6 Replies Latest reply: Dec 13, 2008 3:07 PM by midtoad@shaw.ca
midtoad@shaw.ca Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)
After nearly a year of flawless operation (yes, my warranty will soon expire), my iMac has suddenly started to misbehave. Disk Utility has reported finding errors which it is unable to repair. I've run fsck_hfs in single-user mode a couple of times, and after each reboot it again finds errors. Then I bought DiskWarrior and it repaired my drive. All was well for nearly a day, and now I'm back to the same situation. So, what to do now?

Should I reinstall the OS and just run it bare without any additional apps for a while, to see if I get more errors? (I've made a SuperDuper! bootable backup which I should be able to reboot from if needed). Or are these repeated errors to be more likely the sign of permanent problems with my hard disc, and I should go to the local Apple store without wasting any more time?

Fortunately I have a Powerbook to hold me over as a spare machine if I do have to give up my iMac.

All suggestions welcome.


iMac alu. 20" 2.0 GHz/4.0 GB, Mac Mini (server), original Macintosh, Touch 8 GB, Mac OS X (10.5.5), Also, Ubuntu Linux, WinXP in Parallels
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (260,215 points)
    Since you have a backup I'd suggest you wipe the drive and reinstall. Do this:

    Extended Hard Drive Preparation

    1. Boot from your OS X Installer Disc. After the installer loads select your language and click on the Continue button. When the menu bar appears select Disk Utility from the Installer menu (Utilities menu for Tiger or Leopard.)

    2. After DU loads select your hard drive (this is the entry with the mfgr.'s ID and size) from the left side list. Note the SMART status of the drive in DU's status area. If it does not say "Verified" then the drive is failing or has failed and will need replacing. SMART info will not be reported on external drives. Otherwise, click on the Partition tab in the DU main window.

    3. Set the number of partitions from the dropdown menu (use 1 partition unless you wish to make more.) Set the format type to Mac OS Extended (Journaled.) Click on the Options button, set the partition scheme to GUID (only required for Intel Macs) then click on the OK button. Click on the Partition button and wait until the volume(s) mount on the Desktop.

    4. Select the volume you just created (this is the sub-entry under the drive entry) from the left side list. Click on the Erase tab in the DU main window.

    5. Set the format type to Mac OS Extended (Journaled.) Click on the Options button, check the button for Zero Data and click on OK to return to the Erase window.

    6. Click on the Erase button. The format process can take up to several hours depending upon the drive size.

    Upon completion quit DU and return to the installer. Now complete the reinstallation of OS X.
  • nerowolfe Level 6 Level 6 (13,070 points)
    I think you have a failing HD.
    Back it up with TM or CCC or SuperDuper! and take the machine to Apple for a replacement HD, if that is the problem, which it seems to be from your description of the issue.
  • midtoad@shaw.ca Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)
    DiskWarrior checked the SMART status of the drive and found it to be okay. I take that to be an indication that the drive is not failing. On the other hand, there is also damage to my Windows partition - Windows only gets part ways through its boot process, reports that autochk is missing, then reboots.
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (260,215 points)
    If the drive is OK, then I would do what I suggested. Hopefully it will work although you will lose everything on the drive. But since you said you have backups this will be a minor inconvenience.
  • ~Bee Level 7 Level 7 (31,200 points)
    midtoad --
    Which were you trying to repair?
    or the Hard Drive?
  • midtoad@shaw.ca Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)
    I was trying to repair the hard drive. After increasing fsck failures and Disk Warrior taking longer to repair the drive each time, I made a total drive back using SuperDuper! to an external La Cie USB drive (best $100 I've spent in a long time!). Unfortunately I was unable to back up the Windows partition before the drive failed completely.

    I took the iMac to my Apple dealer and they replaced the drive at no cost (still under warranty by a couple of weeks (whew! - the installation charge would have been over $200 otherwise).

    Restoring was easier than any Windows recovery I've ever tried to do.
    1. Boot my iMac off my La Cie external drive containing the full backup (Windows user: "You can boot your computer off an external backup? Wow!").
    2. Use SuperDuper! running on that external drive to "back up" my La Cie to my iMac's internal drive.
    3. Re-start the computer and boot off the internal drive.
    4. There is no step four!

    As for re-installing Windows and setting up Boot Camp... a long involved process with several setbacks. It's as though Microsoft is actually trying to turn away customers by making it so hard.