Hard drive replacement question

Discussion in 'iMac' started by GregE, Jul 18, 2012.

  1. GregE macrumors 6502

    Nov 28, 2007
    Hey all,

    Last weekend when I came home my iMac was pretty unresponsive. I powered it down and back on and it took quite a while. Then I still couldn't get any program to start up. I'm thinking my hard drive is dying so I bought a replacement and a Thermaltake docking station. I know how to replace the drive and I am confident I can do it. My hope is to use the docking station to access the old hard drive and copy it's contents to the new hard drive.

    My question is, once I get the new hard drive in, what's the best way to get the contents over without trying to boot from the old hard drive? I figure I will use CCC but will I have to first install the OS on the new hard drive?

  2. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    Assuming you are successful in copying the contents from your old HD to the new one in the docking station (using CCC), the new drive will be bootable so all you have to do is swap the drives and you are done!
  3. omvs macrumors 6502

    May 15, 2011
    If you have a time machine backup, I'd just do a restore from the backup. If you don't have a backup, you might want to start thinking about doing backups in the future -- osx makes it pretty easy.

    Assuming no backup, you can CCC or SuperDuper! if you have another OSX drive to boot from.

    Assuming you have no drive you can boot, I'd say do a fresh install on the new drive, then use the migrate assistant to pull your data over -- I find it easiest to do the migration during the install when it asks. If you do it afterwards (because you want to be able to use the machine during the copy), I'd create a different name account during the initial install -- I think the migrate can't copy data over into the active account, and ends up changing the name of the copied account if its the same name as the active one
  4. GregE thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 28, 2007
    Talmy, Old hard drive is not booting so I can't copy it to the new drive without doing something first.

    Omvs, no time machine backup. I do have a backup of my data though. I use Crashplan to do that but it's not a backup of the OS and the programs.
  5. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    "My question is, once I get the new hard drive in, what's the best way to get the contents over without trying to boot from the old hard drive? I figure I will use CCC but will I have to first install the OS on the new hard drive?"

    Do it this way:
    - This assumes you can get the computer booted up...
    - Boot up, then do this:
    - Put the new (bare) hard drive into the Thermaltake dock
    - Turn on the dock (the drive will probably NOT yet mount, since it's probably not initialized yet)
    - You may possibly get a dialog that the drive is not "readable" (that's correct, it's not)
    - Open Disk Utility - you should be able to "see" the drive in the list at the left
    - Click on the drive's name in the list, then click the "erase" button. Choose HFS+, journaled, GUID partition map.
    - DU will initialize the drive, after which it should mount on the desktop.

    Then, continue:
    - Open CarbonCopyCloner
    - On the left, pick your "source" drive (the internal)
    - On the right, pick your "target" (the docked drive)
    - Choose to backup everything (create a clone)
    - This will take a little while

    Once CCC has done its thing, do this:
    - Leave the docked drive connected
    - Choose to restart the Mac
    - As soon as you hear the startup sound, hold down the option key and KEEP HOLDING IT DOWN
    - In a few moments, the startup manager should appear
    - You will see the icon for the docked drive along with the icon for the internal. Use either the tab key or the mouse pointer to click the icon for the docked drive, then click "enter"
    - The computer should boot from the docked drive
    - CAREFUL! Because the docked drive is a "clone" of the internal, it will "look just like" the internal drive when you get to the desktop. It's easy to "get confused" as to which is actually the boot drive. I suggest you pick a new desktop picture for the docked drive to help you distinguish it from the internal drive.

    At this point, since you are booted from the external, you can now use Disk Utility to "repair" the internal. See what kind of report it gives you.

    If there appear to be directory problems, you may be able to "revive" the internal by re-intializing it, then by "re-cloning" the contents of the backup drive BACK OVER TO the internal drive. With a "fresh directory" and all the fragmentation eliminated by the copying process, the internal may "come back alive" again, and run much better.

    And you'll still have the "docked drive" to serve as your backup.
  6. GregE thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 28, 2007
    I don't think it will boot but after reading your post it got me thinking. I do have a MacBook Pro. Maybe I could use another external hard drive enclosure I have and connect both of them to it and run CCC from there.
  7. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    Not sure what you mean by "connect both of them to it" but you can't run an iMac from a MBP clone.

    I wouldn't do any clone from the wonky iMac drive. You don't know what's wrong with it, so cloning a bad drive gives you a, new bad drive.

    If you've got the same software on the MBP I'd put the new drive in the iMac, format it, and then use migration assistant from the MBP. Easy and relatively fast.
  8. GregE thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 28, 2007
    I mean connect both my questionable drive and the new drive to the MacBook Pro and use CCC running on the MacBook Pro to clone the questionable drive to the new drive.
  9. RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    I did the exact same thing with my 2009 iMac and a thermal take docking station. It worked flawlessly. If you can't avoid booting from the old drive then it's not a big deal since I was very pleased with the way it operated.

    Which iMac do you have and what capacity HDD are you putting in it?

    Are you planning on reinstalling the OS from recovery and then cloning or do you have to do a reinstall of Snow Leopard?

    If you're reinstalling another OS, then you can do that first and then clone the original drive with Disk Utility. You can use CCC, but it's really not necessary.
  10. pubjoe macrumors 6502

    Aug 14, 2007
    Woah woah. Have you ran disk utility and performed a verify and repair yet? By all means upgrade the drive if you want, but it's amazing how many people don't try this. If your mac doesn't boot at all you can use an OS X or restore disk (or USB pen) to access disk utility.

    I bought an iMac as faulty from ebay a year ago. All it took to repair it was three minutes in disk utility, and it's been running fine since.
  11. GregE thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 28, 2007
    I have a 24" iMac, can't remember what year it is. It has a 500GB HDD and that is what I was putting back in it.

    I was thinking of connecting both the new and old drive to my MacBook and cloning it from there. My original OS was Leopard and I upgraded that to Snow Leopard but hadn't gone past that one yet.

    I haven't tried that. I have my Snow Leopard disk somewhere. How would I use it or create a restore disk and access disk utility?
  12. pubjoe macrumors 6502

    Aug 14, 2007
    Put the disk in and turn on your mac. At the chime, press and hold 'C'. Once the restore disk has loaded, cancel installation and navigate the top apple menu for tools/disk utility. Once in disk utility, select your hdd on the left pane and click verify, when done, click repair.

    The process can take anything between one minute and several hours.

    This may well be enough to get your mac working again.
  13. GregE thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 28, 2007
  14. GregE thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 28, 2007
    Repairing didn't work. I got a message saying it couldn't repair the disk. I was able to boot up my iMac though after trying it so I will clone the disk as a precaution to an EHD I have. My Crashplan also ran making a backup of my files. I also wrote down the programs I have installed.

    Next step will be to re-install the OS. I'm just going to put it on the old HDD and see if I have future problems for now. Is there a good place to go so I can make sure I install the OS properly or do I just insert the disk, boot to it, and get a screen that lets me wipe my drive and re-install?

  15. pubjoe macrumors 6502

    Aug 14, 2007
    Oh well it was worth a try and it least it got it to boot. As your mac is booting, it's worth going to disk utility again in the OS's system preferences and trying again a couple of times. Sometimes it won't succeed first time but will on the second or third.
  16. GregE, Jul 19, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2012

    GregE thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 28, 2007
    I ran the repair again and now it finds no errors. Seems kind of strange that it goes from saying it can't repair it to finding no errors. Oh well. I have a clone on an EHD and my backups. I guess I will just run it this way for now.

    Thanks for the help
  17. pubjoe macrumors 6502

    Aug 14, 2007
    When it's repairing, it moves data to good sectors and then bins the bad sectors. Sometimes it seems to get stuck in a bad sector, but now that it's been binned it's passing verification. You may have ended up with a bit of corrupt data that might turn up one day but it'll probably be fine. As you say, just use the spare disk to keep a backup and then you have no nothing to worry about.

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