Hard drive may be failing

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Griffter18, Aug 29, 2015.

  1. Griffter18 macrumors newbie

    Aug 29, 2015
    I have a 27" iMac (mid 2011) with 2.7Mhz i5 processor and 12Gb of Ram ago and updated to Yosemite.
    Unfortunately apple care ran out a few months and following a recent update it has started running very slow and glitchy with constant freezes and beach balls.

    Ive looked at console and noticed a few drive error messages for the boot drive even though disc utility is showing no errors.

    Googling the drive errors gives me the impression the HD may be on the way out which is sad as its a 1tb unit (with a boot camp partition) and of the 939Gb dedicated to Mac only 198gb is used so its not like its had a hard life.

    The machine also has several external drives connected via usb2:
    2tb WD Mybook dedicated to Time Machine Backup
    1.5tb Samsung split (1tb for Mac personal data including iTunes library & 0.5tb for Windows data)

    Even writing this post is a pain as it keeps freezing up!

    Ive purchased a seperate 3.5" 1tb Seagate SSHD model ST1000DX01 which I was hoping to use as an external boot drive and initially tried to set up Yosemites on it, but for some reason it isn't recognised at start up and the Mac defaults back to the regular boot drive. It's currently connected via usb and the plan was to look at a thunderbolt enclosure or be brave enough to swap it to internal if I can get it working.

    So to my reason for posting.
    1. Whats the best way of telling whats causing the glitches i.e. Hard drive or other issue
    2. How do I get this new external drive booting up properly
    3. Can the drive Ive bought be swapped to internal use

    Thanks for any advice offered.

  2. brightjc@me.com macrumors member


    Mar 17, 2012
    I think you should do one of two things: if you can afford it get a new iMac

    Or buy a thundebolt hard drive maybe a LaCie 500gb and boot off that (I think they're about £300 if you like in the UK)
  3. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    OP wrote:
    "Ive purchased a seperate 3.5" 1tb Seagate SSHD model ST1000DX01 which I was hoping to use as an external boot drive and initially tried to set up Yosemites on it, but for some reason it isn't recognised at start up and the Mac defaults back to the regular boot drive"

    Just wondering, have you tried holding down the option key at bootup until the startup manager appears?
    Does the new external drive show up as a bootable volume?
  4. Griffter18 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 29, 2015
    Brightjc - New iMac not possible at min unfortunately so I need to find a fix.

    Fishrrman - yes if I hold down option at boot the drive shows and starts to boot, but then for some reason the boot seems to default back to the original installation (can tell as all my applications show up on dock).

    If I can get this drive to boot then I can look at the options for moving it internally (assuming its possible)
    The drive is currently mounted in a twin drive caddy via usb along with the 1.5th samsung drive. I will try unplugging it along with all other usb devices and see if that makes any difference.
  5. imofean macrumors newbie

    Oct 17, 2008
    you could use an app called drivedx to check the smart status of the hard drive. I have a 2011 mid iMac, hard drive failed a month ago. Lots of freeze and crash before that. Similar to what you mentioned in the post.

    External bootup disk is not a good option because 2011 iMac came with usb 2.0. But a thunderbolt drive costs $250...

    Eventually I bought a ssd around $80 and replaced the internal drive. I dont know much about hardware. I followed some guuides on youtube and everything ran smoothly. It took me 1 to 2 hours to finish the task. It's way easier than I had expected.
  6. Taz Mangus macrumors 68040

    Taz Mangus

    Mar 10, 2011
    Here's a couple of things to try:
    1. Create a new user account, reboot and login to the new user account. Use system with the new user account and see if the issues still happens. When you are done, logout of the new user account, login to your main user account and delete the new user account.
    2. Create a new partition on your internal hard drive, clean install OS X to the new partition, select the new partition as the startup partition and reboot. Setup the system from the clean install but don't install anything other then the basic system. Use the clean install and see if the issues still happens. When you are done, reboot back to the main partition and delete the new partition.
  7. Griffter18 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 29, 2015
    Imofean - yes Ive run drivedx and a few other disk diagnostics and am getting reported errors. From the reports it looks like there is a sector failing. Not terminal yet but the warning signs are there. What I can't tell is if there is anything I can do to remove/not use the bad sector or if its worth the hassle.

    Taz - The machine is set up with a guest account as well as the main account and the hangs are happening on both accounts

    The good news is that I removed the 1.5tb samsung (data only) drive which is sharing the usb multidisc housing with the new 1tb drive set as an alternative boot drive.
    The new version of Yosemite booted first time and complete setup and Im now posting from that version and there are no glitches or drops in speed.
    Its running through usb2 so Im not getting the full potential of the drive speed but at least its working.

    So now I have some options:
    1. Migrate all software and other data to the new boot drive and continue to run it through usb2
    2. As per 1 but look to obtain a thunderbolt housing for it to improve data transfer speeds
    3. As per 1 but consider mounting the drive inside the iMac (not sure what problems this causes i.e. temp sensors etc)
    3. Consider getting a SSD drive but this would be significantly smaller due to cost (not sure what drives would suit)
    4. Consider if anything can be done in terms of the bad sector on the original drive i.e. move the partition etc

    What do others think is best course of action?
    a) Existing drive has a bootcamp partition with Windows7 and some particular software I need to somehow retain.
    b) new samsung drive is 3.5" SSHD which i believe has SSD and spinning disc

    All help appreciated as is any advice on best means to migrate existing software from failing drive to new.
  8. rigormortis, Aug 29, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2015

    rigormortis macrumors 68000


    Jun 11, 2009
    if you feel that there is a sector failing, the means your hard disk HAS FAILED AND IT NEEDS TO BE REPLACED PERIOD.

    the quickest way to find out the smart status of your drive is system report, if it says anything but "verified" throw it away. disk utility used to show s.m.a.r.t. status but apple removed it

    AHT, Apple Hardware Test does not read hard disk status. it only checks to make sure its been installed.

    the best way to check for bad sectors is to do a complete wipe of the disk. 1 wipe is good enough, but the more the merrier., complete wipe of course does not apply to SSD

    smart status is NOT AVAILABLE on any USB DRIVE , if you want to check that, you need to take the enclosure apart and connect it internally

    "sector failing"
    every single hard disk ever made comes from the factory to you with bad sectors. these sectors are marked out by the factory. if the hard disk finds a bad sector over its operational life , it automatically relocates your data to a bank of spare sectors and never informs the operating system.. once it has run out of spares and the OPERATING SYSTEM finds out, it means YOUR DRIVE IS SHOT

    once a hard disk has tripped its s.m.a.r.t. sensor no software utility can help you. don't spend any more money. just buy a new hard disk or see if your hard disk has any warranty coverage from apple, applecare or the hard disk manufacturer ( like if was purchased in a retail box )

    if anyone tells you differently, like you just need a low level format utility, RUN AWAY. there is no such thing as a LOW LEVEL FORMAT that was something that we did with MFM and RLL hard drives that used the ST506 interface, and ever since we used IDE in 1990 that ability was removed.

    Attached Files:

  9. Griffter18 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 29, 2015
    it was Drivedx that indicates 2 sector failures. Says status is 'ok' but gives warnings to backup and that failure is possible. Im not that familar with what that actually means in ITspeak but console also indicated disc issues which is why I started taking some proactive actions rather than waiting for complete failure - been there with windows and its not a nice feeling when you loose the pc and data!
    The glitches and spinning ball were also driving me mad which is what prompted me to start looking in first place.

    Rigormortis - Im going to take your word that nothing can be done with the old drive and its on its way out so that means option 4 is a no-go.

    Im currently working through getting all the software/data across to the new drive i.e. Apps & personal data i.e. email, calendar, contacts etc and thats gone ok so far.
    What I now need to consider is do I look to move this drive inside the iMac, get a thunderbolt enclosure or use it via usb2.
    I then need to figure out how to replicate/clone the bootcamp partition with Windows and other associated software.

    So help now required:
    1. Should I move the new drive inside the iMac and if so what problems are there to consider, or should I look at an external solution/
    2. Is an SSD inside a better option?
    2. How do I cone the bootcamp & windows element onto the new drive?

  10. pjfan macrumors regular

    May 24, 2009
    Columbus OH
    First and foremost, it seems as though you're doing a manual backup. How close to 100% complete are you? I'm fanatic about backups, and if I'm questioning my drive, I would have a time machine and manual backup immediately. So get that done before anything else.

    The best option is to install the new drive in the iMac. thunderbolt will work fine, however, your iMac isn't resellable at full worth and you're tethered to a separate box. Perhaps you should switch to thunderbolt, then buy an SSD later on to install inside the iMac.
  11. matreya macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
  12. Griffter18 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 29, 2015
    Pjfan- all personal data is on seperate drive and backed up to cd and via time machine so Im ok with that. The only things on the failing drive are software and things like emails etc.
    Ive managed to boot to the external drive and have copied across the original email and its now working well from the new external drive which is my short term fix.
    I still need to sort out the bootcamp & windows bit but that can wait.

    Thunderbolt enclosure/disc was just an option to improve speed against usb2 as Im not sure what problems I would hit moving the new external drive to inside the imac.

    Looking at the original 1tb drive im only actually using around 250gb so a 500gb ssd drive would potentially work and still give me some headroom. Im guessing that if i went down this route I could clone the now working external drive to it, assuming this is a better move than switching the current external to internal use.

    Ive looked at the samsung ssd drives and the evo 500gb appear to fit the bill and is around £150.
    If i go down this route do I need to do anything in relation to temps for fan speed or is it a gairly straight swap and can i build the drive externally?

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