2009 HD died - can I use an external?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Josh125, Oct 11, 2015.

  1. Josh125 macrumors 6502


    Apr 28, 2008
    Katy, TX
    My HD in my 2009 iMac (A1225) finally bit the dust and rather than tear into it I'm wondering if I can just run an external HD? I've not torn open an iMac before but see read there isn't much to it but I imagine an external drive would be even easier. Can this work? If so, can you all recommend a drive & enclosure?
  2. spegahsheen macrumors newbie


    Feb 23, 2014
    Milano (Italy)
    Hi Josh, I replaced my 2005 iMac HD (Western Digital WD160JD with a WD160JS) and it work. Great effort to find a new 160GB HD, not to replace it. Meanwhile I worked with an external Firewire HD, but not with a USB external disk because it doesn't allow me to install Mac OS X.
  3. 0970373 Suspended

    Mar 15, 2008
    You *can* but it'll be quite slow. And you'll have to have created that boot drive already. Really recommend replacing your HDD with a new SSD. The Samsung 840 Pro worked great in my old 2008 MBP and in my 2010 MBP. I think there is a new 850 out. It's not hard to do and you'll be happier in the end with the little extra effort.
  4. Josh125 thread starter macrumors 6502


    Apr 28, 2008
    Katy, TX
    Thanks, I think I'm just going to replace it internally and go with a cheap HD as I'm going to pass it down to my nieces for school. I did poke around and yes it can be done externally but seems like a straight forward process to go inside the iMac....famous last words.
  5. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009

    Yes, you can boot and run the iMac from an external drive.

    You can use either firewire800 or USB2.

    Be aware that the bootup will be slower than if you were booting from the internal drive, but -- once up-and-running, the performance differences will be less noticeable.

    However, get a -USB3- enclosure, it is backward-compatible with USB2, and when you get a new Mac, it will run at the faster USB3 speeds.

    Here's an example of a such an enclosure:
    (I have one of these myself, runs fine)

    Be aware that you can get an enclosure that has BOTH USB3 and firewire800, but they're more expensive than "USB3 only". Here's an example:

    Then, find a 2.5" hard drive of sufficient capacity to put inside it.

    I'd suggest a platter-based hard drive of about 1tb capacity.
    I happen to like Hitachi, Samsung, and Toshiba.

    Don't be afraid of assembling the drive yourself.
    ANYONE can do this. If I could, you could.

    This should give you "some more time" out of the old Mac, while you shop around and decide what to do next...
  6. scottish macrumors 6502a

    Aug 10, 2011
    I replaced HDD in 2007 iMac. It was fiddly but straight forward - I don't know how much things changed by 2009.

    Since SSDs are so cheap now I would urge you to get one of them to give the computer a new lease of life for your nieces. I expect they won't need much storage so you could go for a lower capacity model to reduce price further.

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5 October 11, 2015