iMac HDD clicking

Discussion in 'iMac' started by moey2k2001, Sep 16, 2016.

  1. moey2k2001 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2011
    #1
    Hi there

    My iMac's HDD just started clicking slowly. As I wanted to restart and do a backup it started clicking and now it is not recognisable at all. I cannot restart it in target mode either. I can however start my iMac from external drive obviously and when I do so the HDD is not there at all. I have done some hardware tests and it seems as the HDD is damaged. No Data Rescue Discrecovery Software recognises it either.

    I have never dismantled an iMac before but I am equipped to do so if I have to.

    The only question is, if I replace the PCB will it work again (just so I can at least backup data)??? Any insight please? And if it is not a PCB issue, how and what are some solutions?

    Any help would be much appreciated please.
    Thanks.




    Apple iMac "Core i5" 2.7 27-Inch (Mid-2011) 16GB. 1TB HDD.
    Identifiers: Mid-2011 - MC813LL/A - iMac12,2 - A1312 - 2429
     
  2. Floris macrumors 68020

    Floris

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Location:
    Netherlands
    #2
    HDD click = bad.
    Get a complete backup and keep it up to date.
    It's time for a new hard dr.. a new SSD.
     
  3. moey2k2001 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2011
    #3
    Yeah I figured that its bad. Getting a new iMac soon as soon as cash flows in I guess. But for now I need to rescue a few data and the HDD is not recognised... Means I cannot seem to make it appear anywhere....
     
  4. Floris macrumors 68020

    Floris

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Location:
    Netherlands
    #4
    I hope it stays alive (like mine) until hopefully late October or early November, when we 'expect' new iMacs to be announced. I have been saving up for over a year now to get the money together. Can't wait.
     
  5. moey2k2001 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2011
    #5
    Thanks for your input sorry to say but your input hasn't helped me =(
     
  6. Floris macrumors 68020

    Floris

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Location:
    Netherlands
    #6
    i read back my first response post and it's way too short. I wrote a lot more but it's not there.

    I posted that clicking is the head and probably not the board. And that iFixit might have some tutorials specific for hard drive replacement (but shows in a fantastic manner for Your machine how to open the iMac up and take the hdd out). https://www.ifixit.com/Device/iMac

    I also linked to this: http://www.datarecoverygroup.com/articles/clicking-hard-drive-noise-what-causes-it
    Which has a bit more pro explanations of clicking and what to do and what not to do.

    I don't quite remember the other thing I wrote down.
     
  7. tubeexperience macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2016
    #7
    You don't need a new iMac.

    Just put in an SSD and your iMac will run better than it ever had.
     
  8. Larry-K macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2011
  9. Cineplex macrumors 6502a

    Cineplex

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2016
    #9
    It is not going to be the PCB board. The head has damaged the surface or the surface has otherwise been damaged. The sound you are hearing is the head resetting to the last known location and trying to find the spot it needs to read next, which it can't...repeat about 10 times a second. The head itself could even just be shot. The controllers are never the problem. Even if it were you can very rarely find the correct model and firmware to match. Pick the wrong one and it may just totally render the data useless. Usually the drive just fails if it is a PCB issue. I wouldn't waste any time on that theory.

    What you can try is just connecting the drive to another Mac inside a usb drive case...or put the iMac in target disk mode (if it supports it). In order to read the data you need to avoid the area that causes the problem. It sounds like it may be a file accessed during startup or something that is the issue. You may be able to recover some item if you avoid system files and take items off (copy) one at a time.
     
  10. moey2k2001 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2011
    #10
    Target mode tried. Didn't work.
    What if I find the exact same model and swapped the PCB, would it work? What would I have to look at other than the HDD manufacturer, casing, size, year, etc...?

    It seemed to have worked two days ago... And now suddenly the drive gave up.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 16, 2016 ---
    Mac too old for my usage. Screen is cloudy and has heating issues and Apple never addressed the issue. This issue I addressed in a different post. The screen is basically no good. The best I can literally make out of it is use it for surfing, sell for parts or simply throw it away. The screen is not suitable for watching, editing or working really. So technically it needs a repair.... Just waiting on buying a new one....

    Hence why I just need to recover some of my data... =(
     
  11. Cineplex macrumors 6502a

    Cineplex

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2016
    #11
    The drive would need to be an Apple drive (with the Apple sticker) with the same firmware, exact capacity, exact internal components....so it would need to be from the same lot. People will tell you the Apple specific thing doesnt matter....I worked for Apple in AppleCare and know a lot more details about these things than are known by the general public....IT DOES MATTER.

    The problem is if you can't boot it, you can't verify the firmware. If you were just formatting the drive and didn't care about the data it wouldn't matter. I've had luck sometimes giving it a wack on the side when its clicking...forces it to reinitialize and try again. But sometimes that has gone the opposite direction and endend in total thermonuclear war. So it is risky. Finding a donor drive will be tough.
     
  12. moey2k2001 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2011
    #12
    Thanks so much for your input. How do I go about finding the right drive? What specs do I need exactly?

    How will I be able to get an Apple drive (with the Apple sticker)? with the same firmware?
    Exact capacity shouldn't be a problem I guess as it is 1TB. Exact internal components? Specific please.

    If the readers are damaged, can't I just replace them with different ones? Also, can I not just swap the "disks" into a different case? What would happen if I do so?

    Can you explain to me why would I the "disk" need the firmware? Since I will probably try to read it externally to copy data, wouldn't that work?
     
  13. Cineplex macrumors 6502a

    Cineplex

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2016
    #13
    You will only be able to get the Apple drive from another iMac. Something that was parted out. There is no other way.

    The heads and stack, as it is called, can not be replaced or swapped. If you had a clean room, robots, and precise instruments....maybe. One spec of dust can destroy a head if it hits it the right way. These things have to be just so many microns above the patters. Not possible not matter how hard you try. There is a tiny strand of wire that hovers above the platter like a record player. There is no way you and I could get the aligned.

    The firmware is the software for the hard drive. It contains everything the drive need to function properly. Doesn't matter if it is sitting idle or connected. It is running the drive. Apple likes to use custom firmware and mismatching boards can cause serious problems. 9/10 times you won't have an issue...it is that one time you need to worry about. For example, here is a publicly undocumented Apple thing. The PowerBook G4 (Titanium) had a specific driver and firmware for the hard drive that had issues due to a poor programming. When someone replaced the drive with a third party drive and third party ram, both new devices became damaged and had to be replaced. The code was so poorly written it would leave RAM chips unreadable. The Apple drive and the IDE controller were fine on their own because they both had this glitch. When the 3rd party items came in, the computer assumed they were the same. Bad things happened. This is in the kbase as "don't tell customer, replace both components under warranty even if non-Apple. I must have done at least 100 of these repairs. So you can't really tell what kind of strange things Apple has going on...and they don't document them. If you replace the PCB and the software assumes something is in a certain place, the act of it attempting to correct it could corrupt the drive. In non-Apple labeled drives, these things aren't as big of a deal. Apple drives are really a whole other beast because of Apples unnecessary tinkering. Most are just stock with an Apple specific driver, but some are modified for whatever reason. There were so many hidden kbase articles about hard drive firmware issues it wasn't funny. You take a big risk swapping PCB boards and there really isn't any point because that is 99.9% not the issue with your drive. Once the PCB does something bad to the drive, putting the old one on will not fix it. It is toast.
     
  14. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040

    FreakinEurekan

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    #14
    No, it's shot. How valuable is the data? If it's worth spending hundreds of dollars up front on a "Chance" of recovery, google "Data recovery services". Otherwise just consider it lost & a lesson in why you should have backups.
     
  15. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #15
    "But for now I need to rescue a few data and the HDD is not recognised... Means I cannot seem to make it appear anywhere...."

    Fastest, easiest, cheapest solution:
    Get a USB3 external drive (HDD or SSD), plug it in, and run it as an "external booter" for the time being.
    It won't be as fast booting up as it would if mounted internally, but once up-and-running you won't notice much of a difference.

    And you don't have to open the thing up.

    This will keep you going until the new iMac arrives...
     
  16. moey2k2001 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2011
    #16

    I get what you are saying and according to my research everything you said checks out! BUT... some of these labs and "hobbyists" seem to still have managed to gain knowledge how some things work and manage to still recover data without the need of any lab or expensive "tools"...

    I def. understand the fact that apple has its own **** everywhere. But there has to be a way other than a lab and if I am throwing the drive away. I may as well give it a try...
    --- Post Merged, Sep 17, 2016 ---
    I have been doing that anyways since it failed. As I have a backup but it is due to the fact that the last back up is 8 months old...
    --- Post Merged, Sep 17, 2016 ---

    I mean just a side not. HDDs are so complex but all these "lab recovery" companies seem to be able to recover them. It's not like they are spinning the drives by hand... The tools seem not to be the problem I assume... As complex as it is but they always manage somehow. And if they can do it, so can we...
     
  17. Cineplex macrumors 6502a

    Cineplex

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2016
    #17

    Recovery places usually use specialized software to force the drive to do what they want. The good stuff is big bucks. They can get it to read all the sectors and skip bad ones. Get raw dumps and such. There are ways to get the data....if you have the right tools and skills....and correct parts. This guy here shows you how to do swap all the parts...but even he says not to, and he is a "professional"...granted a professional that want you to buy his services.

    All I am saying here is that to minimize risk you want make sure you are using the same EXACT parts and firmware. This little detail could cost you all your data before the first file is copied. That is my advice as a former AppleCare Tech with more knowledge that most and even the labs on the subject of custom Apple firmware. Sure the labs get data recovered.....but its not 100% and these little details matter.....otherwise it would be closer to 100%.

    Just think it through and maybe test out skills on some non-important eBay junk drives. See if you can even do it. Try to transplant patters from one drive to another. If it fails...better to fail on practice than the drive with your data. Once you screw that drive....its over. But if you really really really need that data....I wouldn't mess with it. If you don't care if you loose it, have at it. There are reasons hard drives are manufactured in strict cleanrooms by robotics and not by nerds on YouTube with the "can do" attitude.

    Would you buy a hard drive from a nerd who made the whole thing in his garage? Would you put your most preciouses data on it? No. Than why would you want your data to be recovered by this same nerd? He might be smart and actually be able to pull it off.....but his chances are like 10-15%. A company that does this all day and has invested in tools and training will have a success rate of 50-80%. A simple piece of dust could destroy your hardware. Is it really worth the risk?
     

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