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XxdaniellexX 09-30-2010 11:09 AM

Internal or external hard drive problems??
Hello All,
this is my first time posting here. I am hoping that someone has some insight to the problems I am having with my late 2007 iMac Intel Core 2 Duo 17" iMac running Mac OS X (10.5.6). And also my external hard drive - WD My Book - Home Edition 500gb.

Recently my external hard drive that I was using with Time Machine stopping mounting to my desktop. I ran a disk verify/repair. I think the error came back that it was unrepairable because of disconnecting incorrectly. I've had this external hard drive for a little over 2 years. It has consistently ran every hour with a backup when the computer was on. It was spotty but sometimes it would mount. But now it won't show up at all. I have it partitioned for my PC and for my Mac. The PC part shows up on my PC when I plug it in. But when I brought the ext hd to my work (i have a g5 mac at work) the mac partition side did not show up on the desktop.

Now my iMac has been freezing up and now refuses to boot up. Will not go past the gray screen with the apple logo. And if I do finally get the desktop to show up, it just freezes up again.

Since my ext hard drive hasn't back up for over 2 months. I have some new data on my comptuer that I need to get off. I want to try one last thing to my iMac before bringing it to the geniuses. (since I am well past my Apple Care plan) I have to find my startup disk and try and reboot from that. That is, if I can get it to boot up long enough to get the disk in.
Since I've gotten the computer, i've upgraded to Leopard. Should I try and reboot from the Leopard disk, or my orginal startup disk from when I first purchases my iMac?

Also I can't tell if my external hard drive is to blame, or if my internal hard drive on iMac is dying/dead. Or both?

Any help with any of these problems will be MUCH appreciated.

Thank you for your time!


chscag 09-30-2010 02:35 PM

Welcome to the Mac Forums Danielle!

Let's try to tackle these one at a time:

1. The external hard drive is probably failing. A good indication of that is it couldn't be repaired by Disk Utility. It might be a good idea to get what data you can off the drive on to another and then stop using it either on the iMac or your PC.

2. The freezing that's occurring with the iMac could be an indication of a failing internal hard drive. The best way to check the drive is to use your Leopard DVD to boot from and then run Disk Utility from the DVD. And yes, use the Leopard DVD not the original which I assume was Tiger.

If the internal hard drive turns out to be defective and you have no way to access your new data, you can try to use special software to extract that data. The best special software to use would be Data Rescue 3 from ProSoft. It's not inexpensive though ($99.00), however, you can download a trial copy to test with to see if it can extract your data.

You said that you have a G5 at your work. If you can haul your iMac to work, it may be possible to attach your iMac to the G5 via a firewire cable and then boot from the G5 in what's known as Target Disk Mode. That may allow you to copy the data off the iMac on to the G5 where you can further copy it to a flash or thumb drive.

You also mentioned taking your iMac to the Apple geniuses.... be aware that it's going to be expensive. Your machine is no longer under warranty. If you would like to do the repairs yourself, post back and we can show you where to go to learn how.

XxdaniellexX 09-30-2010 03:15 PM

Thank you for your reply chscag!

Ok, since I posted this morning, I had my IT guy at work look at my external hd. he was able to get it to mount to my desktop at work after running Disk Warrior with it. I am going to take home a MacBook pro from work and use it in Target Disk Mode to try to get the remaining data from my iMac at home.

If that works, I am going to boot from my Leopard install DVDs instead of my Install CDs that came with my iMac (which was Tiger) and check my drive.

Does that sound right? And how will I know if my internal drive is defective? If it's not defective, what would be my next step?

I thought that taking it to the Genius bar would be expensive and would much prefer to fix this myself, if you are willing to help :D

chscag 09-30-2010 07:24 PM

Sounds like you're on the right path. That's a good IT guy who has Disk Warrior around. :)

As old as your internal hard drive is (iMac) I would suspect that you're going to find errors and maybe some bad sectors. And as inexpensive as new hard drives are, it's best to replace it.

As far as knowing if it's bad, when you run Disk Utility from the Leopard DVD it will definitely tell you. It may even refuse to check the drive if it finds it to be defective.

Repairing your iMac at home does require some skill at dismantling the machine. An iMac is in reality a notebook computer built vertically and very compact. In order to gain access to the hard drive, the entire display assembly including the front panel has to be removed. Sounds daunting but with good instructions and the right tools, you can do it yourself.

Just let us know when and if you're ready to tackle it, and we'll post a link with instructions. The link will also have several special tools which you will need. One of those tools is a set of suction cups to remove the front glass.

Also, you'll need several torx type drivers to remove screws.

XxdaniellexX 09-30-2010 11:21 PM

So apparently I don't have the right firewire cable to run Target Disk Mode. I only have a 6 to 6pin cable. I need a 4 to 6 pin for the Macbook I'm using. So in the mean time (until I can get the cable) I ran disk utility with my install disk and repaired the disk and permissions. disk repair came back as "Disk apprears to be OK" and "No repairs needed".

After this I was able to boot up to my desktop. Plugged in my external hd and ran time machine to back up everything one last time.

Now I am going to do a clean erase and install again with Leopard (I have bought Snow Leopard, but apparently it doesn't work well with Adobe CS3).

Hopefully I can get all my stuff back onto my computer from Time Machine with no problem...

XxdaniellexX 09-30-2010 11:28 PM

my applications won't launch, so I think I just need to replace the hard drive. where might you suggest I buy one? And please send me the link on how to replace myself.

thanks again!

chscag 10-01-2010 12:07 AM

That's a good decision. (replacing the hard drive) One of the best on line resellers of hard drives and Mac replacement parts is Other World Computing. They have an 800 number and also do on line chat. Here's the LINK. For information purposes, your iMac uses a 3.5" SATA drive.

The instructions to replace the drive and also the special tools you will need can be found at the "ifixit" web site. Here's the LINK. Have your model number handy. Then go to the repair instructions section and look up the step by step manual for changing out your hard drive. Download the PDF file and print it out so you can follow along. While you're there at ifixit, you might want to order any tools that you will need. As I mentioned before, suction cups and torx drivers are needed. If you can get those things locally or from your IT guy, that's fine.

Good luck with the repair and keep us informed.

XxdaniellexX 10-01-2010 10:23 AM

Thanks again!
one last question. Do you forsee any problems I would have trying to replace all my files onto my new hard drive (once i replace it) from my external hard drive with my Time Machine back up?

I am planning on buying a new external hard drive as well when I purchase an internal one, but in the meantime (while my old one is still working - fingers crossed) i'll use that to replace my files.


chscag 10-01-2010 02:13 PM

There should be no problem if you have a current Time Machine backup. During the reinstall process you will be asked if you wish to restore from backup. Just reply OK and make sure your external drive with the current TM backup is attached. It may take a little while to do the restore. I have done this myself several times and it works well.

XxdaniellexX 10-03-2010 10:03 PM

just a follow-up to my issue. i bought a 500gb seagate hd to replace. turns out my iMac was a little harder than the tutorials i was reading. my mac is a 17" intel iMac (mid 2006) i had to go in from the front and disconnect the iSight and all that good stuff. really helped! But in the process of taking out the old hard drive, I managed to break the bracket right off the hard drive :( soooo, i've had to order a new one and this process goes on a little longer! I'll keep you posted and let you know if i get everything repaired and running. thanks!

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