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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Mar 27, 2013
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    21" iMac Core 2 Duo (12gb RAM) - Mavericks
    S.M.A.R.T Failed Disk - Replace ASAP - Help Please
    My early 2010 21.5" iMac's HDD is reported to have failed S.M.A.R.T HDD diagnostics and needs to be replaced before I can upgrade to Mavericks. I use Time Machine to backup machine to a dedicated external USB drive. The failed disk is a 500GB. I have a 2TB replacement HDD. What is the best approach here?

    1. clone existing HDD to replacement HDD?
    2. Install new HDD, boot to disk utility and restore from Time Machine?

    Some what of a Apple newb here so go easy. Any insight/advice is appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Jacob Maguire

  2. #2

    chscag's Avatar
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    Jan 23, 2008
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    27" iMac i5, 3.2 GHz, iPad 3, iPhone 5c, iPhone 6+, 3 iPods, El Capitan
    You can't use Time Machine by itself to do the restore as it's not a bootable backup. I suggest using either Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper to clone your current hard drive's contents to the external 2 TB drive. After which you can pull the 500 GB drive out and install the 2 TB drive in its place. Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper will create a bootable clone.

    One note of caution: If you use a hard drive other than an Apple proprietary replacement, the heat sensor will not work and your hard drive fan in the iMac will go to full RPM. There are ways around that problem for which you need to read up on and make sure you have all the procedures correct before attempting the replacement.

    I suggest going to the ifixit web site and read up on replacing the drive. And you also might want to read up on how to take care of the heat sensor problem by going to the Other World Computing site.

  3. #3


    Member Since
    Mar 27, 2013
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    21" iMac Core 2 Duo (12gb RAM) - Mavericks
    chscag,
    Thank you for your comments. I wasn't aware of the apple "proprietary" HDD replacement; great tip. I would have definitely been slightly confused as to why my fan was freaking out.
    IFIXIT: Just checked it out; Excellent site with great guides.
    Thanks again.

  4. #4

    Lifeisabeach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chscag View Post
    One note of caution: If you use a hard drive other than an Apple proprietary replacement, the heat sensor will not work and your hard drive fan in the iMac will go to full RPM. There are ways around that problem for which you need to read up on and make sure you have all the procedures correct before attempting the replacement.
    Sorry, but that's incorrect. That requirement started with the 2011 iMac line. You can replace the HDD in a 2010 iMac with any aftermarket HDD (I've done so twice in my 2010 iMac), but it must be the same manufacturer due to a cable for temperature monitoring that has a different plug for each brand. Without that cable, the fans will spin up to full speed. I believe it's this nuisance with that cable that lead to the 2011 models having custom firmware on the drives instead.

  5. #5

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    May 20, 2008
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    2011 13" MBP 2.3ghz, 8gig ram, OS 10.8.5
    Since we are having a friendly discussion here ...about how Apple made hard drive replacing unnecessarily complicated/difficult in some iMac models...technically the hard drive temp. sensor issue started in 2009.

    I have a "Late 2009" iMac...and a "Mid-2011" iMac...and have read up on this more than I would have liked to. I haven't had the "pleasure" of reading up on 2010 iMacs. The HD complications are a bit different between the 2009 & 2011 iMacs...but in either case...replacing an HD in these iMac's is more complicated than in earlier models.

    Here are some OWC articles on each:

    iMac Hard Drive Upgradeability Expanded! | Other World Computing Blog
    Further Explained: Apple's iMac 2011 Model Hard Drive 'Restrictions' | Other World Computing Blog

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  6. #6

    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
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    27" iMac i5, 3.2 GHz, iPad 3, iPhone 5c, iPhone 6+, 3 iPods, El Capitan
    Well, either way the OP is now aware that he needs to do some reading up on the procedure. Thanks for the additional information.

  7. #7

    harryb2448's Avatar
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    Nov 28, 2007
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    Specs:
    27" 5K iMac, 3.3GHz, 256GB Flash Storge, 16GB memory and OS X.11.3.
    Jacob this is NOT a job for the faint hearted nor the unexperienced. If you have limited experience consider taking it to an Apple Store or Reseller.
    Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!

  8. #8

    Lifeisabeach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by harryb2448 View Post
    Jacob this is NOT a job for the faint hearted nor the unexperienced. If you have limited experience consider taking it to an Apple Store or Reseller.
    This a thousand times over. I'm experienced with working on PCs, having built my own before switching to Macs some time back, and am generally comfortable opening electronics for minor repairs. I did the HDD upgrade myself on my iMac and snapped the video data cable when opening it up, requiring a trip to a shop to get that fixed. I never could figure out how I did that... carelessness obviously. I must have lifted the LCD panel up too quickly.

  9. #9

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    2011 13" MBP 2.3ghz, 8gig ram, OS 10.8.5
    Quote Originally Posted by lifeisabeach View Post
    This a thousand times over. I'm experienced with working on PCs, having built my own before switching to Macs some time back, and am generally comfortable opening electronics for minor repairs. I did the HDD upgrade myself on my iMac and snapped the video data cable when opening it up, requiring a trip to a shop to get that fixed. I never could figure out how I did that... carelessness obviously. I must have lifted the LCD panel up too quickly.
    100% agreed!

    Hopefully you had a chance to read the thread I posted a while back when I was working on my 2011 iMac...and ran into some troubles!

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

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