What's going on with my iMac?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by cosrocket, Apr 25, 2010.

  1. cosrocket macrumors regular

    Jul 7, 2008
    A few days ago my wife was on our 24 inch iMac and told me she was frequently getting the spinning beach ball. Then all of a sudden one morning it wouldn’t boot into OS X (Snow Leopard), the spinning wheel just kept going in the Mac boot screen.

    Yesterday I reformatted the hard drive and reinstalled Snow Leopard. Again the spinning beach ball started showing up frequently. We went out for dinner and when we returned I walked over to the iMac and there was a screen with a question mark within a folder blinking. I restarted it and just got a blank gray screen like the boot screen without the apple logo. I restarted it again and it finally booted back into OS X.

    So my question is what is the most likely problem? Is this a sign of a failing hard drive or something else?
  2. archipellago macrumors 65816

    Aug 16, 2008
    mac ownership, big on style, short on substance.

    Yes I'd guess your HDD is shot, run the hardware test from the OS disk and see what it says.
  3. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
  4. OGDaniel macrumors 6502a


    Dec 24, 2009
    Yes your HD is dead. These exact same symptoms, I mean exactly the same as what you're saying, happened to me when my hard drive gave out mid summer last year.
  5. mtnDewFTW macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2009
    San Francisco, CA
    Most likely the machine itself is fine, not the crappy HDD inside of it.
    It's most likely dead. However, the good news is that you could probably change it yourself. Just look for a good tutorial that helped others.

    However, this time, I'd recommend getting a SSD (if that's an option on the 24" iMacs). SSDs last WAY longer than HDDs and you most likely won't have to worry about it anymore, however the do cost 3 times more than HDDs.
  6. mystikjoe macrumors regular

    Jan 29, 2010
    is it's apples fault that the hard drive failed. hard drives in general aren't very reliable and since the pc and mac use the same ones where are you going with this?
  7. doktordoris macrumors 6502a


    Mar 14, 2009
    Do you really believe that, with regard to real world usage, is a reason to write HDDs off?

    I have ben using HDDs for more years than I care to remember.

    Starting with a 20meg drive attached to my Amiga 500, then a 127meg drive with my Amiga1200, then a 200meg drive with a PC, then on and on (I'm sure you get the idea) until I have a desktop PC with 6 .5TB drives in it.

    The point I am trying to make is that not once in around 20 years of HDD usage have I ever had a problem from a hard disk.

    SSDs may be more reliable, as far as results obtained in a lab go. That doesn't mean, however, that in the real world HDDs are unreliable, just that SSDs are less unreliable.

    In all my years of using HDDs (I just worked it out, with laptops included I have owned about 40 hard disks) I have never once suffered a mechanical hard disk failure.

    Don't write of HHDs in favour of SSDs

  8. doktordoris macrumors 6502a


    Mar 14, 2009
    And I haven't a clue where you are going with this.
    My MBP may be as stylish as any notebook PC can be either IBM compatible PC or Mac OS PC, but that doesn't mean it lacks 'substance'.

  9. hamlinspahn macrumors regular

    Apr 9, 2010
    Oklahoma City

    SSD's have their place mainly in notebooks since you bang them around and ventilation, but on a desktop your average HDD should last at minimum of 3 to 5 years and even longer is some cases I have a 2001 eMac runs all day every day HDD still cranking it out, Granted we are talking about a failed HDD in less than 3 years but an SSD could just as easily fail, electronics aren't perfect. And since OS X doesn't maintain SSD's as required for that long life I wonder just how long they will actually last in a Mac, Speed might be good argument for an SSD but life span yet to be seen in application.
  10. cosrocket thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 7, 2008
    Yes that's what it was, I just dropped it off at the Apple Store.

    Apple Care came in handy after all.
  11. morningsong macrumors member


    Jan 19, 2010
    I believe I may be experiencing what the OP had. Whenever I run any software, the system crashes.
    In disk utility, it says there is a S.M.A.R.T. failure, and Apple should be contacted. I'm assuming hard drive failure is imminent. My iMAC is an i5 about 6 weeks old. Kills me because the monitor is perfect, and everything else was great.

    I've backed up any important files, and doing a Time Machine back-up as well...never used that program to this point. I was copying smaller files, and when I got what I really needed on a HD, figured to try the full back-up..see how far it gets. Seems more stable today. But the warning is still there in Disk Util.

    Do I have to call to make an appointment with Apple, or can I just lug the machine into an Apple store?
    Had not bought Apple Care, will probably...if they fix me right this week.

    I had an old iMAC G4 that didn't crash as much in 7 years as my new computer did yesterday. That's a bummer. Glad the old guy is still working...can look to see if anyone else has these issues.. blah.
  12. mtnDewFTW macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2009
    San Francisco, CA
    It's awesome that you love HDDs so much, but please don't try and tell me their better/as good as SSDs. It's been proven that SSDs are MUCH faster than HDDs. No moving parts, which is great, especially for Apple, since they mostly design their computers to be very compact, especially the iMacs. I really hope they bring the SSD to the iMacs sometime soon.
  13. mtnDewFTW macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2009
    San Francisco, CA
    Yes, I realize that nothing in the tech world is perfect. However, it's easy to tell that an SSD would last a lot longer. Even without the OS supporting it. Which is actually does because there is a SSD option for MacBook Pros, and the MacBook Air comes standards with a SSD. It's easy to tell that SSDs last much longer mainly because there are no moving parts.
  14. SuperJudge macrumors 6502


    Apr 2, 2008
    The Triangle, NC
    You do realize that there is a limited number of read/write cycles on an SSD, right? Not to mention the fact that all failures are catastrophic.
  15. JustJonno macrumors newbie

    May 22, 2010
    One generic problem with SSD's is that although they may be "shiney new" and the in thing to have, they still haven't managed to get anywhere near the storage levels of HDDs, nor will they if we're honest.. not for a fair few years any way.
    Meanwhile, HDD's just keep running and running... i've had one hdd fail on me and that was sorted by changing the controller board from an identical HDD... u can't do that with SSD's :)

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