Hard drive failing, back up possible?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Sweenona, Nov 13, 2009.

  1. Sweenona macrumors member

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    Jan 18, 2008
    #1
    My iMac has been going super slow for the past few days, so I decided to restart it. When restarting, I had it install a software update which was only a couple hundred megabytes, but took several hours to install. So I'm fairly certain my hard drive is beginning to fail (constant beachballs, etc.). It's not always THAT slow, but it has its good moments and its bad moments.

    So my question to you hard drive experts out there is, considering how slow my computer is now acting, is it likely for me to able to do a full system back up in Time Machine (my internal drive is 500GB and full), or would I be lucky to back up just a few important files? And considering my symptoms, how much time (if you had to guess) would you say I might have before complete drive failure?

    ANY input would be greatly appreciated, I'm at the point where I'm terrified to turn my iMac back on for fear of it instantly failing. Thanks.
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #2
    Is your hard drive completely full? I would delete some things you don't need or move them to external HD so that you would have at least 10GB of free space.

    Try repairing you permissions and drive with Disk Utility. I would do a backup IMMEDIATELY because it can die at any time
     
  3. iMerlin macrumors 6502a

    iMerlin

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    #3
    If your HDD isnt completely full, I agree with Hell regarding a permission fix. I would also try to load up Onyx and run the maintenance scripts.
     
  4. Sweenona thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 18, 2008
    #4
    I've got about 20GB of free space. I plan to do a complete back up as soon as I get my replacement external drive in the mail (I've just got all the luck). Based on these symptoms does it sound like I have enough life left in the drive to do an entire backup? It would be terrible for it to die halfway through my backup.
     
  5. Sweenona thread starter macrumors member

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    #5
    Do you think I should try backing up first, or repairing the permissions first?
     
  6. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #6
    It's very hard to say when it's dyeing. In some cases it may works months but in other cases it may die when you next time click the mouse. If you HD is already in mail, I'd wait because you're not in hurry I guess.

    Backup first

    Take a look at my guide here. You can ignore parts 2.1 to 2.3, they shouldn't affect to your problem
     
  7. rmb7984 macrumors regular

    rmb7984

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    #7
    Repairing permissions won't hurt. I suppose I'd do that first, especially if you're waiting for a drive to back up with.

    Also, is your drive making any sort of scary sounds, like clicking or beeping? That's usually a pretty good indicator of impending drive failure.

    How much memory do you have installed? Are you getting a lot of page outs? Low memory with an almost full hard drive can cause a very slow computer.
     
  8. BelowTheBelt macrumors regular

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    Aug 16, 2009
    #8
    Completely with HellHammer on this one Backup First :)

    Then you know your safe to try to monkey around with it.

    Better to be safe than sorry right ?

    Good luck M8 ;)
     
  9. Sweenona thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 18, 2008
    #9
    No, no strange noises (at least not that I can hear). I have 3GB of memory, and normally it runs very smoothly. I have been using it exactly as I always have, and now I get the beachball when opening a file, etc. Not sure about the page outs as I've left it off until I get my new external drive, but I'm fairly certain it isn't memory related.
     
  10. Sweenona thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 18, 2008
    #10
    Thanks guys for all your input and advice. I guess all that I can do now is wait and pray...
     
  11. rmb7984 macrumors regular

    rmb7984

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    #11
    Well, you're definitely better safe than sorry. Back that thing up!
     
  12. Michaelgtrusa macrumors 604

    Michaelgtrusa

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    #12



    What scrips would you recommend?
     
  13. iMerlin macrumors 6502a

    iMerlin

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    May 13, 2008
    #13
    When my MBP is acting funky I usually run all the automated scripts in Onyx...

    [​IMG]

    I also periodically run Disk Utility as Hell mentioned to verify and repair the disk if needed. Although Onyx claims to do the same thing I believe.

    I also downloaded Snow Leopard Cache Cleaner...
    http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/system_disk_utilities/snowleopardcachecleaner.html

    Sometimes I also run a few sections in SLCC just to tie up lose ends.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  14. Michaelgtrusa macrumors 604

    Michaelgtrusa

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    #14
    Thanks for the reply. What else do you do for maintenance?
     
  15. iMerlin macrumors 6502a

    iMerlin

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    #15
    No problem at all.
    And other than just making sure I get rid of unneeded files like cleaning up the Downloads folder once in a while, thats about all the maintenance I do. I do this routine monthly, sometimes less often if my MBP is running smooth. Im a little OCD about it though. I dont like those beach balls damnit!
     
  16. Michaelgtrusa macrumors 604

    Michaelgtrusa

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    #16
    I just ran the script for the first time, MAN! is my HD rumbling! Sad. The quality issues today.
     
  17. iMerlin macrumors 6502a

    iMerlin

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    #17
    Let us know how it goes.
     
  18. cfitz7111 macrumors 6502

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    Jun 8, 2008
    #18
    Backup NOW.Before your external HDD arrives, you can always burn the real important things (photos, financial, videos, etc.) to DVD.
     
  19. Sweenona thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 18, 2008
    #19
    Thanks iMerlin, that walkthrough is very helpful.

    I'm not currently using my faulty computer before my external arrives out of fear of it failing, but is time still a factor anyway? Is letting a failing drive sit unused and then starting it up a shock to the damaged hardware?
     
  20. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #20
    Booting you computer is the "worst" thing to your computer because it has to be working at full speed to download all necessary files so it can even boot. I would sleep your Mac instead of shutting it down before your HD arrives
     
  21. Sweenona thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 18, 2008
    #21
    Oh jeez, I wish I had known that before, I've had it off for a few days now. Since it's already off and has to boot up now anyway would you recommend keeping it off, or should I turn it on now and leave it in sleep?
     
  22. iMerlin macrumors 6502a

    iMerlin

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    #22
    You are welcome... hopefully it helps and your HDD isnt actually bad.
     
  23. Michaelgtrusa macrumors 604

    Michaelgtrusa

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    #23
    Things seem ok, but I still have to return to Best Buy.
     

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