Can I run iMac with no internal Hard Drive? just external?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by danmc00, Dec 5, 2011.

  1. danmc00 macrumors regular

    Oct 29, 2009
    Looks like my 1TB hard drive is toast in my 2 year old iMac. I am running a small 250GB external hard drive right now to boot it. My question is, can I just buy a good external hard drive and run Mac OS from that instead of taking the iMac apart and replacing the internal drive?
    If so, what is a good, reliable drive to run for this? I already have a 2TB WD external HD for my backup. I don't mind having another drive on my desk.
  2. Intell macrumors P6


    Jan 24, 2010
  3. Sandman1969 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 5, 2007
    Yup, my Sister-In-Law ran hers like that when the internal died. I got her a new drive and put it inside later.

    It wasn't too slow for basic stuff...
  4. ELSELS macrumors member

    Dec 24, 2010
    Hello Sandman1969:

    So, basically unless we (I), am a "power-user" - running from an external seems a reasonable path or method to take, for some users? :)

    I wonder, did your sister-in-law, use her computer (with the external hard drive), doing things such as: MS Office applications, maybe Adobe Photoshop, and such, maybe Aperture?


  5. Sandman1969 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 5, 2007
    She wasn't a power user. But yeah she did us MS Office, but nothing like Photoshop or Aperture.

    She was running an older white iMac with FW400. You should have FW800, so that is considerably faster as long as you get a FW800 enclosure.

    When I took her's apart to put the drive in, from what I was reading the newer ones may actually be easier. Instead of taking screws out and then opening it up like a clam, you use suction cups to pull the screen off the magnets. Though you would want to read up on that more. But I don't think it was that hard.

    I am guessing you didn't get the extended AppleCare? You could check how much the Apple Store would charge you to do it. Though, it might be fine on the FW800 external. Aperture and Photoshop might push it. You would want to read up on the I/O requirements for how you use it.
  6. DockMac macrumors regular

    Dec 22, 2008
    I used to use my PowerBook G4 as a Desktop computer with an FireWire 400 external drive when my internal drive crashed. (Only FireWire 400 was supported on the PowerBook.

    I'd recommend going with an External FireWire 800 if that is available to you. Mine was a LaCie, I just liked the way they looked, plus it had USB 2.0, Firewire 400 and 800 as possible connections.

    I doubt it is available in FireWire 800, but if it is, I'd go with either a Western Digital or Seagate external, as they are reliable and cheaper than LaCie.
  7. Sandman1969 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 5, 2007
  8. ELSELS macrumors member

    Dec 24, 2010
    eSata vs. SATA?


    I am still very much "learning" about various hard drive's technology.

    What is the difference between eSATA and SATA?

    I have a drive with "SATA" port/plug connectors.

    Are you making reference to the way these drives are connected to the motherboard, (or "circuit boards"), or in regards if enclosed within the external cases?


    Have a nice day,


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