My computer died this morning - Any idea what it can be?

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My computer froze this morning while playing a video. I've had some moments recently where an app would crash during a video but not quite like this. The screen was frozen and the audio continued.

I forced it to shut down and restarted. It stood on a blue screen for a long time, then a weird screen looking like digital distortion came up (maybe my desktop?) I tried again and had the same thing. Then the desktop finally came one time but was unresponsive. I've since got the computer up and working but I've decided to work on another computer for now.

What can this be? I've had issues in the past that tech determined was bad ram which I replaced which seemed to help, but those came with kernal panics, also blue screen, and some beeping.

Should I try to analyze the disk? Or just take it in to be checked out (again?)

My computer - 27" iMac around 2009, running snow leopard
 
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Boot from the Snow Leopard DVD and run Repair Disk and see the state of the hard drive. Next step in dogey graphics card.
 
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Update to my issue:

I've worked a little on the computer and I keep getting a freeze. The screen freezes however the mouse/cursor moves but with no response - can't click on anything. I try force shut down and restarting and get the blue screen. If I wait long enough I get the desktop, but not able to click or do anything.

ALSO: I have been able to connect to the computer from my laptop with target disk mode. Does that mean anything about whether it's a HD issue? I will try running disk utility and see what it turns up however I'm not a tech person and I'm not sure I know what I'm doing.
 

chscag

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Boot your iMac from your Snow Leopard DVD disk one. After it boots, choose the language, but do not proceed with installing Snow Leopard. Instead click on the top menu "Utilities" and then "Disk Utility". Highlight your hard drive on the left side and then choose the first aid tab on the right. Select Verify and Repair. Let us know the results.
 
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Okay, so I ran Verify and Repair, here's what I got:

Verify: Keys out of order, Volume was found corrupt and needs repair, ERROR: Disk needs to be repaired.

Repair: Can't repair, Back up as many of your file... Reformat, restore, etc.

So, do I reinstall the system from scratch and then restore my computer from my backup? Is there a way to know if the problem is the info on the drive or the hardware itself? And if I restore from my backup, can that copy over the problem?

Thanks for any help!
 

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No, from my and others experience with those types of errors, it would be a waste of time re-formatting and restoring data. It's best to replace the hard drive with a new one. If you have been making backups with Time Machine you can restore your data to the new hard drive after it's installed.

Replacing the hard drive in an iMac is not an easy task, however. I suggest looking over the procedure first by going to the ifixit web site to see how it's done step by step and what tools are required. www.ifixit.com
 
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Yeah, sounds like just replacing it is best. It was replaced (installed) by a place here in the city called tekserve. It wasn't that long ago and it's probably under warranty. Thing is dropping it off, picking it up, paying them to do this...all annoying.

Will getting inside of the computer myself be advisable? If it's doable I'll give it a shot. I might be able to get a new drive sent beforehand from the manufacturer, swap and send the old one back...I think.
 

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Will getting inside of the computer myself be advisable? If it's doable I'll give it a shot. I might be able to get a new drive sent beforehand from the manufacturer, swap and send the old one back...I think.

That's why I referred you to the ifixit site. The entire front panel display must be removed in order to get inside the iMac to replace the drive. It's a rather delicate operation that could result in damage to the machine if it's not done right. I was a computer tech for many years but I prefer to have Apple do repairs on my iMac. ;)
 
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Thanks for the info chscag.

I felt that using ifixit or anything else would still be tough to handle and I didn't want to screw it up. So I brought the computer in. Their initial diagnostic test showed the HD to be bad so I'm having them replace it. The thing is that when I was there, my computer had a kernal panic which it hadn't done since my earlier issues over a year ago. According to the guy, this can be an issue of something else being wrong, not just the HD. At this point though, I don't want to sink more money into this computer doing more diagnostics only to not find anything (again.) So I'm having the HD replaced and hope things are okay and in the meantime plan on buying a new computer, a Mac Pro this time...I regret ever getting an iMac.
 

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So I'm having the HD replaced and hope things are okay and in the meantime plan on buying a new computer, a Mac Pro this time...I regret ever getting an iMac.

For sure a Mac Pro is the best if you can spare the $$ for a new one. But I'm on my second iMac and other than the first one needing a new hard drive (replaced by Apple for free) I've not had any problems with either of them. The older one is being used right now by my college attending grand-daughter. It's still going strong.
 

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