I installed Mavericks on 1gb RAM iMac. Help please!

Discussion in 'iMac' started by PaulJH, Jan 26, 2014.

  1. PaulJH macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2014
    I thought I had 4 GB of RAM on my iMac, turns out I only have 1. Mavericks installed ok and ran fine for a couple of days. It them got very slow and finally froze. Now it won't reboot at all. I've tried the following so far but all are failing:

    - Safe mode boot - doesn't work
    - Disk utility - Back up hard drive before reinstalling, won't work. Just times out and says error. I did have a back up but my hard drive has decided to give up the goose so lost all of that as well, brilliant.
    - Disk utility - Reinstall Mavericks, won't work as says it's not connected to the net, even though it is.
    - Single user mode - crashes after about half a page of text appears.

    So, any ideas? Help would be greatly appreciated as I really can't afford to lose all my files!

    It's worth saying I was running Snow Leopard before this and it all worked absolutely fine.

  2. sjinsjca macrumors 68020


    Oct 30, 2008
    Sounds like your disk has died. The clue is that everything worked for a few days.

    Can you boot from an external drive (preferably Firewire)? Or maybe download and burn a Gparted .iso to see if you can diagnose the disk?

    Seems your machine is old enough that the drive was living on borrowed time. I hope you have a backup.
  3. PaulJH thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2014
    I've just ordered a firewire cable to try and save everything to another mac. I have most of the info from my hard drive but I was working on a number of really important projects that hadn't transferred... well, they had but the hard drive they are on has given up the goose.

    It's a 2008 model iMac and has never had an issue until I upgraded to Mavericks. I think I just need to go back to Snow Leopard but I just want to make sure I get the rest of the info off my hard drive before formatting and erasing.

    If I connect via firewire, will I just be able to drag and drop info off the knackered Mac? I've read that the working mac just views it like an external hard drive?

  4. xraydoc macrumors demi-god


    Oct 9, 2005
    Unfortunately, this is a good lesson. A current backup is a necessity unless you can afford to lose everything. Doesn't matter how new or old your computer is. One error and everything can be lost. Unless you have a good backup, you're gambling with your expensive data. For me, the data on the computer is worth more than the computer itself.
  5. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    You should consider upgrading your RAM. The 4 GB that you THOUGHT you had would really be a great choice, even if you back-grade to Snow Leopard.
    And, of course, Mavericks needs a minimum of 2GB, and 4 GB is even better.
    I don't know how you were able to upgrade to MavX with less than minimum RAM, but you also might want test your hard drive, as your problem can be the hard drive (they don't last forever - 5 or 6 years is a good life), or make sure that the hard drive has a good amount of free space, very important when using OS X. A good rule-of-thumb for free space is more than 10% free out of the total capacity.
  6. PaulJH thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2014
    I totally agree.

    I do have a back up on another Mac and 2 hard drives. The third hard drive had my latest back up, which would have resulted in 99.5% of the info coming back to me. But as this unfortunately stopped working I am back to the previous backup. It will still give me 95% of my info back but that last 5% will just be very frustrating to lose so ideally don't want to. I know how important backing up is and am constantly do it. But it gets to the stage where you can't do it every 5 mins, unfortunately.



    Thanks DeltaMac

    Yes, I think I will upgrade. I have a MacBook Pro as well, with 4GB. That runs Mavericks absolutely fine. I thought I wouldn't be able to install Mavericks onto 1GB as well, turns out you can!

    Are new hard drives and extra RAM expensive?

  7. Altemose macrumors G3


    Mar 26, 2013
    Elkton, Maryland
    New drives and RAM will be under $200 for sure depending on models. The most fun is probably going to be replacing the hard drive. Try Target Disk mode and see what you can do.
  8. PaulJH thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2014
    Thanks Altemose

    The cable should arrive today or tomorrow so will give the Firewire transfer a go.

  9. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 30, 2008
    USA (Virginia)
    I've got a 24" "Early 2008" iMac (note there doesn't seem to be any mid or late 2008 iMacs), and even though Apple specs say it can have a maximum of 4 GB RAM, I found on the 'net that it can actually take 6 GB of RAM (one 2 GB DIMM and one 4 GB DiMM). I've been running that way for a couple of years and it's been great.

    According to everymac.com, all of the 2008 iMacs can utilize 6 GB, so keep this in mind if you upgrade your RAM.

    Also, after running Snow Leopard for a long time, I've been running 10.8.5 Mountain Lion for 5 months and it's been great. I'd recommend it for your machine, too. (Assuming you get it working again.)

    If the problem turns out to be the hard drive itself and you're fairly patient and methodical, it's not too hard to open the iMac and replace the drive. I've done it, and I had no real computer repair skill. There is a great step-by-step guide at ifixit.com.

    Hope you get your data, and hopefully get the machine working again. I think I've got a leftover 2 GB DIMM around here somewhere -- if you're interested in it send me a PM.

    Good luck!

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