iMac early 2009 troubles...Is it time for a new one?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by rhaeny, Sep 29, 2013.

  1. rhaeny macrumors newbie


    Apr 28, 2011
    I have a early 2009 iMac, 24inch display, 640 gig HD, 8G ram, 2.66 GHz intel core 2 duo running on Lion. And in the last few months it has been freezing up, spinning beach ball is a constant visitor, and the display gradually has been getting streaks in the upper mid to left section (looks like swirls) of the screen. Since I am relatively new to Mac's, I have followed some of the basic advice such as repairing permissions and repairing the disk. I have also used Onyx to check the disk and it says it's ok.

    My usage of it is surfing the net, email, running microsoft office and other basic applications. I do have parallels installed and whenever I launch it, the computer is so slow that it has driven me to drink. Even after I quit parallels the only way to get the memory back is to restart it. I know because when I check the activity monitor it has very little ram available.

    So my question is, should I try to upgrade this machine with more ram and maybe another hard drive or should I just sell it and buy a new one? I am totally mac'd out right now with my iMac, MBP, iPhone and iPad. So when I made the switch 2 years ago I went all out.

    But the slowness of this computer is driving me nuts. Also sometimes my MBP slows down as well. I'm wondering is it time to do a fresh install on it. It's a 15 inch early 2011, 2 GHz intel core i7, 8G ram and 500g HD running Lion also. I mean its nothing like the iMac in slowness but I have noticed that it has slowed down from when I first got it.

    Any advice is welcome. Thank you.
  2. stiligFox macrumors 65816


    Apr 24, 2009
    I would first and foremost do a fresh install of OS X on your iMac, and set it up as a new Mac, do not copy over your old files and settings. Just bring back your old personal files manually. It will take time to re-setup you Mac, but it fixes 95% of all issues and speed reductions for me.


    Also, RAM wise you should be good, I have a Mac with 4GB C2D and it's running awesome still. You may also want to upgrade (if you can) to Mountian Lion, it smoothed out a lot of Lions bugs.

    Another option would be to downgrade to Snow Leopard, which may also speed things up if you don't need Lion for any particular reason.
  3. rhaeny thread starter macrumors newbie


    Apr 28, 2011
    I am running OS X 10.8.5 on both machines. Is that Lion or Mountain Lion (honestly didn't know the difference LOL!). Okay I will do a fresh install. Is there any instructions for a person who is OS X challenged?

    Also when you say to not copy over my files and settings and to just do it manually, I assume you mean make a backup first right? I have time capsule activated so is that good enough or do I need to move the files over to my backup drive? And then how do I move them manually? But dragging them from the backup to the iMac? Sorry if I'm asking stupid questions, but I want to make sure that I follow you perfectly.

    How do reinstall all of my applications? I remember that most of them had .dmg file but I think I deleted them after I installed the programs.
  4. stiligFox macrumors 65816


    Apr 24, 2009
    First thing I will say -- I've done this so many times, it's almost second nature and a bit hard to describe! But this is the general order I do things when I do my system rebuilds:
    (Oh and 10.8.5 is Mountain Lion)
    1) make a backup with time machine invade something goes wrong
    2) copy any and all of my personal files that I want to save to either a fold on my backup drive, or a seperate hard drive. (These are the files we'll copy back later)
    3) reinstall OS X by following this:
    4) when setting up your Mac, it'll ask you if you want to restore your files from a backup or set up as a new Mac. Say set up as new Mac. When you're done, copy all of your personal files from the folder/external drive back towhere they belong.
    5) reinstall your apps.

    5 is the trickiest if you don't have access to the installation media for your apps. I would start by making a list of all the apps you have, and making sure you have a way of reinstalling them before attempting to rebuild your Mac.

    Maybe there is someone here who can clarify my instructions? I know it sounds a bit complicated but it's easier once you've actually done it.

    Another option would be to go to the Apple Store, one of the Geniuses may be able to walk you through it as well.
  5. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    That sounds more like a serious hardware problem and a reinstall of OS X is not going to fix it.

    Try running the Apple Hardware Test and see if that shows anything.

    At this point I think your options are going to be taking it to an Apple repair center to get an estimate for the hardware repair, or sell it for what you can (disclosing the flaw) and springing for a new machine.
  6. gavinstubbs09 macrumors 65816


    Feb 17, 2013
    NorCal boonies ~~~by Reno sorta
    Sounds like a beastly machine. Like it was mentioned above I would run the diagnostics to see what's up. I don't think a new iMac would make much of a difference for what you described.
  7. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    Based on the display issue,, it's probably time to just buy a new iMac. However, you could take it in and get an estimate for repair.

    A new iMac (or even an Apple refurbished late 2012) will run rings around your iMac.

    One question? How much RAM do you have your viurtual machine in parallels set to take? If it's more than 4GB definitely scale it back to 4. And you may even want to consider 2or 3GB depending on what you use Windows for.
  8. rhaeny thread starter macrumors newbie


    Apr 28, 2011
    Okay so I went to youtube and there are quite a few videos showing how to do this. Whewww! I'm glad that I found them because even tho it appears easy to do, there are some specific actions to take. So thanks for the heads up because I know I can do this. BTW, my time machine was not working for at least a year. I didn't even realize that it wasn't working even though I thought I had it hooked up.

    The last backup was in Oct 2011 so I'm just erasing the entire drive and starting over. It's a Fantom 2TB drive and utility disk says it will be 14 hours :eek:!

    Yea I was thinking about selling it and I would definitely disclose the foggy screen. I would lose my mind if someone sold me something with a flaw like this. I am attaching some pics so you can see it.

    I was thinking along those lines as well. But I do have butterflies thinking about a brand new one. But I have to make sure that forking out over $2K is needed right now or if I can just fix this one.

    Whatever the repair is I believe will be too much to invest. I could be wrong but from what I've read, anything dealing with replacing the glass was ghastly expensive.

    As for my ram, I believe I have it set at 3GB when I run parallels. I have tried 2GB as well and it just barely moves. So once I do a fresh install I am going to try it with bootcamp instead. I know that I will have to restart on each instance, but I only have to use it occasionally like once a week.

    Here are some pics of my monitor:

  9. stiligFox, Sep 30, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2013

    stiligFox macrumors 65816


    Apr 24, 2009
    Weird, it almost looks like a heat burn... Or like there's something applying pressure from the backside? I must say, at this point it's out of my realm of knowledge!

    Also, glad I could help, if for nothing to get your backups going again ^_^ I've rebuilt my Macs so many times that, like I said, it's really second nature, and I tend to take that for granted... I can do the whole thing in around 3-4 hours.
  10. rhaeny thread starter macrumors newbie


    Apr 28, 2011
    Well I did a clean install and BOY!!!! did this make a difference in performance (Thanks to stiligFox for the recommendation). It boots up quick, applications launch without hanging up, the rainbow wheel of death seems to have disappeared and I am having an overall great experience with it.

    I have had some hiccups but was able to search and get them quickly fixed. Oh and I had so many applications that I didn't use so I only loaded a few applications that I use on a regular basis. I believe that having so many apps probably resulted in the degrade of performance coupled with all of the upgrades. The only software that I didn't install was iWorks 09 because I can't find my discs. Hope I don't have to buy it again. But if I can do the clean install anybody can :eek:.

    Now I'm just waiting on my screen replacement and I think I'll be set for awhile before I will need to buy another iMac :D.

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