27" iMac freezing

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I have a 27inch intel imac.
It's started to crash and freeze up regularly.
When it freezes I cannot even access FORCE QUIT
When I run fsck it says "FILE SYSTEM WAS MODIFIED"
When I enter "exit" to restart it says, "Removed 5 orphaned files, unlinked file, Jettisoning Kernal Linker"
It restarts but doesn't take long to freeze again.
Could anyone explain what this means?
Can I repair this?
Is this a software or hardware problem?
Any advice?
I haven't backed up (I know)

I might experience difficulty answering as it could freeze up any moment.
 

chscag

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The freezing may be the sign of a failing hard drive. The first thing you should do is backup all your data. Use Time Machine.

After your data is backed up, boot the machine with your install DVD and run Disk Utility from the DVD. Do a verify and repair on the hard drive. Let us know the results. And lastly, is your iMac still covered by Apple care?
 
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Thank you chscaq for responding.

I bought one of the first batch of 27" intel imacs and in the last month of my 3 year Apple warrenty it packed up and a new hard drive was fitted. Judging from the dates of software installation this would in September 29 2009, so this hard drive is just over two years old, the imac 5 years old.

I've just run disc utility verify and it says it appears OK. This might be because it hasn't been long since I last had to run fsck and the file system was modified, orphaned files removed, Kernal Linker jettisoned and so on.

I haven't backed up yet. I intend to buy a backup hard drive tomorrow. (Any recommendation for an inexpensive fast hard drive to work with Time machine?).

The pattern seems to be as before. It works for a period if I keep things simple, freezes, I run fsck and it says "The volume Macintosh HD was repaired succesfully" and it gets modified and as I restart and there's info about GFXO Family Specific Matching Fails. Some time later it freezes again.

More warnings

(1). Twice now a grey mist has descended down from the top of the screen which freezes and an error box in several languages states, "You need to restart your computer. Hold down power button ... etc"."

(2) Earlier today I left the screen for a time. When I returned the screen had frozen and turned black with white text which repeated a line of text across the whole width , " Nov21 14:38:42 apples - imac/system/library/CoreServices/loginwindow.app ..."

(3). I backed up some files to a CD. When I tried to back up to a double density DVD (8.5 meg DVD+R DL) it said "This disc can't be burned because the device failed to calibrate the laser power level for this media". However i have succesfully copied to one of these DVDs before. Is this connected?

HELP! Can I do anything?Could this be a virus? Do I have to call in the undertakers?
 

chscag

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No virus, just a tell tale sign of a failing hard drive - getting worse by the hour.

As I advised before, backup before you lose everything. Any good external hard drive will be OK. Current prices on hard drives are skyrocketing because of the recent Typhoon flooding in Thailand so don't delay.
 

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