6 Replies Latest reply: Feb 2, 2011 9:33 AM by babowa
Phil Brown London Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Hi Guys

I have a quad core IMAC i7 that was one of the very first shipped here in Europe (received it in December 2009) and for a few weeks now I've ben getting an error message regarding the boot camp disk, telling me to format the disk and restore. As I don't use Bootcamp I've ignored it. However, since this weekend, I've had the spinning beach ball issue with very slow response and then the machine wouldn't boot at all. I finally managed to boot it from the install disk tonight, ran a disk utility and it tells me my RAID is failing, the disk is unrepairable, and needs to be returned to an Apple service centre.

Is there a known issue with this machine as I find it difficult to believe that a machine that is only 14 months old, used for light domestic use, can fail so easily and so early in its life? Added to this, as I live in Luxembourg, they will charge me a fortune here for any repairs as I am very limited on service centres.

I'm running a TM backup as I type (from my wife's macbook; the imac is crawling) to try and protect my data as best I can. Can anyone advise on possible solutions to this before I ship the machine for repair. When I run the hardware test from the initial boot, it tells me the hardware is fine, which seems to contradict the test run in the Utilities folder. I have deleted all of the data in the bootcamp partition.

I am wholly untechnical in these matters (which is why I bought a mac) so if you can reply in simple terms, then much appreciate. Also, how willing have Apple been to resolve issue with machines that are out of manufacturer's warranty (if only a few weeks out of warranty)?

Many thank in advance.


IMAC 27 inch quad core i7 2009, Mac OS X (10.6.6)
  • Ralph Landry1 Level 8 Level 8 (38,210 points)
    Hi Phil,

    In non-technical terms...bummer.

    That said, you have the options of paying the money to have the hard drive replaced or buy an external firewire drive that you can make bootable and run from that drive for a period of time. Will not be as fast as the internal drive but it sounds like your internal is not a speed demon right now either.

    That would be my solution right now if I wanted to get by for a little while.

    And yes it is rather short time for a drive to fail, but the way these things are rated is mean-time between failures. And that is typically 150,000 hours (about 17 years) for present generation drives. Keep in mind, though, that the rating is mean-time between failures, which means as many will fail sooner as will fail later. Some will fail in a very short time, some will probably outlive their owners.

    At this point you need to do something, and backing up is a great start. Next step is do you want to replace the drive or get an external to run from until you are ready to replace. That is a decision only you can make.

    Hope this helps.

  • babowa Level 7 Level 7 (26,930 points)
    +Also, how willing have Apple been to resolve issue with machines that are out of manufacturer's warranty (if only a few weeks out of warranty)?+

    Since these are user to user forums, none of us can answer that question; however, do you have a case # regarding this problem which was initiated before the warranty ended? In that case, I'd say there is a good chance it would be fixed under warranty. If this is a new problem, I would think not, but you could always try. This unfortunate timing might serve as a reminder that it would be covered for a total of 3 years if you had purchased Applecare.

    Ralph had an excellent suggestion re. external hard drives; make sure it is firewire and make a bootable clone. It will take a little longer to boot, but other than that, most quality external drives are 7200 rpm which is the same speed as the internal hard drives, so there won't be much of a difference working with it. You might want to look at the LaCie's or G drives.
  • Nick1814 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    You're definitely not alone on this. I had almost this exact same experience during the last month or so. Had an Imac 27" i5 (late 2009) model with a windows partitioned drive. Started getting the spinning ball very frequently and the computer was lagging really bad. I ran disk utility and it said that I had a hardware problem that couldn't be fixed and needed it to be replaced. Next time I started up, the computer made it to the desktop but wouldn't launch anything. Sad part is that I had no backup of my data. I bought disk warrior and data rescue to try and recover my files but had no luck. A friend recommended I take the machine to a friends shop to have worked on. It ended up being "stolen" so i filed insurance and had to get another one.

    I would see if time machine is able to finished backing it up and then take it in for a replacement HD. Not sure on how apple will handle it if you're out of warranty. Hope you have better luck than I did. I ended up spending about 300+ dollars on trying to recover my files before the freakin' thing ended up getting stolen. At least my old drive wasn't taken and I still have a chance at getting my pictures, music, etc... back.
  • Phil Brown London Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I really appreciate all of your input. I've become a real Apple devotee over the past two years and I must say, had blindly ignored the increasing noise I was hearing about product quality, but this has really shaken my faith in the company's products. I will try and contact Apple directly but even finding something as simple as an email address on this site is proving a challenge for me. I will try and get the Mac into a service centre this week. Wish me luck.

  • Ralph Landry1 Level 8 Level 8 (38,210 points)
    Hi Phil,

    First, thanks for the star...the positive feedback is much appreciated.

    Yes there has been a lot of noise lately about failing equipment. A part of that may be the larger and ever increasing popularity of Apple products. And the parts that are failing the most are those Apple gets from suppliers, hard drives, DVD drives, etc. Maybe they need to push a little tighter on the product QA?

    All of that said, I still am a big fan of Apple products, and from experience their longevity is far better than the PC world. I have a two year old PC laptop that is a nightmare to type on...keyboard is really flaky and erratic.

    Another aspect of the noise about failures is that is what you hear on these discussions...this place has been likened to an emergency room in a hospital, people only come here with problems. So we only hear about faults on here.

    Not trying to be an apologist for Apple, just offering a perspective on help discussions.

  • babowa Level 7 Level 7 (26,930 points)
    +I will try and contact Apple directly but even finding something as simple as an email address on this site is proving a challenge for me.+

    Don't feel challenged - it's because there is no email address; I'm sure your manual includes the support phone number for the UK? So you can either call that number or book an appointment at your nearest Genius bar and try to persuade the Genius and/or manager there....