Using iMac in the business and broken HDD?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by enigma2k, Jun 16, 2011.

  1. enigma2k macrumors regular

    May 12, 2010

    I am considering using iMacs in the business and I am wondering what happens if the HDD crashes?
    I mean just sending the whole machine to Apple in order to repair it is not an option because of the "secret" company data on the HDD and if you just pull the disk out before sending it in would surely piss Apple off and may avoid the warranty. (and furthermore they won't be able to verify the error without the HDD)
  2. KasperH macrumors regular


    May 26, 2011
  3. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Looks like buying a Mac for your business isn't an option, then.

    No, it does not. Applecare is a consumer-level warranty - they expect you to come to them for help.
  4. OllyW, Jun 16, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2011

    OllyW Moderator


    Staff Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    The Black Country, England
    The hard drive in the iMac is difficult to replace, you need to remove the screen to gain access, which is why you need to return the whole machine to Apple.

    The Mac Pro may be a better choice because it's hard drives are very easy to replace.

    If you check it says...

  5. Kasalic macrumors regular

    Jan 20, 2011
    Does your business not use a Server?

    We run three iMac's and a MacBook Pro and any user can log into any machine and access their own files and the shared drive as well as email/calendaring etc. So if one iMac needs replacing/repairing we can do so with minimum interruption.
  6. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Yes, it does say that. It also says,

    However, in the DC Metro area I have tried multiple times to get "onsite service" and have been denied every time. If it doesn't happen in Washington DC, where is onsite service available? Has anyone actually ever gotten onsite service from Apple under Applecare?
  7. Spike88 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2010
    Instead of dealing with AppleCare (which is created for retail customers - not for business clients), I'd engage a few local computer stores and ask about their Computer Configuration Recommendations and about their Computer Support Services. Based on the uniqueness of your business (and its secrets one must hide), they could recommend certain configurations. For example, dedicated File Server, Some Network Drives off a simple File Server and/or even some external drives. For example, one keeps their APPS on the iMac's internal HDD and their data files on the external HDD. If that iMac blows up, one simply disconnects that external HDD and re-connects to a different iMac box. And, back into production. Or, it one keeps their files on a File Server, even better. If hiring a specialized computer "support" company, they could also have available iMac spares (to provide emergency loans in 2 hours) or other unique support - that is only unique to your critical business.

    Remember that manufacture warranty programs (like AppleCare or Dell - if using a Win PC box) only focuses on individual machines. And, only their H/W item. They fail to understand the large picture (multiple machines connected together) and the unique needs of each business.

    Something to keep in mind...
  8. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009
    Keep all of your "secret" company data on an external drive.

    If the drive crashed and cant be repaired, then the only person that could get it off would be a specialized drive recovery company.

    If Im John Doe working at an Apple repair place, and your iMac comes in with a dead drive -- and I run my software on it and it fails -- Im just going to slap a new drive in it and be on my way.
  9. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    This is really important - don't trust your secret data to an internal HDD. Put it on an external and use RAID or mirroring to save the external HDD data.

    No smart company depends on a single point of failure for important business data.
  10. ccprstuff macrumors newbie

    Nov 6, 2008
    Austin TX
    I am considering the Mac Pro instead of the IMac for this very reason. Five minutes, or less, and you can remove the hard drive and replace it with another.

    I have about a half-dozen ancient Macs and PCs in my garage waiting for me to take the time to figure out how to remove the HDs before carting the units off to Goodwill. Would not want any private biz and personal info stored on any resurrected dead HDs getting out.

    I really, really want two of the 2011 IMacs for to replace my 11-year old PPC towers. But, the HDD removal issue, at this point, is tipping my choice to the MP. We're a two-person setup, each with his own identical computer, and we have no need for a server.

    I also like the idea that the MP has lots bays for HDs, and I would also ensure that I have sufficient redundant external backup options, including daily off-site rotation. The MP forum on this site has lots of great info, including one option for taking a rather inexpensive Apple refurb and, for not much money greatly increasing its performance.

    I'm going to wait until the next major refresh of the MP, rumored to be coming next November/December or January, to make a final decision, though.

    If the IMac had an easy-to-remove HD option, I would have two of them in my office right now.
  11. likegadgets macrumors 6502

    Jul 22, 2008
    My previous iMac - a 24" 2008, needed the screen replaced and a few months later the hard drive. I had confidential business files and could not send the machine. Both times Applecare arranged for service in my home by an authorized service. When the drive completely died, at first they said I must return the replaced drive to the technician. I explained that my company would rather pay for the new drive but we needed to destroy the dead drive, Applecare waived the return.

    It may be because we purchase Mac equipment from local Applestores via the business departments, but because they handled the repairs as we needed on site on that 24", we have since purchased several new iMacs - none have failed.
  12. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009
    I dont understand some of this logic -- its like people here think drives die every 3 months on a regular basis and its a really common thing?

    Drives *rarely* die. Sure, I have had 1 or 2 die in the past 15 or so years -- but one was 10+ years ago (a big ass 40 gig drive!) and recently I had a 750 gig WD Black give up after 3 months. But Im staring at a stack of 9 bare drives on my shelf -- from 80 gigs to 640 gigs -- that are all perfect. That doesnt include the 7 drives floating around the studio in iMacs, Macbooks, and used *daily* as backups and storage drives.

    Theres a lot of paranoia here for no reason. Does everyone here work for the CIA?

    ccpr -- 11 year old towers? *How many times* have you replaced the drives in them? think of all the time and money you could have made/saved with faster machines. More money than you think I bet. And you need MP towers for the work that you do? Sheesh, if it can be done on a 11 year old PPC tower, then get a mini. Get 5 of them in case on breaks. Cheaper than one MP tower.

    And those "ancient" ones in the garage? means they probably have 1 GB SCSI drives even? And how many of those drives still work years later? What kind person is going to troll goodwill looking for some old PC to hack into (and that takes some skill and TIME) in the odd chance they might be able to find your address from 10 years ago? sheesh.

    And you dont need a server, but if your work/personal files are *that* sensitive then you should have all of your data stored externally. You should already have a redundant external backup option! Someone could just walk in and snag your tower, no matter how many drives are in it.

    In general Im really finding the whole "I cant remove the drive" thing a tired excuse. Its like some of you have never heard of external cloned drives and/or have watched too many episodes of CSI and see how some stalker automagically gets the data off your computer and then comes and kills you.
  13. brucku macrumors regular

    Jun 19, 2003
    Why don't you just engage Mac OS's data encryption settings.

    This would allow you to know without a doubt that even if your hard drive crashes, and a rogue technician rebuilds it on his free time (unlikely) - even then without your encryption key he won't be able to access any of your data.

    the feature is called File Vault and I believe it should quench your concerns.
  14. johnfkitchen macrumors regular

    Sep 7, 2010
    You could consider using OS X's FileVault encryption for your home folder.
  15. Mr Rogers macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2003
    Hong Kong
    Don't boot from internal HDD

    Simple solution - given hard drives fail and the imac is not too simple to strip and replace internal HDD, don't use the internal as your boot drive.

    Basically, you can utilise an external HDD as a boot drive and run it from FW800 and shortly the Thunderbolt connection for greater file transfer speed.

    Utilise a server as others other stated to centralise both storage and applications.

    Currently for my media centre I'm looking at either creating a RAID 1 System or daisy chaining a few externals via FW800 together, I can max out at 6T if using two 3T externals - you can even utilise a 2.5 external up to 1T if security is that great an issue - it will fit in your pocket.

    Loads of solutions exist, but I rarely boot from my internal drive, I boot from an external and run Time Machine via a cheap USB HDD solution.
  16. ccprstuff macrumors newbie

    Nov 6, 2008
    Austin TX
    1. I appreciate all of the responses about drive security. I haven't been able to find much on the topic before this. All comments (including this one) on this thread have been helpful and insightful. Thanks to the OP for raising the issue. I will certainly look into the file vault and server suggestions.

    2. Nope, don't work for CIA, my data is mostly routine stuff collected and stored somewhere on hard drives, and passed on from nearly 25 years of using Macs for my business and personal use (actually, transferred data from Commodore 64 disks in the pre-Mac era, if truth be told) -- stuff that could include Quickin data, rough drafts/final versions of letters, tax returns, medical records, etc. If you slip and maintain one customer's credit card info on your HDD, and it gets out and is used for nefarious purposes, you would likely be successfully sued.

    Reasoning for being concerned would be akin to mindlessly gathering up a bunch of office papers, cancelled checks, bank statements and other documents without reading them, not shredding them, before bagging them up and setting them on the curb for garbage pickup.

    Sure, it's unlikely that someone could find that trash bag and make use of the info contained, but it could happen. (And it would happen if your name was Charlie Sheen.) I would just like to know what happens to a hard drive if I have to hand it over to Apple in a warranty swap, and that there are at least minimal procedures in place to ensure the destruction of the data and/or the hard drive itself, or that there would be reasonable options to remove the drive if I'm going to leave it at a repair shop for non-drive issues. Is this, at a minimum, too much to ask?

    The first thing I would check if I bought a used or refurbed computer, is what's on the drive. Maybe the last user thought the drive was dead, but maybe it wasn't.

    Broken HDDs — the topic of this thread — it's not 100% easy to replace on my twin PPC towers, but it is at least do-able without too much time/effort, compared with my previous generation Macs (Quaras and SEs).

    Yes, I know that it is time to move on, and I will examine ALL of my options when I am ready to buy, sometime before the end of the year (for tax purposes). I will examine every option, based on my needs -- (including the for data security).

    I also know that the days of an Apple focus on user (easily) expandable Mac systems are gone. I have no problem with Apple wanting me to upgrade every year. Apple will do what Apple will do. But, I will consider my specific needs, and if a Mac Pro, based on its user expandable options is right for me when I choose to buy it - even though it may be 1,000 more powerful than what I need, then, that's my decision and my money, thank you.

    PS - Thanks Badger, for your suggestion at looking at a Mini. I do have a 2009 mini that I will soon start experimenting on to see if that fulfills my needs. I will look carefully at any current and new Mac offerings before purchasing. And yes, Badger, I have made rotating offsite backups a part of my strategy for the past 10 years or so. Nothing is perfect, so I'll also probably look into cloud-based strategies, if I feel it to be reasonably secure, for as an additional backup for my most critical data (such as customer info).
  17. lavino macrumors member

    Jun 18, 2011
    If it is for a business with such secret data... you can certainly buy a new machine with like $2K and write it off no? Cost of an iMac for business expense is like nothing. I run my own side job doing software contracts and I can even partially write off this iMac I just got. But I live in Canada so I am not sure about the tax law in your country. If you really don't want anyone lay hands on your data then... just get a new one? Or can't you backup your data to a separate drive then reinstall new OSX and then overwrite your empty space 24/7 for a whole year? I am not sure how recoverable HDD data is after it had been overwritten like 10000 times?

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