Suddenly... I'm afraid to turn my computer on...

Discussion in 'iMac' started by DieBeachballDie, Jan 29, 2015.

  1. DieBeachballDie macrumors member

    Jan 29, 2015
    Okay, so some time ago i pulled the trigger on a brand new iMac, had it custom made with as many upgrades as i could afford. I bought a Mac because i have NO patience for stuff that doesn't work,. and i'm no computer expert (and realistically, to busy to ever become one). I wanted something i could plug in, and use and forget about it.

    So, fast forward a few years, the thing's bogging down, bugging up (spent way too much time on spammy forums - one a particularly bad one i was admin on, and before that, Limewire). So, time to clean it out i figure, ask around, look it up (like i said, plug it in, forget)... and uh... hello... the damn thing is almost NINE years old. Hah! Ooops.

    Hmmm... that might explain a few things.

    Anyways, suddenly i've gone from 'how do i clean this thing up, back up the HD, fix the monitor (spiderweb lower right corner) and install/run another monitor for more screen space'... to Damn... i think i need a new computer. Hell... i need a new keyboard and my mouse is held together with tape.

    As you can tell from my username... i'm not big on patience for electronics (stuff i know nothing about). I happen to have a LOT of important stuff on my HD, not the least of which is a massive cache of irreplaceable creative writing, about 10000 songs, and probably enough pictures to fill the rest of my HD (many also irreplaceable). After talking to a few computer guys today on my options, i'm suddenly VERY paranoid about my ancient (original) hard drive. Worse... the thing's taken a few knocks in its time too... getting moved from room to room, to the shop and back, etc. I'm on the thing an average of 4-6 hours a day, every day. Often a lot longer, and often when i'm not 'using' it, i keep it on for music.

    The question: Obviously, a new rig is in order, apparently VERY quickly, not that i can afford it. I need to back up this stuff quickly, cheaply and easily. How is this best done? Obviously, i dont want to spend any money on this old computer. At this point i'd be happy just keeping my stuff safe until i can get a new computer.

    Far as i can remember its the very first Intel Imac, 20" duo core 2g, 265gb(?), both ram and HD were upgraded. Its still on the 10.4.11 too. Until the past couple years, its been a great machine, and after spending all night reading about Macs its suddenly no surprise why its not working well. Hell... there might not even be anything wrong with it, might just be old...

    So, suggestions? Am i right to be paranoid? Should i run out and buy a lottery ticket...???
  2. dXTC, Jan 29, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015

    dXTC macrumors 68020


    Oct 30, 2006
    Up, up in my studio, studio
    Had you upgraded to Leopard or Snow Leopard before now, you could have used Time Machine. Since it's still on Tiger 10.4, that's out of the question, and you don't want to risk losing your data in an upgrade that might stop halfway through due to hardware failure.

    Get a 1 TB USB drive and start moving your data offline now. Start with the truly irreplaceable stuff first-- your creative writing, then your photos. Follow up with your music and other miscellaneous files. If you have applications that required registration/"key" files, save those files too so you can reinstall without problem later. No need to fiddle with those backup programs that hard drive manufacturers bundle with their drives-- just drag those folders over wholesale.

    External 1 TB drives are rather cheap these days ($60 to $70 USD). I've even seen several 2 TB external drives for less than $100 on Newegg; however, this might be overkill for your older model.

    If you want to do a clean OS install, you should be able to do so after copying your files and application installs (you did keep the install discs, didn't you?).
  3. Quijano187 macrumors member

    Jan 14, 2015
    Get a ssd to replace your old Hd and max out the ram. Fresh instal of newest OS X. Enjoy.
  4. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    After you get everything backed up, you'll want to install Leopard (10.5). That's the newest version of OS X that has "time machine". It's not going to be much more resource intensive than 10.4 (Tiger) was, but it'll let you back up your entire mac, without worry. And when you do finally get a new mac, you can simply take that external drive to an Apple store and they'll help you set up your new mac up with your backup.

    Don't install anything past 10.6 "Snow Leopard", as after that point you'll need more RAM in order to use your computer with any amount of "zippiness" (that's a technical term :p).

    Also, make sure you keep your external drive plugged in. My dad has a "backup", but 90% of the time when I visit him, I find that he unplugged the drive to plug something else in, and his "backups" are months old. :eek:
  5. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    1. Get a USB3 external drive, 2tb would be a good-enough size. Your iMac only has USB2 (I think), but USB3 is backward-compatible.

    2. Download CarbonCopyCloner from:
    CCC is FREE to download and FREE to use for 30 days.

    3. Plug in the external drive and use CCC to make a copy (a "clone") of your internal drive to the external drive.

    Now, you will be backed up with a "bootable clone" -- you can boot the Mac from the external drive (as well as from the internal one).

    I, too, have a "white Intel iMac", that's still doing ok after 8 years.
    But perhaps it's time to start looking for something new, or at least "newer" (such as an Apple-refurb?)...
  6. JustMartin macrumors 6502a

    Feb 28, 2012
    You didn't read that the OP was not a computer expert and had no desire to be one?

    Seriously, get an external drive as others have suggested and copy your stuff onto it. Don't delay on that for pity's sake. Otherwise you could be spending a lot more money on some disk rescue service to get back a fraction of what's there at the moment.

    Actually, I don't know if I would be frightened about turning it on, I would probably worry about turning it off until you have stuff safely backed up.

    So, stop reading this, go out and get an external disk drive
  7. DieBeachballDie thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 29, 2015
    Cool replies. Thanks.

    I'd LIKE to become an expert, but right now (and pretty much always), others things are more pressing. I'm learning though...

    I want to stress right now, i AM buying a new computer ASAP. The second i find one i can afford really. I've always been obsessed with the massive high def monitors and resolution... i like to have a lot of stuff on the go at once. So i'll be getting a 27" IMac, as new as possible. Was sold on any 27" iMac until i started comparing models, and now i want a 2012 minimum, and of course now i read that the 2013's are even better... History tells me i dont need a super hotrod, but as you can see, getting something that ages well is a pretty smart move. The newer 27" the better (dont want the mid-2014 27" iMac though).

    Two options i have are the refurb 2013 for $1650, or this used 2013 3.5 27" i7 some local guy is selling for $1200... though the deal seems a tad sketchy.

    Anyways, external harddrive, 1TB. Is that something i can use with my new rig too? If it is, i'd get a better one, but anything i spend my money on now will take away from what i can spend on new. Do i NEED a good lone? or will the cheapest model do? I'm guessing they dont make sticks that big...

    I want to be clear here i'm NOT interested in fixing/upgrading my current 2006 iMac... no point. And after drooling over new stuff the last 2 days, definitely not going to happen. I just need my stuff off it, and then i'll keep it in the shop and use it for a stereo.
  8. Apple fanboy macrumors Nehalem

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    Yes you can use the 1TB external HD with your newer machine (whatever you buy tbh). As someone else said, buy a USB3 as it will be quicker to use on your new machine, as just about every Mac from late 2012 onwards ships with usb3. It won't make transferring your stuff onto it though with your old machine.

    Also whatever you buy, you should always have a back up plan. Ideally more than one is better.
  9. DieBeachballDie thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 29, 2015
    One more quickie, i just checked and all my really important stuff (the writing that cannot be replaced) is maybe 3-4mb total... thought it'd be more, there's a 1500 page novel on there. 37gb music total. Could i not use use a stick for now? I have a 32gb one handy and probably another 16gb one kicking around somewhere. The pictures likely need more, but i do have those backed up still on the actual camera's stick (somewhere). Sticks are cheap, or free...

    That easy?

    Like i said, just learning here. The new rigs gonna cost me large, and i'd like to get the best i can, so even saving $100 on a external drive would help.
  10. JustMartin macrumors 6502a

    Feb 28, 2012
  11. DieBeachballDie thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 29, 2015
    Alrighty then.

    I found a 32gb stick kicking around (a Lexar, brand new even, NO idea why i even have it/where it came from), and i've spent the last four hours trashing every single doc/picture/whatever i dont want, and now i'm putting at least the pics, documents and text on the stick. Unfortunately its not big enough for the music... which i cant get under 39gb, so i'm kind of annoyed i'm going to have to buy a bigger stick for just that. I'll buy another much smaller stick tomorrow to double back-up at least my writing, so i feel better now.

    I'm still at a loss as to where all my HD space went though. It says 232gb is used, yet, with everything i've personally put onto the computer since i've owned it, i'm nowhere near that. Maybe 50gb max? Huh... would have thought i'd have used more space than that over the years. No matter.

    Man that sucker sure takes a while to load up. Going on over an hour so far.
  12. Fishrrman, Jan 30, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2015

    Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    [[ Two options i have are the refurb 2013 for $1650, or this used 2013 3.5 27" i7 some local guy is selling for $1200... though the deal seems a tad sketchy.]]

    If the price looks too good to be true..... (you know the rest).

    You come across as someone who is not that "computer knowledgeable" and doesn't seem interested in becoming moreso.
    In that case, the WORST THING you can do is buy a computer that comes without a warranty and that you're unsure about. I see problems ahead if you do.

    OP also wrote:
    [[ One more quickie, i just checked and all my really important stuff (the writing that cannot be replaced) is maybe 3-4mb total... thought it'd be more, there's a 1500 page novel on there. 37gb music total. Could i not use use a stick for now? ]]

    Really important stuff?
    And you DON"T HAVE A BACKUP?
    How would you like to LOSE all that stuff you have?
    Better do some learnin' fast, my man.

    I suggest you:
    1. Start looking for a Mac from a REPUTABLE source, and
    2. Once you have it, get your stuff BACKED UP onto an external drive, as well.

    Don't wait, get that internal drive backed up NOW.
  13. Astelith macrumors regular

    Oct 10, 2014
    Think about your data like it was just "kidnapped", how much are you willing to pay to have it back ?

    If after this scary scenario the answer is somewhere between 400 bucks and "a lot", think about a backup unit, but a real one, not a usb stick, a usb hard drive or something not redundant, I mean a NAS with two disk in Raid 1 to attach via network and to put all your data and time machine backups.

    I would never and never leave important data in something that may break and get lost forever, the Nas option is not cheap but for sure is the best way to store, access and share (if needed at home) your files.

    If you need an advice on this feel free to ask.
  14. DieBeachballDie thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 29, 2015
    Why is it redundant? (serious question) Its just a VERY temporary measure, as i just do not have money to waste on anything that is not a new rig right now. They're just too damn expensive.

    I now have the irreplaceable stuff double backed up now on two sticks. Better'n nothing i guess. It really was just the text and a couple smaller folders of pictures i couldn't replace, all the rest i have elsewhere as well, or can re-download if need be.

    After i buy my new computer and know what i can spare, i'll get an external ASAP.
  15. MacNerd1239 macrumors member

    Oct 21, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Definitely now that you've gotten your irreplaceable things duplicated multiple times, you should be good (as a temporary solution.)

    With your level of technical skill and the lifetime you expect out of your replacement machine it may be worth your while to purchase direct from Apple, either new or Refurb, and make sure to get AppleCare.

    I know that's just another $200 or so ontop of your budget but in the long run it usually pays for itself in the first three years.

    Parts are DAMN expensive on those things, it's worth it for free tech support alone even if you never have to use it for parts from an Apple Store.

    Good luck, the community here is always willing to help you.
  16. DieBeachballDie thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 29, 2015
    My refurb 27" iMac should be here Wednesday. Didn't get Applecare, not in the budget, but i have a year to find the cash for that. I have two computer friends that are adamant i dont need it, and i didn't get it first time around (9 years, NO issues)... plus... it seems like most issues are solvable with some online help from places like this, but i dunno... i still might pick it up.

    Anyways, cant wait. Very excited. Been a DECADE since i had a new computer, and i'm finally getting that massive high-res screen i wanted when i bought my 20" 9 years ago. At my first opportunity... i'm gonna get a second 27" to sit right beside it.
  17. phpmaven macrumors 68040


    Jun 12, 2009
    San Clemente, CA USA
    You need to view AppleCare like insurance. We all pay for insurance and often we never make a claim, but it gives us peace of mind if we have a major problem. I had AC on a 2008 MacPro and never used it (best computer I've ever owned), but on my 2011 MacBook Pro, I had the logic board replaced.

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16 January 29, 2015