PM
Oh, on the first day it happened, along with the hard drive scan, I also verified and fixed permissions (there were a few fixed). Yesterday, I did another scan and it didn't find any problems.

I can no longer verify permissions, as the disk utility does not detect the drive.

I'm running 10.4.10 if it matters. I have a 10.5 disc handy, but I need to know I will have the files preserved if I upgrade. (Can I even upgrade if the computer doesn't detect the hard drive to install to?)

You might be SOL if you cannot even see the HD. You can try running the install and see if it sees and do an archive install but if it doesn't see it you might be SOL.

ChaoZ
Dec 16, 2008, 02:28 PM
I guess I'm trying to narrow it down to either a software or a hardware problem. Unfortunately, it seems to be leaning towards the latter. Are there many recorded cases of hard drive failure for the aluminum iMacs? Any reason to believe it may just be a SATA connector that has jostled loose? (Wishful thinking I know).

Leddy
Dec 16, 2008, 06:01 PM
Hi ChaoZ, do you hear your hard drive spinning up at all? I ask because a very similar thing has happened to my alu iMac this morning - I came back to it after running software update overnight and when I went to access the HD it made a low buzzing sound followed by a higher buzz then froze. The drive didn't spin up at all ... I hard re-started, zapped everything I could think of PRAM etc. etc. and same deal with the sound, no HD action and the folder eventually appearing ... So I put in my software restore disc to get some kind of system up and running, and sure enough the hard drive isn't even shown in Disk Utility or System Profiler. I think my drive is cactus and it sounds like yours may be too.

I'm out of warranty, though it wouldn't be by much so I've been looking at Kodawarisan's dismantle of the alu iMac -

http://www.kodawarisan.com/imac_2007_mid/imac_2007_mid_01.html

- it doesn't look too complex once you've got the glass and the LCD out, though if you're not technically inclined, then perhaps take it in for service.

Cheers,

L.

emt1
Dec 16, 2008, 06:21 PM
Last Friday, I returned to my 24" 2.8ghz Intel iMac and found it had frozen. Rebooting it caused a folder with a question mark to pop up. After reading up a bit, I ran Disk Utility off of the Mac OSX disc and it didn't find any problems. Restart and it was just fine.

Yesterday, same problem happened when I booted it up. Did the hardware test (which I'm not sure even covers the hard drive) and found nothing. Rebooted a few times and I got in. It did crash again (beach ball spins, mouse moves, but nothing else happens). I suspected at the time it was a heat issue, so I installed an app to keep the fans running. Machine was a stable 41 degrees C.

Today, same thing happens (folder with question mark). I do the usual steps, even reset the PRAM and nothing. Disk Utility doesn't even see the hard drive. Almost as if it's not connected.

Before I take the machine in, is there anything I've missed? I believe my iMac is out of warranty. I do need the data on the hard drive. If it was a PC, I would go in and check the drive connectors or even remove the drive to put into an enclosure, but with the iMac, it's not possible.

Thoughts?

Start backing up now.

ChaoZ
Dec 16, 2008, 06:25 PM
Hard to hear, the hard drive doesn't seem to spin when the computer fails to boot, but I've manage to get it up and running once in a while. Using Cocktail to do the system maintenance. The hard drive seems fine once I get it working. Maybe the hard drive controller board is malfunctioning?

No SMART warnings from Cocktail though... where could I access those in OSX? Or a BIOS for that matter?

Sorry, I'm a PC-head.

Leddy
Dec 17, 2008, 12:56 AM
You can see the SMART status of a drive under system profiler or disk utility. System profiler is in your utilities folder (or you can reach it via the apple menu -> about this mac -> more info) and likewise, disk utility is there too (applications ->utilities -> disk utility) ...

Cheers,

L.

ChaoZ
Dec 17, 2008, 11:33 AM
SMART verification passed in System Profiler.

The machine locked solid today when I was in Photoshop (not even the Beach ball). Ran all the maintenance steps I could find. This makes me think it's a hardware problem.

Yargh.