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Apple Desktops Discussion of Apple's desktop machines including Mac Pro, iMac, Power Mac, and mini

iMac - 20 inch aluminum imac HDD issue?


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dontdieonme

 
Member Since: May 16, 2009
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Ok, so yesterday my imac decided (seemingly randomly) to not boot up. It stayed at the grey screen with the apple logo and the spinner. For about half an hour. Forced a restart, and it seemed to get further. After about 3 minutes it went to a blue screen with a spinner, then flickered to a lighter blue, then repeated this process for ... about another half an hour.

Safe mode boot (holding shift) didn't do anything. It just sat there on the same grey screen with the spinner for about 10 minutes.

Booting from the Leopard disk worked, and I was able to run Disk Utility, which showed some errors, which were corrected. Tried to reboot, same issue (grey screen, progress spinner). Tried setting the startup disk to the Windows partition (boot camp) and it booted into Windows, where I was able to transfer all of my important data to the external drive. I got a pretty hardcore kick out of the fact that my Mac would run Windows to allow me to save all my Mac data...

Tried safe boot, and standard booting again, both same errors. Last ditch, repartition the drive back to a single drive and reinstall. The first time, it failed writing files about 20% in. Seemed completely random, redid the process. Completed. Computer started up fine, but was a little chuggy, stalled for a few seconds after loading the desktop. I figured this was normal (holy cow this is turning into a novel....), went about doing software update, which went fine. Rebooted after every update (right through 10.5.7), every time with a little hiccup. Even got some 3rd party apps installed (Adium, aMSN). Rebooted, no problems, aside from some sluggish chugging when the desktop loaded. Also went through and ran Boot Camp to partition for another OS section, which went fine (didn't spend the time installing Windows, just in case, which appears to be a good thing I didn't waste the time).

This morning, it wouldn't boot. Again, either the grey screen with the progress spinner or the 2 alternating blue screens (spinner/no spinner). Again, trying to reformat and reinstall right now.

My question is, given these happenings, and them being seemingly random, it SEEMS to me to be pointing to an eminent hard drive failure. It performs exactly as it should when running from the Leopard disk, and it doesn't appear to be a BIOS battery issue, so what the heck is it? I don't want to spend a hundred bucks on a hard drive and the time cracking open the beast (although the walkthrough here by Tom S is really making it tempting) if it won't fix the issue.

Thoughts?
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dontdieonme

 
Member Since: May 16, 2009
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Ok, so the new reformat has gone swimmingly. I'm not installing anything I don't have to, and just ran Disk Utility again (which I've done about a dozen times since last night). It gave me a different error this time than the others it gave me "invalid index key". After some searching, it appears that this is definitely the sign of hardware issues. And since it's the first time I've seen this particular issue, but everything else appears to be working, I'm hoping it's just the hdd. I will run apple's hardware test to see if anything else worse pops up.
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chscag

 
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Quote:
My question is, given these happenings, and them being seemingly random, it SEEMS to me to be pointing to an eminent hard drive failure. It performs exactly as it should when running from the Leopard disk, and it doesn't appear to be a BIOS battery issue, so what the heck is it? I don't want to spend a hundred bucks on a hard drive and the time cracking open the beast (although the walkthrough here by Tom S is really making it tempting) if it won't fix the issue.
Most likely your hard drive is failing. To make sure, boot your machine with Leopard install DVD #1 and run the Apple Hardware Test. Link

Replacing the hard drive in your machine is not expensive but it can be demanding as the display must be completely removed before you can gain access to the HDD. Lots of good instructions on line are available to walk you through the entire procedure.

Regards.




Regards.
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