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Thread: 1st Gen iMac Hard Drive Replacement Problem

  1. #1

    DakRoland's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 27, 2004
    Western NY
    1st Gen iMac Hard Drive Replacement Problem
    I'm working on a customer's iMac at the moment. The original drive stopped working, and a loud clicking noise began to eminate from the drive so it's obviously failed. Our drive tester can't even initialize the drive. So I suggested a Hard Drive replacement, with a good, used, but verified IDE Hard drive. They agreed so I set about replacing the drive. I've worked inside these 1st Gen iMacs before, so I knew I had to just open the case, remove the screws that held the internal chasis in place, disconnect the 4 cables and pull the assembly out. Then I lifted the CD-Rom drive up out of the way, and finessed the Hard Drive rail with the drive out, disconnected the cables and removed the drive. After the replacement was installed, and everything re-assembled, I hooked up the keyboard and mouse off our 1st Gen iMac, and the power, I opened the CD-Rom door with the paper clip and put in the system restore CD. Then I pushed the power button while holding down the [C] key...but the flashing Folder/Question mark icon showed. I've tried various ways to get it to boot off the CD-Rom, even tried the customer's own Keyboard, but to no avail. I finally went so far as to pull it apart again, reseat all the cables, check the drive jumpers (Set to Master) and even reset it via the switch on the motherboard. Still nothing, and still it will not boot up off that CD-Rom. Why!? I've followed the instructions located here and have even checked the thread found in the forums here as well.

    The old hard drive was dead, that was verified..but now I have a new problem. Is this iMac basically DOA? Is there some trick I'm missing? I'm seriously thinking of putting the drive in our iMac 1st Gen and just installing the system software on it through there, but that doesn't solve the other issues, such as why the boot up key commands are not being recognized. And the CD-Rom, might there be something wrong with it, maybe? Any help you guys can provide, I'd greatly appreciate it.

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  2. #2

    Member Since
    Mar 30, 2004
    I'd look at two things: either 1) the CD-ROM drive is dead, as you suspect, or 2) The Software Restore CD you're using is not the right one for that machine (older version.)

    If you've gotten as far in the boot process as the blinking "?", then I'd tend to discount the idea that the motherboard or RAM is faulty; by that point, the basic hardware tests have already run and passed.

  3. #3
    Check the jumpers. These Macs cannot choose the startup disk if the jumper on the HD is set wrong. Depending upon the HD model it should be set either as master (or single) or cable select. Also, you don't mention the type of disk; a serial ATA (or SATA) will not work on these models.
    It sounds like all the right steps were followed but just a reminder that these early iMacs had a couple of quirks. Try this sight for a good rundown:

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