Unbearably slow load time...

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Apologies if I'm in the wrong section of the forums or if this has been covered previously - I couldn't find any threads that are specific to the issue I'm having so here goes...

A bit of hardware/software info - 27" i7 iMac, 1TB hd, 8GB RAM (the only non-Mac components are JBL speakers + a Logitech mouse). I'm running OSX 10.6.2 & have a Bootcamp partition running Windows 7 HP. I have had this issue twice now and it's pretty worrying. When I attempt to boot it hangs at the Apple logo a little longer than normal, makes it to the blue screen where it hangs for roughly 5 minutes & I will eventually make it to OSX. Once booted my apps are VERY slow, if not completely unresponsive. I tried restarting & it seemed to load a little faster but still not the usual 20-25 second boot time. A third restart & it seems back to normal. I've read about Leopard installations hanging at the blue screen on boot but it usually stops there without fully loading OSX so it's a little different than my issue.

My immediate guess is that I might have a bunk hard drive - It's a Seagate drive & if I have one complaint about this rig, it's the noisy drive - I can really hear it whirring & grinding away. I called Applecare & explained the issue/symptoms & was passed off to a few perplexed support analysts before they ultimately threw their hands up with an "I have no idea" response. They also claim my hard drive noise is normal for this model/make. Great!

So here I am...Throwing it out there to all of you Mac savvy people. Ever heard of this weird problem? Could it possibly be a software conflict or OSX issue? Any ideas/thoughts/solutions would be greatly appreciated.
 
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MacMini 14.3, 8.1 & 4.1, OS 13.5, 10.14, & 10.11 & 10.6; Macbook Pro 8.2, OS 10.12.
Welcome to Mac-Forums!

Do you have a boot disk for the present OS? If so, start your iMac from it (hold the C key on startup). Once the iMac is operating, go to Disk Utility > First Aid > Verify Hard Disk > Repair Disk (if necessary).

If DU finds faults it cannot repair, then yes, the HD is suspect and you should transfer as much of your valuable material to a separate hard drive. Start your iMac in Safe mode (hold Shift at startup), which should allow you access to the non-OS contents of the hard drive.

You have the option of the Big Gun of disk repair - Disk Warrior - but it's expensive.

The Seagate 1 Tb drive has bad reviews, so you may wish to replace it anyway.
 
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MacBook Air mid-2013 4GB, and other machines
"I can really hear it whirring & grinding away" sounds like the hard drive or at least the files are corrupted/damaged. I'm not an expert, it could be something else, but it shouldn't be super noisy.

Can you remove the hard drive into an external enclosure, mount it to someone else's machine, and run a Disk Utilities scan?

Did you get the Apple Care (you should, say folks I know who repair and my friend at the Apple store-any fix is like $500 otherwise, all modular stuff inside)? Is the machine still under warranty?

If it was me, and nobody offered another idea, I would probably pull out the drive. I would replace the internal drive. I used
Western Digital Caviar Green 1 TB Bulk/OEM Hard Drive 3.5 Inch, 16 MB Cache, 5400 RPM SATA II WD10EACS
but would go bigger probably. Search Apple Knowledge Base for how to change the drive-they actually have specific instructions, unbelievable, bless you Apple. To format, the drive must be internal basically. There was also some stupid little setting I don't remember, so if you decide to do this, post another thread.

Then put the original drive in an external case. Get your files off it, hopefully readable and if not that's another story, you would need recovery software. Presuming the drive isn't physically bad, reformat and use as a backup drive.

GOOD LUCK!
 
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Thanks for the replies guys (and the warm welcome). I'm pretty good about backing everything up so I'm not too concerned about losing data, it's just the erratic behaviour that worries me. I'll certainly give the disk utility repair a shot when I get some time - I'll post what happens there.

As for replacing the drive myself, is it really advisable to crack open the iMac myself? I do have Applecare but I've already had to send it back once (faulty fan on the 1st one they delivered - was very noisy!) and they took over a month to send a replacement. Needless to say I'm exploring other avenues before I resort to that again.

I'm guessing it might be the hard drive opposed to a software problem strictly from the noise it's making. Perhaps others with the same drive (Seagate 1TB: ST31000528ASQ) can verify whether or not their drive is noisy (as in, I can really hear it working away - haven't had an HD make this much noise since the 90s!).
 
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As for replacing the drive myself, is it really advisable to crack open the iMac myself? I do have Applecare ...

If it's still under warranty, don't go opening it up yourself unless you're prepared to void what's left of the A'Care plan.

If you do decide to go ahead with DIY, there are good How To videos on YouTube, eg. YouTube - iMac 7.1(2008) hard drive replace/install/upgrade, open case PT.1 (in 3 parts).

I'm guessing it might be the hard drive as opposed to a software problem strictly from the noise it's making.

It would be unusual for a software conflict to cause problems of the nature you've described. My dollar goes on a dying hard drive.

PS. you might find this thread moved to Hardware, in which case look at the Stickie about recommendations for hard drives.
 
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Ok - I booted the disk utility from the install disk, tried the verify/repair & it found no fault. I guess my question now is does this mean the hard drive is in fact ok? How reliable is the disk utility?

Loading OSX seems fine now, it just scares me a little that it has happened twice on this machine. I did purchase Applecare so if need be I'll just have to get it replaced (again!) or repaired at an authorized dealer. Just a monumental pain to have to reinstall everything (including Win7 etc).
 
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chas_m

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If it only happens occasionally, I would invest in a copy of Disk Warrior. Even if that doesn't turn out to solve the problem, you'll be glad you did.
 
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Disk Warrior hey? Presumably it can repair bad sectors?

I just tried another program called Smart utility & it's reporting that I have 2,288 'reallocated bad sectors'. I'm not entirely sure what that indicates but it doesn't sound good...

ps, please feel free to swap this to the hardware forum as I appear to have barked up the wrong tree thinking it might be software related!
 

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