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Is my internal hard drive dead?!? (iMac mid-2007)

6300 Views 11 Replies Latest reply: Sep 23, 2010 12:31 PM by D.F. RSS
D.F. Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Sep 21, 2010 12:59 AM
Hi everyone,

My aluminum iMac (mid-2007) is behaving strangely recently. I'm suspecting some internal hard drive failure. Here are the symptoms:

1) Difficult wakeups from sleep mode: two times out of three, the spinning beachball appears on each open application, making the iMac unusable, almost frozen. I have to hard reboot.
2) One reboot out of two fails, with the "question mark folder" appearing, just like if the iMac could not detect an internal hard drive.
3) In the Finder, the spinning beachball appeared once with an error message: "The drive has not been ejected properly". Of course I didn't eject or disconnect any drive... There was also an icon "SystemUI Server" appearing in the Dock! I was forced to hard reboot.
4) Made all the usual stuff: all Onyx tests and repairs + Apple Hardware Test full tests + permission and disk repairs + PRAM/SMC reset... No problems detected, but nothing resolved in the end. (The only thing I haven't tested yet is Techtool Pro or DiskWarrior.)

I think this is an internal hard drive problem, but I'd like to have a confirmation from you, forum pros. Would a hard drive replacement fix the problem? Or is the internal drive OK but some connection to the drive not working anymore, making a HD replacement useless? (Sorry if this is nonsense, but I'm not very skilled in hardware stuff.)

In other words, any help would be appreciated. (And my AppleCare expired some weeks ago! Talk about bad luck...)

Thanks in advance for any help!
iMac (mid-2007) 24" - Core 2 Duo Extreme 2.8GHz - RAM 6GB - HD 320GB, Mac OS X (10.6.4), iPod 60GB - two external HDs 1TB & 500GB via FireWire 800 - Canon EOS 400D
  • nachdenki Level 3 Level 3 (625 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 21, 2010 1:39 AM (in response to D.F.)
    mh, it sounds like a hard drive problem (could also be RAM, but I think hard drive is more likely).
    before replacing the hard drive, you might wanna just try a frest install of OS X. make sure you backup your data and then format the hard drive in disk utility after booting from disk, then installing OS X. if that doesn't help, than it's a hardware fault. I think noone here can say for sure if it's really the hard drive, but it definitely sounds like it
    Macbook and iMac, Mac OS X (10.6.4), 13'' Late 2008 and 27'' i7 Mid-2010
  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 21, 2010 4:01 PM (in response to D.F.)
    First, try verifying your internal HD. See #6 in Formatting, Partitioning, Verifying, and Repairing Disks.

    and/or run the: Apple Hardware Test: iMac (Mid 2007) and later models

    and/or the (free) Rember, a heavy-duty memory tester, from: http://www.kelleycomputing.net/
    24" iMac 9,1 2.66 GHz; 4gb; 640 gb, Mac OS X (10.6.4), dual-band AEBS v. 7.4.2
  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 22, 2010 7:31 AM (in response to D.F.)
    Not a good sign.

    It's time for a trip to your local Apple Store or Authorized Repair location.

    I hope you have good backups.
    24" iMac 9,1 2.66 GHz; 4gb; 640 gb, Mac OS X (10.6.4), dual-band AEBS v. 7.4.2
  • rkaufmann87 Level 8 Level 8 (40,505 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 23, 2010 11:47 AM (in response to D.F.)
    WD makes good drives, however HD do die and are totally unpredictable about when that may occur. Some last a few months, some a few years and some many years, in short it's a crap shoot. Sorry it happened a couple of weeks after your AppleCare expired and hopefully it wasn't too expensive to repair. My machine's AppleCare will be ending next month so I'm in the same boat, wondering how long it will last.
    iMac and Macbook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.4), iPhone 3GS Airport Extreme Airport Express
  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 23, 2010 11:52 AM (in response to D.F.)
    D.F. wrote:
    Done! Installed a new HD following the instructions of this site. Everything works perfectly again.


    Yay!

    But I'm still disappointed that my original internal hard drive chose to die two weeks after my AppleCare three-year warranty expired!
    The original HD was a Western Digital. Is WD a crappy brand?


    You'll get widely different opinions on that. Many folks say their --cheap-- inexpensive ones are "junk;" others say they've had several that ran for years.

    Some say the ones Apple uses are better quality -- not quite server grade, but better than the run-of-the mill consumer products.

    As with any manufactured product, disk drives may have a few early failures (even in the first days or weeks); a few will last for many years, most will last for 2-4 years or so. Even under identical circumstances, there's no predicting the life span of any one drive.
    24" iMac 9,1 2.66 GHz; 4gb; 640 gb, Mac OS X (10.6.4), dual-band AEBS v. 7.4.2

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