Can I use my iMAC as a monitor for the Mac Mini?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by JaneD, Jun 26, 2009.

  1. JaneD macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2009
    Hi fellow MAC users! I had a tragic thing happen today. :( My imac (I think some refer to her as Daisy) died. HD failure!!! Until today I didn't even know HD had a certain lifespan. We got 7 years out of it so I guess we didn't do too bad.

    Anyway... I'm thinking of getting a Mac Mini and someone mentioned I might be able to use the monitor on my imac instead of buying one. I would LOVE to be able to do this. Can you help? Please... :D

    Also as a side note I lost thousands of pics and even more music any suggestions on how I could get those back without spending tons of $$$$$.

    Thank You in advance for any help.
  2. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
  3. JaneD thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2009
    hdd mean hard drive? Apple quoted $200 (to replace) but they have to keep my HD. I'm not ready to part with my pictures. I'd like to hold on to it until I figure out if I can save anything. Plus the mini is $600 so for $400 more I get a machine that is probably 3x better and the apple tech suggested the upgrade verses trying to fix an "almost vintage" computer.
  4. parapup macrumors 65816


    Oct 31, 2006
    Sorry to hear that your pictures and music is on the (possibly) dead Hard disk.

    I am totally not sure what a 7 year old iMac has inside - but assuming it has a standard IDE hard disk - you can have some one remove it for you. If you have another PC desktop you can then attach the disk to the desktop and run SpinRite on it - . It is $79 but you can ask for a refund if it does not work for you - I have heard from a lot many people that it saved them in situations similar to yours. No guarantee though.

    You cannot use the iMac display as the Mac Mini's monitor as normally these things do not have a Video Input - only output.

    Displays are relatively cheap though - $150 should get you a new 20" HP display for example. If you try on ebay may be you can get something even cheaper. That plus $70 for a IDE disk means you can get your old iMac going for less than the price of the Mini.

    Good Luck!
  5. thomahawk macrumors 6502a


    Sep 3, 2008
    Osaka, Japan
    well not sure if you still have warranty, if not

    open up your imac take the harddrive out. pop it into an external enclosure. and plug it into your macmini see if you can try to get the thing running and take your stuff out
  6. JaneD thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2009
    Thank You for this info!!!! I don't have another desktop but I could find one. :) I hope it works! About the monitor I get what you're saying about the output/input but I was told it might be able to be rigged a certain way to make it work?
  7. Darth.Titan macrumors 68030


    Oct 31, 2007
    Austin, TX
    Good advice here for you on the hard drive. To answer the original question though...

    No, an iMac cannot be used as a monitor for a Mac mini.
  8. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

    Jul 5, 2008
    Thule GL @ the TOW
    ...I'd fix your iMac via an authorized repair shop other than apple if you didn't want to DIY... its not that old to be called vintage (now my ~11 year old Dell Dimension 8100 with a P4 423 pin mother board and RDRAM = that could be called vintage, or the 386 DX2/66:eek:))
  9. parapup macrumors 65816


    Oct 31, 2006
    You are welcome.

    If the iMac you have is a iMac G4 - It seems easy to remove the drive.

    About the display - nope, there is no trick to make it work that way!
  10. JaneD thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2009
    No warranty. What type of external enclosure? Is there something cheap I can get or use?
  11. JaneD thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2009
    Yikes! That link looks really intimidating! :( I think I'll have to get help for sure.
  12. parapup macrumors 65816


    Oct 31, 2006
    Yep, not a bad idea (I should have said it is easy for a techie)!

    Also keep in mind that external enclosure most likely won't help with the data recovery - if the drive fails to work on internal interface, there is little reason for it to work when attached externally.

    In other words you would be better off attaching the drive to a PC desktop and running spinrite.
  13. bumzo1 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 31, 2009
    Dallas, TX
    If you have a G4 I think there is a way to use the monitor with a Mac Mini I am not sure how I just remember seeing a video on youtube of someone doing this but it seems that you would have to mess around with the internals.

    Good luck in your recovery
  14. JaneD thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2009
    Ok really...? I know this was not a genius move on my part but I've done a pretty good job at beating myself up. I didn't need your added blows. I realize the error in my ways and it would have been nice of you to share your wisdom rather than bash my lack of computer common sense.

    AND... I didn't realize I had a REALLY OLD MACHINE. It looks new, ran perfect (until now) and in 7 years I've never had an issue. I've heard of people warning about computer crashes and so backing up would be wise but those people use Vista or Windows (LOL) Honestly, I figured my stuff was safe on a MAC... Well it was safe... from crashes and bugs but not from time. I also didn't realize that HD and computers in general only had about a 5 year lifespan. Who knew that my 7 year old computer would be the equivalent to a 120 year old man? ...obviously not me... and I think I'm probably not alone. I think it maybe safe to say that the average computer user is like me.

    "Everyone always talks about computers being replaced as often as 3-5 years, with most consumer PC lifespans being a maximum of 5 years... so you were pushing it as is... not to have made plans for "the inevitable" is just irresponsible. "

    Your EVERYONE and my EVERYONE are total opposites because my days are filled with diapers/coloring/ABC and 123.

    All in all what I'm trying to say is yes you are right I should have backed my memories up but you could be kinder in your approach to tell me the obvious. Now you have yet another "dumb" computer user story to tell...

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