how to replace hard drive?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by 2ms, Apr 15, 2010.

  1. 2ms macrumors 6502

    Nov 22, 2002
    My iMac shut down while I was transferring some files to and from an external drive and now it won't reboot. It only has the flashing "?" symbol. Ominously, it also makes a clicking noise.

    I'm afraid the hard drive is dead, but there are invaluable family pictures and movies and stuff on there that I want to try to save if at all possible.

    I have ready a new WD Caviar 1TB hard drive to replace the old one with. And I have a Lacie Firewire 500GB external drive.

    Can anyone tell me what to do to try to get whatever is possible off the old hard drive and onto the new hard drive?

    The ideal would be the old hard drive being fine and I just being able to mirror it onto the new drive and then stick it in. However, since the system doesn't boot, I'm not able to use SuperDuper or anything like that. I also do not know things like whether or not I need to have the Lacie drive be empty before trying to mirror the old drive to it etc.
  2. bmcgonag macrumors 65816


    Mar 20, 2007
    Best answer in this case would be....

    Get a good set of instructions for replacing your internal drive. It's not like doing so on a regular old pc as I'm sure you are aware.

    Install OS X from your DVD to the new drive.

    Attach the old internal drive back to your mac via an external USB or firewire connection.

    Look up dd_rescue and ddrescue (they are different), and follow the guides for using them.

    Use them to try and recover the data from your old drive to the new internal drive. If the image you create from the old drive is complete, you can attempt to put it onto the new internal drive and hopefully it will work as if it was never removed, and you'll have extra space too.
  3. 2ms thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 22, 2002
    I don't have any external enclosure for a hard drive. Are you talking about buying something like this and putting the old one into it?

    Assuming that's what you mean, do I have the following correct?
    (1)Take old hd out and put into new external enclosure.
    (2)Install new hd in iMac.
    (3)Install Snow Leopard (what I have on both my current Macs)
    (4)Download dd_rescue and ddrescue to access old hd from iMac containing new hd
    (5)Try to create image of my old 250GB and copy it to iMac (1TB drive). If can't create image then just try to grab as many files as can and drop them into directory on new install (1TB drive).

    By the way I have an MBP and a Lacie 500GB FW. Those aren't useful in any way?
  4. bmcgonag macrumors 65816


    Mar 20, 2007
    You've got it!

    You can connect your MBP to the imac using a firewire cable. Start your MBP and boot up. Then boot your iMac with the old HD in it still, and hold the 'T' button down until the FIrewire symbol comes up on the screen of the iMac. This should make your iMac appear as a Firewire attached External drive on your MBP.

    You can then try to recover files from dd_rescue or ddrescue, or you can download anyone of many OS X based softwares out there with Graphical interfaces.
  5. 2ms thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 22, 2002
    I've been reading about the freezer trick. I think I'm going to use the external enclosure method and put the external enclosure into the freezer with USB running to my iMac.

    I'm really hoping I can get an image of the drive but ~200GB is an awful lot over a USB connection to try to get when the clock is ticking away on the hard drive locking up again as it heats up.

    dd_rescue doesn't look very user friendly. Any other suggestions on software to use to try to get things (ideally an image) as easily and quickly as possible while being booted into OS X on new hard drive and trying to get stuff off old hard drive in external enclosure?
  6. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    Sailing beyond the sunset
    Dry ice?
  7. BlueRevolution macrumors 603


    Jul 26, 2004
    Montreal, QC
    Dry ice would be an excellent way to ensure that the hard drive shatters. I suppose you could put the hard drive in something extremely extremely waterproof and put it in a bath of ice water while you run it, but you always run the risk of condensation no matter how you do it.

    Even if it does work (no guarantee there), it's unlikely that you'll be able to recover very much. Just be grateful for every byte you recover, and give yourself a kick for not maintaining a backup for every byte you can't.
  8. geerlingguy, Sep 17, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 4, 2011

    geerlingguy macrumors 6502a


    Feb 11, 2003
    St. Louis, USA
    It's not as hard as it seems, but it does require some concentration, and maybe an hour of time.

    As far as the data transfer goes; you would do well to get just a little bit—I've had this problem on a couple drives before, and it taught me a lesson I'll never forget—you can never back up too much!
  9. Ciarat, Dec 19, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2010

    Ciarat macrumors newbie

    Dec 19, 2010
    Troubleshoot hard drive replacement

    I replaced the HD in my 1st gen MacBook pro and it's not reading. Put old one back in and not reading that either although it will work from ext drive enclosure. Worried I bent the Sata cable. It was very hard to pry up and now has a few white marks on it. Can I test for this? Other ideas appreciated. Also cable attachment to board won't stay put. Does it click in or have glue on it that came off? Thanks!

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