Help! iMac completely non-responsive!

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Cuppybear, Feb 19, 2016.

  1. Cuppybear macrumors newbie

    Cuppybear

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2016
    #1
    Hi, I have an iMac that I bought around October of 2009 that's running Mac OS X Snow Leopard (version 10.6). I haven't used it for the past year or so because it's gotten so slow to respond-whenever I open up a folder, surf the internet, or play music, etc, it takes forever and a day to perform the function I want it to. The mouse cursor will just spin and spin and spin! :eek::confused::( When I play music, the music will constantly stop and then come back on again, like something is working in the background that's slowing it down.

    Recently when I went to use it, however, I turned it on and the login screen came up, but then it just sat there on that screen with the mouse cursor spinning. I've powered it off (using the button since I can't use the mouse) then back on, and the same thing happens. This is something new and I don't know how to get past the log in screen.

    I admit I've always been a PC user so I'm very unfamiliar with Macs, and this experience has not made me very fond of the Apple world. Can anyone advise me on what they think may be going on and how to proceed from here? It has 500GB and still lots of empty space, so I can't figure out why it's acting this way, because it acts like it's bogged down or something. Unless it's a memory problem? I don't have all the specs on hand-I'd have to look it all up.

    Thanks for any help! :)
     
  2. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2001
    Location:
    Denmark
    #2
    Please don't ever use pink colors on a white background again.

    And you are angry at Apple that your 7 year old machine finally has issues? Wow.

    My guess is that the harddrive is failing. Try and do a system re-install using the discs that came with the machine.
     
  3. Cuppybear thread starter macrumors newbie

    Cuppybear

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2016
    #3
    Sorry, why, is the pink hard to read? If that's why, I understand. And No, it's been this way for a few years-I'd say this started around 2012. I'm just finally getting so tired of it and realize I can't fix it on my own.

    And if that's true about the hard drive failing, yes, I'm upset because I don't know why it would fail after a few years only.
     
  4. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #4
    Yes, its hard on the eyes, you don't want to make your post any more difficult since you're asking for help.

    It does sound like its the hard drive. Its too late now, but Apple may have been more responsive if you had not waited. The computer is out of warranty at this point. The fix should be fairly easy, install a new hard drive. If you're not comfortable about doing that, look for some authorized apple repair centers.
     
  5. Cuppybear thread starter macrumors newbie

    Cuppybear

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2016
    #5
    Yea, it was already out of warranty when I noticed the problem, unfortunately. Isn't that how it always goes?! :( Do you have an idea of what a new hard drive might cost?

    Thank you!
     
  6. CoastalOR macrumors 68000

    CoastalOR

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2015
    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    #6
    Do you have a backup of your system (Time Machine or clone)? If there is no backup and if the hard drive is failing then all of your internal data could be lost, plus any troubleshooting could risk losing the data.

    Do you have a external drive that has a bootable OS on it that you can connect and try booting from the external? If yes, then a good test would be to boot from the external to see if you can login and run Disk Utility to test your internal drive.

    Did you buy a new iMac in 2009 or was it used? Which OS do you have?

    I agree that it sounds like a failing hard drive.

    EDIT: What is the screen size?
     
  7. Cuppybear thread starter macrumors newbie

    Cuppybear

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2016
    #7
    Hi, I don't know the answers to those questions. I thought Time Machine comes with the computer-if not-then I've never installed it. I worry about losing my data, too. I've been wanting to retrieve a lot of photos, etc from it, too, and was actually thinking of moving it all over before this happened.

    I have an external Seagate slim drive-don't know what bootable OS means? Sorry, I"m not Mac saavy; I usually go to my dad for computer problems, but he's a PC user so I'm completely lost.

    I bought the computer new. It's Snow Leopard 10.6.
     
  8. Adam552 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 30, 2006
    Location:
    Liverpool, UK.
    #8
    Sounds like a Late 2009 iMac so it will be a 21.5". (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IMac_(Intel-based)#Unibody_iMac)

    Bootable OS means that you can install the Mac operating system on the external hard drive. So that you can start your computer up using the system files on the external hard drive instead of the one inside your iMac (since that one is dying).

    If you can get the hard drive replaced, try get the latest OS on it, El Capitan 10.11 - might make your machine run a bit faster when its up and running again.

    So you have three options, I guess:
    *Try booting off the Snow Leopard CDs your iMac came with, and try reinstalling OS X. This will definitely wipe all your files if they are not lost already.

    * Plug in an external hard drive. Boot your iMac up from the Snow Leopard CDs you have and install Snow Leopard on the external hard drive. Then run your iMac off it - this option means you have to always have the external drive plugged in to boot from. This also gives you a chance to access the bad drive inside your iMac and maybe be able to pull some files off it.

    *Go get your hard drive replaced and have OS X reinstalled onto it. A fresh start basically :p
     
  9. Cuppybear thread starter macrumors newbie

    Cuppybear

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2016
    #9
  10. Adam552 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 30, 2006
    Location:
    Liverpool, UK.
    #10
    As far as I know it should work, make sure you don't have any files on the external drive that you don't want to lose.

    This guide should explain what to do (as far as I know anyway): http://www.maciverse.com/installing-snow-leopard-onto-an-external-hard-drive.html
     
  11. Cuppybear thread starter macrumors newbie

    Cuppybear

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2016
    #11
    Thank you so much! Any help is appreciated since I have no idea how to do this without it...
     
  12. Adam552 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 30, 2006
    Location:
    Liverpool, UK.
    #12
    Noticed guide was missing it, but if you want to boot off the CD, you should hold the 'alt' key on your iMac before it starts up, then you can tell it to startup using the CD.
     
  13. sjjordan macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Location:
    United States
    #13
    I'd recommend paying a little extra and having a SSD installed, which will add considerably performance to your iMac. The prices have come down considerably and assuming your iMac holds as 2.5" HD, you can get a 250GB Samsung SSD for just over $100 on sale.
     
  14. Cuppybear thread starter macrumors newbie

    Cuppybear

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2016
    #14
    Thank you! I really don't care that much, I just prefer to sell it once it's fixed. I'm really just doing it to get the files I want off of the computer. I'd like to go back to a PC :)
     
  15. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #15
    If you're looking to sell it, then yeah, don't invest in an SSD. Just slap a hard drive into that bad boy and sell it.

    Good luck
     
  16. Cuppybear thread starter macrumors newbie

    Cuppybear

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2016
    #16
    Will I be able to boot my iMac from the CD, as it's not responsive now?
     
  17. CoastalOR macrumors 68000

    CoastalOR

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2015
    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    #17
    Yes, see Post #12 for some instructions. The "CD" (actually a DVD) needs to be in the optical drive at startup.

    Another way to start from the DVD is to hold the c key at startup (again the DVD needs to be in the optical drive when starting).
     
  18. Cuppybear thread starter macrumors newbie

    Cuppybear

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2016
    #18
    Thank you, sorry, missed that part! Will I then be able to move my files over to the external drive?
     
  19. Cuppybear thread starter macrumors newbie

    Cuppybear

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2016
    #19
    If the iMac holds a 3.5"drive , can a 2.5" also work?

    Thanks, Shannon
    --- Post Merged, Feb 22, 2016 ---
    Below are the 3 drives I'm comparing. Can anyone recommend 1 over the others? 1 is a solid state drive, but cheaper than the Samsung. Also, is 5400 rpm or 7200 rpm better?

    Thanks again!

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...ue&ref_=ox_sc_act_title_1&smid=A15IHSUYXRQZ1Y

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...rue&ref_=ox_sc_act_title_2&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...rue&ref_=ox_sc_act_image_4&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER
     
  20. Adam552 macrumors 6502

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    May 30, 2006
    Location:
    Liverpool, UK.
    #20
    If it holds a 3.5", 3.5" is probably easier to fit in there, you can put 2.5" ones in too but you would probably need a Hard Drive enclosure/caddy to fit it in properly (as they are smaller).

    Personally, I'd go with the last one you linked because I usually buy Western Digital drives and plus it's 3.5", but it wouldn't make too much difference as far as I know.

    Source: https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iMac+Intel+21.5-Inch+EMC+2308+Hard+Drive+Replacement/1766
     
  21. mmomega macrumors demi-god

    mmomega

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2009
    Location:
    DFW, TX
    #21
    The late 2009 iMacs do use 3.5" drives from the factory. If you want to put in a Solid State Drive you'll want an adaptor so that it fits exactly in the spot of the old drive.
    Like this : http://www.amazon.com/Notebook-Drive-Mounting-Bracket-Adapter/dp/B00AYJFXIQ/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1456246329&sr=8-2&keywords=ssd+3.5"+adaptor

    I did this to my '09 iMac back in 2009 and it really woke the machine up and made it much, much faster to respond to everything.
    There is a downside to this though. Once you remove the stock internal hard drive and replace it with an SSD the internal fans are going to be at full speed until you can get back into OS X and install fan control software. Such as SMCFanControl or something similar.
    I've also read this can happen even when replacing with regular 3.5" drives because some of them don't have the same connector as the stock drive which tells the fans how fast to spin.

    More info here for whoever will do the swap.

    https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iMac+Intel+27-Inch+EMC+2309+and+2374+Hard+Drive+Replacement/1634


    *** and it looks like Adam beat me to most of my points :) I didn't even read his post until after I posted mine.
     
  22. Adam552 macrumors 6502

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    May 30, 2006
    Location:
    Liverpool, UK.
    #22
    I do it all the time :D
     
  23. Cuppybear thread starter macrumors newbie

    Cuppybear

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2016
    #23
    Thank you so much for all of the advice! ;)

    Well, if it's true the hard drive is failing, which is what everyone is telling me, I have no choice but to swap it out. If I choose to do that, do you know if I can bring the new parts to Apple and they will do the install?

    Thanks again, Shannon
     
  24. JustMartin macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2012
    Location:
    UK
    #24
    I would say that the easiest thing to do would be to contact your Apple store directly and ask them how much to get your data off your hard disk onto an external disk and to fit a new internal drive. Given your level of Mac knowledge, I would say that you're better off leaving this to someone else.
     
  25. Cuppybear thread starter macrumors newbie

    Cuppybear

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2016
    #25
    Thanks! I agree, never intended to do it myself, but if I can supply cheaper parts I will :)
     

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