Hard Drive Failing Or Not?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Dpock, Jan 16, 2012.

  1. Dpock macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2011
    #1
    I've had for a couple months with spinning globes, no-entry signs, freezing, etc., enough to think I had a failing hard drive. Disk Utility said it could not repair errors it was showing running disk permissions and verifications. So I erased the hard drive (data's been long long but mostly backed-up) using Disk Utility Erase and then ran the verify disk and it then said the hard drive was fine.

    Is it possible my hard drive is in fact fine now that I've blanked it out?
     
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #2
    Disk utility isn't very good sometimes. It sounds like you have a hard drive problem to me.
     
  3. kpgh554 macrumors regular

    kpgh554

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2011
    Location:
    iver england
    #3
    you could try hardware test if have comp disc by trying this.
    Press D during startup
    Start up in Apple Hardware Test (AHT), if the Install DVD 1 is in the
    computer. might be worth a try.as could be just a corrupted file.
    a program called smart reporter is worth having as can get early warning of probs. though like most apps can't be guaranteed 100%.
     
  4. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #4
    "So I erased the hard drive (data's been long long but mostly backed-up) using Disk Utility Erase and then ran the verify disk and it then said the hard drive was fine.
    Is it possible my hard drive is in fact fine now that I've blanked it out?"

    Have you tried reinstalling the OS onto the newly-initialized hard drive?

    Does it run well enough to suit you?

    If it does, I'd reckon that the hard drive is "back to health", at least for the short-term.

    In that case, might as well keep using it.
    HOWEVER -- it might be a good time to get a SECOND hard drive and keep a "cloned copy" of your internal on it as an "alternative boot source". Update the clone at regular intervals. I'd recommend CarbonCopyCloner as your backup utility. DO NOT attempt to use Time Machine to maintain such a backup, because you can't boot from a TM backup.

    Backed up this way, even if your internal HD does fail at some future time, you'll be protected, and it will be a matter of a quick reboot to get back to where you were just before the internal HD failed....
     
  5. Dpock thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2011
    #5
    I was able to erase the HD, reinstall Tiger and the Leopard upgrade, VM Fusion, felt all was good, then after several hours the screen went black. Rebooting it would produce start-up noises but it would stall and die. Unplug it, went out for dinner, came back, plugged it in and started right up, but within a half hour produced spinning beach ball then died. I won't touch it again until the Disk Warrior CD arrives.

    In the meantime I researched the HD problem on 24" iMacs to discover they're fairly unreliable, often needing new HD drives within a year of use, with subsequent new drives failing as well. Guess there's a heat problem, meaning a design problem. I spent twenty-five hundred for my iMac in 2008 essentially for word processing and web surfing, which I don't consider heavy use. I will say it was very speedy and reliable right up to a month ago. Up til then I was a big fan (and yes I know, there are two types of HDs, ones that fail, and ones that haven't failed yet).

    So I'm back on my now ten-year-old Gateway PC, which I've abused fairly heavily (in terms of transport and storage after getting the iMac). It has a noisy fan but otherwise runs as well as the day I bought it. I've never had a HD failure on any of my PCs (within the family meaning about eight PCs).

    I've loved the iMac but they're out of my league considering their useful life (speaking of the 24" and now 27" iMacs, which I understand have similar hard drive issues). If I get the one I have up and running with Diskwarrior I'll use it to web surf only until it dies again and begs for recycling, and shift my work back to PCs.

    While I appreciate all of your advice, I'm pretty sure my 24" iMac is, like the many others I've now read about, not worth saving.
     
  6. Dpock thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2011
    #6
    Disk Warrior Confirms Death

    Disk Warrior arrived--ran it twice, said my drive was damaged and would only get worse.

    Is there any salvage value in a 24" imac? Could it be used as a monitor for another computer? Door stop? Seriously--I'm not sure what to do with it.
     
  7. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #7
    "Is there any salvage value in a 24" imac? Could it be used as a monitor for another computer? Door stop? Seriously--I'm not sure what to do with it."

    An '08 24" iMac is still a very useful machine.

    I see two options:
    1. Have the internal hard drive replaced (replacements are not expensive). There may be 3rd-party "independent" Apple resellers/repair shops near you that will do this for a very reasonable fee. If you are handy with tools, patient, and do your homework before starting, you might even be able to do it yourself.
    2. Get an EXTERNAL hard drive, and use that as your drive/boot source (essentially "ignoring" the defective internal drive). It will take a little longer to boot up, but once up and running, will be pretty much as it was before.

    For option 2, I'd suggest one of these:
    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias=aps&field-keywords=usb+sata+dock&x=0&y=0
    (many items shown, they all work the same, just pick one you like that's cheap, some are only about $20-25)

    ....and then get a "bare" hard drive from the vendor of your choice (I like newegg.com).

    Just install the OS onto the "docked drive" as you would do onto the internal drive. Do the installation, run software update, create your accounts, then just remember to turn the dock on before you boot up.

    Once up and running, you might even get the internal drive running again, at least for "scratch storage space".

    Again, if it's only the drive, and the rest of the iMac is still functional, it should have a few more years left in it....
     
  8. Dpock, Jan 20, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2012

    Dpock thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2011
    #8
    Wow. It wouldn't have occurred to me to go this route so thanks a lot for your post. I have a couple questions:

    1. When you say "Just intall the OS into the docked drive" do you just mean a USB connection from the back of iMac to the dock? (into which I connect the external hard drive).

    2. I have a Western Digital "My Book" 1T external drive already with a USB 2 port--would that work? And via the iMac DVD drive I install my OS into the external drive? Wouldn't the external drive need to be formatted first (which I wouldn't be able to do with the iMac in its current state).

    3. Disk Warrior didn't indicate any else was wrong with the iMac than a "corrupted directory" on a "malfunctioning HD" it couldn't rebuilt. If the motherboard was going as well, would it have mentioned it?

    Thanks again for your reply.

    I now see by external HD you meant a "desktop" external drive--
     
  9. Dpock thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2011
    #9
    I want to try what Fischrrman suggests doing above (option 2) but I have a question first.

    Disk Warrior said my hard drive was shot. I can still start the iMac up with my install disc inserted and get the installation screen, go over to Disk Utility, etc., but of course Disk Utility can't repair the drive (so far). Does the fact that I get to the installation windows, Disk Utility, etc., suggest my graphics card and logicboard are still functioning?
     

Share This Page