7 Replies Latest reply: Feb 8, 2013 4:18 PM by baltwo
Hen3ry Level 2 Level 2 (495 points)



My Late-2009, MacOS10.7.5 iMac contains a potentially failing HD, which Apple has promised to replace for free (Very Cool, thanks Apple!) as per the program described here:,




My Mac is totally central to my work so I'm trying to figure out the best way to organize this to minimize down-time and uncertainty.  I've been told the typical turn-around is  two days...  Hmm, add to that the BEFORE prep time  for me to make a complete final backup and do a secure erase of the failing HD, and the AFTER time to restore everything to the new HD.  Oh, wait, the instructions tell me I'm supposed to restore the OS from the DVD that came with my machine, which is an old one, so add a few more hours to install 10.6.2, then upgrade to 10.7.   Whew!   What if 2-day turnaround is firmly promised, but the techs all come down with the flu just after I drop off the machine?


Am I missing anything that would make this easier?  Obsessing unnecessarily?


I've never dealt with the Genius Bar.  Maybe I'll get a chance to see how busy the techs are before I haul my machine down to the Apple Store?  Yeah, I should be able to save some time by using Carbon Copy Cloner  for the BEFORE and AFTER.  I'm already set up to do that. 


What else?


(I have access to another, slightly older iMac, and I'm exploring how I might use it as an interim work machine -- another can-of-worms, which I'll post separately about.)



2.66 GHz Intel Core i5, Mac OS X (10.7)
  • baltwo Level 9 Level 9 (62,195 points)

    Step one would be to try and make a bootable backup of your current boot volume and then backups of any data volumes. Use Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper!.


    Step two, if you sprang for the AppleCare Protection Plan, would be to request onsite replacement.


    Step three is to have them do the replacement, ensure that it works as advertised afterwards, wipe the HD, partition the HD as desired, and restore the bootable backup.


    Step four is to do a search in these communities for imac AND HD AND replacement and peruse the results (sort by date).

  • Hen3ry Level 2 Level 2 (495 points)

    Thanks for your reply.


    Between  a quarterly disk in my safety deposit, Time Machine, and a recent CCC clone I'm completely covered as far as backups.   But I think a last-minute re-clone is the best option for speedy and complete post-replacement restoring.


    I did spring for Apple Care for this machine. I can't find the receipt,  but I think it has expired... wait checking with the mother ship, here--  Apple says my machine is still covered. Woo-hoo!   So...  yeah, brilliant, everything points to on-site as the way-superior alternative.   I'll get right on it.

  • baltwo Level 9 Level 9 (62,195 points)

    Let us know how it turns out.

  • Hen3ry Level 2 Level 2 (495 points)

    The AppleCare route went really well, as good as it can get. (5 Gold Stars for efficiency and minimized downtime!)  Only about 40 minutes entrance-to-exit to replace the drive, thanks to a skilled and personable technician who came to my door, bang on-time. He initiated the first OS install and left --with my thanks-- as soon as it was under way, clearly working.   Followed by about 7 hours to get back to where I was (10.7) and do a TimeMachine restore of ~350GB.  That's on top of about a day of preps, including erasing the disk-to-be-replaced and overwriting it with zeros, twice.


    Hats off to the Apple ME's for a really elegant design of a very complex set of computer guts, enabling a very quick open-replace-close process!


    So far, 1 day in,  everything seems to work, including/especially two vital Adobe-licensed apps.  The only glitch I've seen so far is a purchased iTunes cut that won't play.




    • The AppleCare rep tried to steer me toward "carry it in" service at a Genius Bar or service depot.  Once I asked "Can't you send someone by to do it?" the process went very smoothly and quickly to the on-site visit.


    • DiskUtility's "Erase Free Space" function gave me the worst time-to-completion estimates I've seen from an Apple app.   I couldn't find estimates ahead of time.   If I could have anticipated the time necessary to do a complete ~1TB 3-pass erase, I would have allowed enough time to do it.  No reflection on the tech service intended, I'm confident they'll handle the old HD with discretion, just my extra caution. 


    • The restore roadmap was a bit obscure past the instructions, "re-install MacOS from the DVD that came with your system".   That was 10.6.  Did I need bring it up to 10.6.8?  Could I go directly from 10.6  to 10.7?  I think an install of 10.7 was necessary, if only to create the recovery partition and the bootable system and utilities inside it;  I don't think TimeMachine can do that, though it seemed to be able to recreate my existing configuration in all other respects. I did not need to bring 10.7 up to 10.7.5, I know now, as the TM full-restore says it erased the target before restoring. (Fortunately, I've never had reason to experience a full TM restore before!)   Knowing more might have shaved some time from the post new-HD  process and made it a bit less tense.


    • After the restore, I was a bit surprised that mail.app had to do a big rebuild before it would work; I wish I had known about that before-hand.  Not surprised at  Spotlight re-indexing. Spotlight gave a very good explanation of what was going on -- good job!


    • App Store would not re-download my previous 10.7 purchase.  Fortunately, I had made an ESD and I could install from that.   (Why wouldn't it re-download?  What would I have done without an ESD?  A trip to Apple store to get a ESD-thumb-drive?)  Note:I see that iMac models a bit newer than mine seem to have a much more robust recover-from-the-net procedure available. Cool!


    To repeat: .... as good as it can get!

  • baltwo Level 9 Level 9 (62,195 points)

    thumbsup.gifThanks for the feedback. Glad it worked out for you. When I had mine done onsite, I repartitioned the HD and restored all bootable clones for all three OSs. I'd never rely on TM; too flakey for my needs.

  • Hen3ry Level 2 Level 2 (495 points)

    Don't like to hear "flakey" in reference to TM --and that's not my experience-- but that's another discussion.


    That said, I'm glad I had additional backup, in the form of quarterly dumps and a recent CCC clone. And I'm very glad these were entirely unnecessary.

  • baltwo Level 9 Level 9 (62,195 points)

    Hen3ry wrote:

    Don't like to hear "flakey" in reference to TM --and that's not my experience-- but that's another discussion.

    Restoration from a TM needs to be done before relying on it, since the TM backup isn't bootable or otherwise testable. There are too many posts in these forums wherein the TM restoration failed, that's why I consider it flakey; whereas, a bootable clone (I only use CCC) is immediately testable by booting into it.