My HD is dying - what do I do?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by classicaliberal, Apr 11, 2012.

  1. classicaliberal macrumors regular

    classicaliberal

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    #1
    My iMac has been going very slow lately, certain programs lock up bad making it necessary to shut down the computer by physically pressing the power button. I think I've now determined that the internal 750GB HD has some bad sectors or something to that effect.

    I've tried to back up my iPhoto and iMovie libraries, but it always stops backing up in the same spot. I've had success copying things over folder by folder, but that's going to lose all of my folder structures, etc.

    I guess I just need to know what the best path forward from here is. I'm ready to purchase a new machine, but my top priority is to get all of my important family photos/videos off of this machine and to get this iMac fixed so it can be sold at some point.

    Any help in this regard would be much appreciated!
     
  2. SandboxGeneral, Apr 11, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2012

    SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus

    SandboxGeneral

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2010
    Location:
    Detroit
    #2
    If you have access to an IBM-PC, remove the HDD from your iMac and connect it to the IBM-PC, get a copy of Spinrite and run it on the HDD. It is an awesome HDD repair & maintenance tool which I use frequently to save HDD's and keep others running well.

    Also, make sure you have current backups in Time Machine or other backup software in case you need to do a restore ever.

    These are images of the HDD from my old MacBook Pro inside a Dell PC with Spinrite running on it.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  3. jjhoekstra macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2009
    #3
    Before moving your hdd to a PC, why not try the Disk Utility to check the disk. It will find bad sectors etc and can repair most problems.
     
  4. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #4
    Spinrite's a great program, but when I bought a copy (years ago) it was quite expensive. I think the OP might do better to spend the money on a Mac-centered recovery program such as Data Rescue III or Disk Warrior.

    The OP says he's ready to buy a new machine. Given that, I'd suggest removing his current disk and installing it in an external drive case and then using a Disk Warrior or Data Rescue to recover the data from the external (=old internal) and put in on the internal in the new machine.

    Then toss the old disk, install a new drive in the external, and use that setup for Time Machine.

    If the OP doesn't want to get involved in opening up the iMac, then leave it alone, get a new machine, install one of the data recovery programs on the new machine, connect the old iMac to the new one via Firewire, start the old one up in Target Disk mode, and do the extraction/recovery that way.

    Then worry about getting into the old iMac and replacing the drive (or finding a way to zero the drive out and then sell it "as is.")
     
  5. wessew macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    #5
    I would recommend trying Disk Utility first to repair the disk. You will need to start from another drive or from a startup disk. Second, I would try a program called Disk Warrior. It does an excellent job safely repairing directory structure damage. Every time you have to manually shut down the computer you potentially damage your disk structure. You may still need to replace the drive, but following these suggestions may enable you to at least recover the data.

    ----------

    Finally it is always best practice to maintain backups to your primary drive. I would suggest Time Machine to enable you to recover individual files and folders and to review versions and a backup program (I use SuperDuper!) to clone your hard drive on a regular basis. This way you can use your clone to startup your machine in the event of trouble and not miss a beat...
     
  6. Dweez macrumors 65816

    Dweez

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2011
    Location:
    Down by the river
    #6
    1) backup your data (as best you can)
    2) replace the drive
    3) restore your data
    4) carry on
     
  7. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    Isla Nublar
    #7
    This.

    Its what I'm doing after a fiasco this morning. Although my drive is repaired I don't trust it and since I'm out of backup 2TB drives I'll order one and once it arrives, swap it out.
     
  8. classicaliberal thread starter macrumors regular

    classicaliberal

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    #8
    Yes, I don't have access to a PC, so I think that's a solution I wouldn't choose first.

    I have run Disk Utility, it always 'fixes' something, but apparently not enough because the problem still exists. It's hard to run almost anything at this point.


    How hard is it to remove the internal iMac drive? I've never done it before, and don't have much experience with such things... but do learn quickly and am pretty 'handy' generally. I wouldn't be afraid to try.

    My top priority is making sure I don't lose anything in the transition as I have a lot of family photos/videos, etc. which would be devastating to lose.

    Am I understanding you correctly that you run Disk Warrior on the NEW machine instead of the old one? I figured that the opposite way around.


    Just dragging and dropping folders? That's the simplest way, but the problem with this is that while I've been able to drag adn drop my photos/videos to another HD, I haven't been able to move the database files... so my file structures insider of iMovie and iPhoto will be lost. I'm trying to find a way to keep those?
     
  9. All Taken macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #9
    If you have a recent iMac my most excellent guide in my sig might be of help.

    Almost at 60,000 views :eek:

    You could hook up your new drive externally or to the internal SATA with the old drive connected. Boot into OSX and use Carbon Copy Cloner to clone the old drive to the new one. Drop the new drive into the old drives slot and put it all back together. 1 hour job at most for the beginner.

    Good luck.
     
  10. classicaliberal thread starter macrumors regular

    classicaliberal

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    #10
    Cool stuff.
    Carbon Copy Cloner is no longer working for me... it gets about half way through then stops copying files all together resulting in me doing a cold shut down. :(
     
  11. All Taken macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #11
    Okay well new install on the new drive, then use migration assistant to take all of your stuff across to the new one.
     
  12. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #12
    "How hard is it to remove the internal iMac drive? I've never done it before, and don't have much experience with such things... but do learn quickly and am pretty 'handy' generally. I wouldn't be afraid to try.
    My top priority is making sure I don't lose anything in the transition as I have a lot of family photos/videos, etc. which would be devastating to lose."

    Suggestions follow.

    First, spend the kingly sum of $20-25 and get one of these gadgets:
    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias=aps&field-keywords=usb+sata+dock&x=0&y=0
    (many items shown, they all work the same, just pick one you like that's cheap)
    A USB/SATA dock will become one of your most valued peripherals "in the drawer".

    Next, get a "bare" SATA hard drive. Either buy a new one from the vendor of your choice, or perhaps you can even scrounge up a used one.

    It would also help to get ahold of the free CarbonCopyCloner app. If you don't already have it, download it from here:
    http://www.bombich.com

    Once you have the dock and drive, put the drive into the dock, plug it in, initialize it with Disk Utility.

    From this point, you can go one of two ways:
    First way: install a fresh copy of the OS on the docked drive, create a new account (suggest you use the same username and password), then begin "migrating" data from the internal drive to the docked drive.
    You can boot from the dock, so, if you suspect your internal drive is failing, start booting from the docked drive as your primary boot drive, and "let the internal be" as you work to recover files from it.
    Second way: once you get the docked drive initialized, you might be able to use CarbonCopyCloner to "clone" the contents of the internal drive to the docked drive. Worth a try. If it works, you will have pretty much an exact copy of the old drive on the new one. You can then attempt to re-initialize the internal, correct directory damage, etc. Or, if it looks to be a hardware failure, just "let it be" -- your Mac will run as good from an external drive as from the internal (boot times -will- be slower via USB, though).
     
  13. All Taken macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #13
    Don't do this, it will be a pain. Create a different username and password and then use that account to migrate the old one. Once done delete the newly created account.

    If you use the same credentials you have issues.
     
  14. onthecouchagain macrumors 604

    onthecouchagain

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
  15. classicaliberal thread starter macrumors regular

    classicaliberal

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    #15
    Early 2008 Core2Duo 24" w/ 4GB RAM and 750GB 7200 SerialATA HD

    ----------

    This looks like it could be a good option for me... a few questions:
    1) What is your response to All Taken's suggestion of using new credentials?
    2) I reported earlier that Carbon Copy is not working because it's getting hung up on some files then stops completely resulting in a cold restart. Do you expect more luck with the 'migration tool?'
    3) Would adding a Disk Warrior type solution to this increase my changes of salvaging the iPhoto and iMovie database files?
    4) Where's a good place to buy a Hard Drive that's compatible with my specific iMac? Anything I should watch out for?
    5) Does anyone else see any problems with this method?
     
  16. All Taken macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #16
    You can use any SATA hard drive, the credential comment is true, it will state that it needs to change the name of the account as they both match (old and new) thus it will ask you to rename it so they don't match, just make your new user name something like test and you can import your old one without issue.
     
  17. classicaliberal thread starter macrumors regular

    classicaliberal

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    #17
    Can someone please speak to the value of Disk Warrior, with it does or doesn't do? Whether it makes sense for my purposes? Thank you.


    Here are the supplies I'm planning on getting:
    Bare Hard Drive:
    http://www.amazon.com/Western-Digit...4?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1334254624&sr=1-4

    External Dock:
    http://www.amazon.com/StarTech-com-...BPYM/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1334254888&sr=8-4

    Suction Cups:
    http://www.amazon.com/Heavy-Duty-Suction-Screen-Repair/dp/B003FVVD70

    Screwdrivers:
    http://www.amazon.com/Silverhill-Pi...1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1334255127&sr=1-1-catcorr


    Is there anything else I'll need? Or anything here I don't need?
    I'm assuming there's no problem going from a 750gb HD to a 2TB HD?
     
  18. srxtr macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2010
    #18
    Take it to the hospital.

    Sorry, I couldn't help myself...
     
  19. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    #19
    Time Machine seems to copy every file that can be copied, skipping problem files. If directories are damaged that would be not very good.
     
  20. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #20
    There are disk replacement guides out there. I've done it, and on the same model you have. It wasn't too difficult, but then I've had my hands in a lot of computers over the years. I'm not saying it's easy; it's not.

    I'd suggest you try Data Rescue III first, and only try Disk Warrior if DR III can't recover what you want. The reason is that you can get a free trial of DR III, and in that way learn whether you've got a shot at recovering your data or not. In trial mode, it will show what you can recover, but only let you recover a few hundred megabytes of it. If you like what you're seeing, then you pay and you can access everything that it's recovered.

    There's no DW trial that I know of. DR III is typically run from another machine.

    It's not rare that one recovery app works and the other doesn't, but to me it makes sense to try the one with a trial first.

    Those tools are fine, assuming that "star" = Torx. The fancy suction cups are also fine, but I use $1.99 ones from Home Depot.

    The dock is also fine, but there are more flexible tools, like this one:

    http://www.amazon.com/Vantec-CB-ISA...7?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1334271155&sr=1-7

    Other manufacturers make them. The advantage of these is that you can connect to 50-pin PATA drive if you need to -- for example, you can make a quick-and-dirty external DVD drive if you have an old PATA drive. I always keep one like the Vantec around, not least because you can hook it to a drive that's still in a computer, power it up without turning on the computer, and work with that drive via a laptop. Yeah, they refer to these kits as "forensic," and I suppose that's accurate. But what the likes of us can do is get at a drive in a busted computer, say one that won't power up and you don't feel like extracting the drive, etc. Very handy.
     
  21. JCox macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2011
    #21
    SuperDuper?

    You may also try using SuperDuper to clone your disk. Although it will probably work as well/as bad as Carbon Copy. (I'll probably get slammed by the Carbon Copy guys) Use the free version to see if it will work and after copying to the new drive, swap into your iMac. (Then go back and pay for the software.) I always check out YouTube to see if there is a video to follow for the specific version of Mac that I am working on.
     
  22. classicaliberal, Apr 12, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2012

    classicaliberal thread starter macrumors regular

    classicaliberal

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    #22
    To make matters more confusing, when I run Disk Utility 'disk verify' or 'disk repair' they report that nothing is wrong!?!?

    ...
    Verifying volume “HD”
    Checking file systemPerforming live verification.
    Checking Journaled HFS Plus volume.
    Checking extents overflow file.
    Checking catalog file.
    Checking multi-linked files.
    Checking catalog hierarchy.
    Checking extended attributes file.
    Checking volume bitmap.
    Checking volume information.
    The volume HD appears to be OK.


    Also, spotlight seems to be 'indexing' very often.... That would indicate HD problems, right?
     
  23. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #23
    It can pass those tests and yet be bad at a lower level.

    If you've already ordered that stuff from Amazon (and/or ordered a new Mac) then I suggest using the old iMac as little as possible, and not trying to move your data. Let it be until one recovery app or the other gets to work on it.

    If you aren't going to get a new Mac, then some of the procedures might not work. For example, if your disk's bad, then CCC or SuperDuper! won't be able to clone it.

    If you're in that situation, then crack the iMac case, out with the old drive and in with the new, then do a fresh install of whatever you're running (Snow Leopard?) onto the new disk.

    When all that's up and running, then put the old drive in the dock or other housing, and get working on the recovery.
     
  24. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #24
    "If you use the same credentials you have issues."

    I've done this for years -- NO issues.

    I even have multiple-partitioned drives, with different versions of the OS on the same drive (different partitions), "cross-boot" back and forth. Again, NO issues.

    That's my experience.
    Yours may be different.
     
  25. classicaliberal thread starter macrumors regular

    classicaliberal

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    #25
    Thanks for the post. I haven't ordered anything yet.
    So when running 'recovery' I'm assuming you mean with Disk Warror or DRIII? Do you always run these with the new HD installed and you're recovering off of the old internal which is now docked? You never run those programs just on the old internal while it's still in the machine? You need a new HD to run those programs?
     

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