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

hard drive problem with 24" iMac


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kylecoster

 
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I have a three or four year old 24" iMac running OS X 10.5.8. Last night as I was using it I noticed some odd sounds coming from within the computer. It sounded like small parts moving around. Probably not the optical drive and not something I've ever heard before. I was on skype with someone at the time and he commented on it as well. The noise was intermittent for a few minutes and then stopped. It worried me but I didn't think too much of it. I put the computer to sleep and went to bed about an hour later. The next day I started it up and everything was still working fine. This time I shut it down completely before leaving the house. When I got back and started it up again, everything was lagging very heavily. Start up taking forever, actions delaying, applications not responding, etc. I was finally able to get Onyx open. One of it's initial checks told me that the disc needed some kind of repair and that I should boot with the OS X install disc and try reinstalling the OS. I did that and chose to reinstall while keeping old files. That failed right off because of a problem with the disc. The disc is totally fine, not a scratch on it. After that it wouldn't boot at all. Just gray screen and eventually turning off. I took a break and have it booted now with the same lag problems. Disk Utility is open and I've tried verifying the disc. Here are the errors it gave:

"Performing live verification.
Checking Journaled HFS Plus volume.
Checking Extents Overflow file.
Checking Catalog file.
Invalid node structure

The volume needs to be repaired.
Error: Filesystem verify or repair failed."

The "repair disc" button is still grayed out. So right now I'm attempting to repair permissions to see if that does anything. Do any of you have any idea what could be wrong and what my next step should be? Sorry for the long post and I appreciate any advice you might have to offer.
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mrplow

 
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Boot from your OSX disk and run disk utility to repair the disk from there, no need to re-install

External hard disk acquisition addict - but admitting the problem is the first step to a robust backup

Please use the reputation system if you think you've been helped - top right of this post
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chscag

 
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Welcome to the Mac Forums.

First try what member "mrplow" suggested. However, based on experience an "invalid node" structure error usually means the hard drive is failing or has already suffered damage. Sometimes it can be repaired, sometimes not.

You may be faced with having to use data recovery software if you have not been making backups. Let us know.
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kylecoster

 
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Thanks for the responses. I just tried booting from the install disc (holding c) and running disc utility from there. Unfortunately repairing the disc failed. It returned the same errors as before, plus "volume check failed". If the drive is in fact failing, do you think it's likely I won't have long before I can access it at all? I'm going to try to move some stuff off of it as I have files I'd like to save. After that I'll try erasing everything and reinstalling. Any other suggestions?
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zacster

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kylecoster View Post
Any other suggestions?
Buy a new drive. You can't trust a drive once it starts to fail like that. My hard drive was making a clicking sound and would not mount on boot. When I booted from my install DVD I couldn't see the drive. I bought a new disk and before I went to install it I booted again from the install disk and somehow the old hard drive reappeared. I did the verify and it checked out OK.

I still didn't trust it and installed the new drive instead. Replacing a hard drive in an iMac is not such an easy thing, but it did work when it was all done. I didn't just install a hard drive either, I put an SSD inside and that thing just flies. If you are going to open up your iMac, put one of these in. Use an external drive to store your videos/music. Photos will load much faster from an SSD, but you wouldn't want to put too many on it. Video and music all run much slower than hard drive speed in real time so speed isn't important with these unless you are also editing/transcoding them.

I hope you have a backup.
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kylecoster

 
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I'm afraid I have no idea how to open up an iMac and do any of that. I would probably have to pay a repair shop to install anything that isn't RAM (does anyone work on Macs besides Apple Stores?) and that could get expensive I'm sure. I may just end up ordering a new 27" iMac. Do you think it would really be worth the trouble to hang onto my old one if the drive is toast? I should also mention that the optical drive has been acting up for some time. It reads fine but sometimes takes a few inserts and ejects to get there. Out of curiosity, did you install OS X on the solid state or the normal drive?

I should have backed up my files ages ago, but I'm transferring important files right now. Live and learn. 65GB of music and photos. It's crawling along and could take a day or two at this rate. Could anyone hazard a guess as to the likelihood of things working again if I reformat and do a fresh install?
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chscag

 
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Quote:
Could anyone hazard a guess as to the likelihood of things working again if I reformat and do a fresh install?
After you complete backing up your data, it won't hurt to give it a try, however, chances are it will do the same thing.
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dtravis7

 
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What state are you in Kyle? I am a computer tech and work on Macs. If you were somehow close, I would say bring it here with a new drive and I will put it in.

There are a couple of Mac Fourms members within 50 miles or me or less. I was shocked.


My close friend bought a used 24" iMac and he did NOT plug the iMac into any kind of surge protector leave alone UPS. A Line Transformer (On the pole out back) blew and caused a surge. After that his mac got the ? screen. The surge took out the controller board on the hard drive! We bought a new WD Black 1TB and I installed it and put on 10.6. You can bet he now owns a UPS after that one!
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chscag

 
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Quote:
The surge took out the controller board on the hard drive! We bought a new WD Black 1TB and I installed it and put on 10.6. You can bet he now owns a UPS after that one!
Lady luck was smiling on him that day if all he lost was the controller board on the HD. Those kinds of surges usually do much more damage.

Had a friend of mine go through the same thing and he lost TV sets, and a couple of major appliances in his home. The sad part was that the electric company would not pay for any of the damage. He had to claim it under his home owner's policy.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chscag View Post
Lady luck was smiling on him that day if all he lost was the controller board on the HD. Those kinds of surges usually do much more damage.

Had a friend of mine go through the same thing and he lost TV sets, and a couple of major appliances in his home. The sad part was that the electric company would not pay for any of the damage. He had to claim it under his home owner's policy.
That is very true. I was shocked his who 24" iMac was not toast. His wife blamed the MAC as she called it. People.
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zacster

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kylecoster View Post
I'm afraid I have no idea how to open up an iMac and do any of that. I would probably have to pay a repair shop to install anything that isn't RAM (does anyone work on Macs besides Apple Stores?) and that could get expensive I'm sure. I may just end up ordering a new 27" iMac. Do you think it would really be worth the trouble to hang onto my old one if the drive is toast? I should also mention that the optical drive has been acting up for some time. It reads fine but sometimes takes a few inserts and ejects to get there. Out of curiosity, did you install OS X on the solid state or the normal drive?

I should have backed up my files ages ago, but I'm transferring important files right now. Live and learn. 65GB of music and photos. It's crawling along and could take a day or two at this rate. Could anyone hazard a guess as to the likelihood of things working again if I reformat and do a fresh install?
My iMac is 5 years old and I think it was well worth it. For my uses, it didn't make much sense to spend over a grand on a new one, and now my old mac is faster than ever. I installed Snow Leopard on the SSD, which is now my internal drive. Having a shop do it is about $150 + parts, but I did it myself. It amazes me that I had my iMac in pieces on the dining room table, and I had to leave it that way overnight, and then I re-assembled it and it worked first time. Even my kids were amazed.

Yes, lots of people work on Macs other than the Apple store.

I'd guess that it won't work again, but that's what I thought when my HD went bad, and it came back to life.
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kylecoster

 
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I came home to find most of my important files safely tranfered. So I restarted and booted with the install disc to go about erasing the drive. This time Disc Utility told me the drive reported a fatal hardware failure. I wasn't too surprised.

That's a really generous offer Travis! I would totally stop in if I was closer but I'm up near Seattle. I did look up a few guides on replacing a drive though and it looks a lot easier than I thought it would be. I imagined something like that needing more technical knowledge and specialized tools. So I'm just going to give it a go. Worst case senario I'm out the hundred or so dollars for a new drive that I can keep as a backup anyway. I just need any 3.5" internal drive, yes? I almost wish it wasn't something I could fix though, ha ha. I started looking at the current line of iMacs as well as Lion and was starting to get excited!

Two more questions. When I first bought the computer I maxed it out at 4GB of RAM. Is there a hardware limitation with my model iMac or a software limitation with my version of OS X that would prevent me from installing more? I figure if I'm upgrading the drive I might as well boost my RAM while I'm at it. Also, would upgrading to Lion or even Snow Leopard improve my machine's preformance at all? If so, would it be worth the cost? I have a 2.4 GHz duo if that matters.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kylecoster View Post

Two more questions. When I first bought the computer I maxed it out at 4GB of RAM. Is there a hardware limitation with my model iMac or a software limitation with my version of OS X that would prevent me from installing more? I figure if I'm upgrading the drive I might as well boost my RAM while I'm at it. Also, would upgrading to Lion or even Snow Leopard improve my machine's preformance at all? If so, would it be worth the cost? I have a 2.4 GHz duo if that matters.
Your iMac can be upgraded to 6 gig of ram. Technically...matching pairs of ram are slightly faster (you probably have 2 x 2gig sticks of ram)...but if you need more ram...you probably won't notice the speed difference. To get 6 gig of ram you need a 2 gig + 4 gig sticks of ram.

HTH,

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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Is yours the White 24" or the Aluminum one? What are the exact specs?

The White 24" is easy to take apart. Mostly the screws on the bottom of the display then the front lifts forward then up and off. There is a catch at the top of the front Bezel. Once inside, you have to take off the LCD. Just be careful and first remove the LCD's plug from the main board. There are two very small Torx screws. You will need a couple of sizes of Torx drivers. When you lift the LCD be careful of the Inverter wires and unplug them before lifting it out. The rest is easy but do get the Heat Sensor off the old hard drive and on the new one.

Let me know your exact model and specs.

If yours is the new alunimium one, more of a pain. You need suction cups to get that front glass panel off and be CAREFUL!
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kylecoster

 
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iMac "Core 2 Duo" 2.4 24-Inch (Al) Specs (Mid-2007 - 24", MA878LL, iMac7,1, A1225, 2134) @ EveryMac.com

I believe those are my exact specs. Except 4GB of RAM obviously and a 500GB drive that is now toast. I'm going to pick up some suction cups while I'm out and the proper drill bits. Wish me luck!
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