Did my reliable iMac just die?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Cursor, Aug 21, 2011.

  1. Cursor macrumors 6502

    Cursor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    #1
    Hi all. So as I was using Safari, I got the spinning beach ball. I ended up having to hold the power button down to shut it off. After waiting 10 seconds, I turned the computer back on, but just got a gray screen, so I shut it down again. The next time I powered up, I got the "question mark" folder.

    After booting up from my Snow Leopard disk, I was going to run disk first aid, but my iMac hard drive doesn't show up in the side bar. Does anybody know why? Am I screwed? Can I use "restore your system" from the snow leopard system disc? Anybody have any advice?

    I have an old 2007 20" iMac, 256mb, 3gb Ram, running The latest version of Snow Leopard.

    Any comments would help! Thanks.
     
  2. Love macrumors 68000

    Love

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
    Location:
    Just southeast of Northwestshire
    #2
    Sadly, it sounds like your hard drive died, and it will need to be replaced. I hope you have a backup.

    You can do this yourself - it's moderately tricky, however. I'd recommend taking it into an Apple Store, they can likely fix it.
     
  3. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    Isla Nublar
    #3
    Sounds like the hard drive went. This is common in computers regardless of brand.

    Try this first, do a PRAM reset buy holding in Command + Option + P + R and while those are held in, turn on the computer and wait until you hear the startup chime play two times, then release. See if this fixes things.
     
  4. Cursor thread starter macrumors 6502

    Cursor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    #4
    Should the Mac sound two total times or two times after the initial chime?
     
  5. plumosa macrumors regular

    plumosa

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2007
    Location:
    Australia
    #5
    its most likely the hard drive, but could also be a bad sata cable. I had this happen to me about 2 months ago with a similar iMac. I did all the things on the apple website and eventually just opened her up with the help of ifixit.org.

    For me, it ended up being the sata cable because the hard drive was completely fine.

    Its actually fairly easy to open up an iMac, you just need to go to a hardware store and get two suction cups and then probably to a specialty store to get a torx 6 and 8 screwdriver (check for your specific model though)


    good luck!
     
  6. Cursor thread starter macrumors 6502

    Cursor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    #6
    Alright. Zapping the pram didnt work. I guess I'll bring it in to the apple store tomorrow morning. Thanks for all the help, everybody.
     
  7. Cursor thread starter macrumors 6502

    Cursor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    #7
    Whoa! Big news. I was about to pack it in, when my hard drive showed up in disk utility. I tried to verify the disk, but a message popped up about:

    Invalid sibling link
    This volume was found to be corrupt and needs to be repaired.

    I clicked repair disk, but we will see what happens.

    Has anybody had this problem? This whole thing is confusing me, because it's never happened before.
     
  8. AlphaDogg macrumors 68040

    AlphaDogg

    Joined:
    May 20, 2010
    Location:
    Boulder, CO
  9. Cursor thread starter macrumors 6502

    Cursor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    #9
    Well, it won't repair the disk, but it is letting me erase and reinstall Mac os x. I'm going to give it a shot. Do you think I'm wasting my time?
     
  10. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Takamatsu, Japan
    #10
    A bad sibling link is an indication the hard disk has lost or scrambled directory info. It could very well be an indicator that the hard disk itself has failed/is failing. If you can get OS X installed again I'd recommend you run Smartreporter to poll the S.M.A.R.T. status. It may already indicate failures if the HDD is bad.
     
  11. Cursor thread starter macrumors 6502

    Cursor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    #11
    Great! That'll be the first thing that I install. Thanks for the help.
     
  12. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO
    #12
    Just don't get your hopes up. You'll most likely be on borrowed time if it installs.

    Every computer I've owned has ended up having a bad mechanical hard drive at one point. As soon as I can ditch them to go to SSD I will.
     
  13. onthecouchagain macrumors 604

    onthecouchagain

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    #13
    Just a general question, how common is it for HDs to die? I've owned a bunch of Dell computers before switching to iMac this year, and I've had each Dell for 5-6 years at a time, all of which never had HDs that died out on me. How common is this with iMacs? I know at forums, we only hear about the flaws and faults because that's what most people come here to talk/ask about. Does anyone know if HD failure is common to iMacs in general? And if it is, what is the time frame? I often read/hear about it being common (that and the screen going bad).
     
  14. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Takamatsu, Japan
    #14
    The HDDs used in Macs are the same as those used in HPs and Dells. They are Western Digital or Seagate. Of all the iMacs I've owned through the years, I only had one failure which was promptly replaced under Applecare.

    No matter what the computer, hard disk drives fail. The important thing is to keep backups of critical data. I also highly recommend Applecare.
     
  15. Cursor thread starter macrumors 6502

    Cursor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    #15
    I've successfully reinstalled snow leopard and booted up from the hard drive. What should I do first; install all of my old applications or recover my old information from my time machine? I'm afraid that if I recover my stuff first, the applications that I install will overwrite my old preferences and things like that.
     
  16. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Takamatsu, Japan
    #16
    The first thing I'd do is run Disk Utility and click on the HD and on the bottom check out what it says next to S.M.A.R.T. Status.

    You might also do a "Repair Disk" to see if it turns up any errors.

    If both of those show no abnormalities you might want to proceed to a Time Machine restore. I assume your Time Machine data backed up to an external HD?

    Restoring system from Time Machine.
     
  17. Cursor thread starter macrumors 6502

    Cursor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    #17
    I did the disk utility stuff and everything looked good. My data and all of my user files are backed up on an external, with the exception of my applications. Will the applications overwrite my user data ( ie. Preferences) when they are installed?
     
  18. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Takamatsu, Japan
    #18
    Most applications should recognize the existence of their preference files when you reinstall them and will not overwrite the data. If something goes wrong you could always reinstall all the apps and then restore the ~/Library/Preferences folder from your latest Time Machine backup.
     
  19. namethisfile macrumors 6502a

    namethisfile

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    #19
    i agree. this just happened to me this past week. lost 4 days doing the install-dance and disk utility reporting that my hdd was fixed even though it clearly wasn't. i did a 7-pass erase which let me install tiger and update it the first time, which fueled my hope and naiveté that my hdd was ok. the next day, i upgraded to snow leopard and broke the iMac again. it took multiple days of install-fails and half-success-installs but i was able to connect the dots and figure out that the 7-pass erase only delayed the inevitable by sort of erasing the bad sectors of the hdd allowing that short window of success installing tiger. but, as soon as i installed snow leopard, it caused an error on installation because the hdd hit the bad/corrupt sectors again. so, my guess, is that your hdd is dying too. the good news is that a new hdd is fairly inexpensive and putting a new hdd in the iMac is kind of straightforward and fairly easy if you are out of warranty. just get the right tools and follow the ifixit guide.

    ----------

    my travails are documented here, if you are interested:

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1213965
     
  20. Cursor thread starter macrumors 6502

    Cursor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    #20
    Thanks for all the great comments, everybody. I'll give the apple store a call in the morning, just to get their opinion, as well. Hopefully, I'll be back to work by tomorrow, sometime.
     
  21. Stan Mikulenka macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2009
    Location:
    Calgary, Canada
    #21
    Hi Cursor,
    don't use this HD and replace it as soon as possible.
    The hard drives aren't $800 (as they used to be) - and lasting 20 years...
    They are ± $80 - lasting 1 to 4 years...
    And don't bother to install all the apps back on it - it's exercise in frustration as the previous poster wrote about his 'fixing' of his HD.
     
  22. Lankyman macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    May 14, 2011
    Location:
    U.K.
    #22
    They may be the same HD's but few Windows PC HD's are subject to the heat stresses that the iMac HD's get. Far more room and ventilation in a tower. I've been using Windows since 3.1 and have never had a HD go on me. I still own a P4 that sounds like a plane taking off but the HD is still sound nearly nine years on. I doubt my iMac HD will still be going strong in nine years.
     
  23. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Takamatsu, Japan
    #23
    Granted, heat is definitely a factor in HDD life. That said, of the half dozen or so HDD crashes I've experienced over the years only one was in an iMac. :cool:

    In fact, I had a reasonably new drive in a PC go bad recently.
     
  24. Lankyman macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    May 14, 2011
    Location:
    U.K.
    #24
    I've heard about such things though I've also heard of the Yeti - however, I have never had experience of either and have never met anyone who has (to date), so I'm a bit sceptical. :D
     
  25. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Takamatsu, Japan
    #25
    Just to be clear here, you're saying you've never heard of a hard disk failing in a PC? Somehow, I think it's a bit of a stretch to equate that to the existence of the abominable snowman.

    Hard disks fail, period. It isn't always heat that causes the failures. They fail in PCs, Macs, DVRs, game consoles and wherever else they are installed.
     

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