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Question: Dead iMac

I'm repairing a friend's iMac. Spec as follows: iMac 3.06 GHz Core 2 Duo 27-inch (E7600) (Late 2009) 4GB RAM, 1 TB Seagate HDD, OS 10.8

Time machine backup on 500GB WD My Passport.

Problem:

On restart, Apple logo, then progress bar, then crash.

Recovery mode showed HDD S.M.A.R.T. status: Failing

So far:

HDD replaced with new 2TB Seagate

Additional 2x4 GB RAM

Current problem:

Cannot get into recover mode

Command-R restart gives grey folder with question mark

Option restart gives Time Machine disc. Click the disc and get grey folder with question mark

IMac's original OS X disc cannot be found so I've tried an old OS 10.6.3 Install DVD of my own.

Command-C with OS 10.6 Install DVD gives grey folder with question mark and disc ejected

Target mode on my machine recognises new HDD, GUID Partition Map.

Any suggestions?

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Nov 11, 2017 9:48 AM in response to den.thed In response to den.thed

I'm hoping that I don't need to install in target mode. There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with the hardware in the iMac.

It came with OS 10.8 and the owner has lost the disc (the 10.6 was mine). I can buy 10.8 on disc but Apple say that I need 10.6.8 already installed.

I presume that a late 2009 iMac can run OS 10.13 now that it has 12GB RAM. If there is no reason to avoid 10.13 on this machine, do I have to start with a new 10.6 and do sequential upgrades?

Nov 11, 2017 9:48 AM

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Nov 11, 2017 9:57 AM in response to stork27 In response to stork27

2nd thoughts. It couldn't have come with 10.8 which wasn't released till 2012.

The owner of the iMac said that they were using 10.8 so must have upgraded. I believe this machine came bundled with 10.6

Nov 11, 2017 9:57 AM

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Nov 18, 2017 4:08 AM in response to den.thed In response to den.thed

Thanks for your help so far.

I think that I have been using the appropriate disc

User uploaded file

I can't get past the grey folder with question mark, so cannot try Internet Recovery.

I've removed the RAM upgrade with no effect.

so to summarise:

iMac 3.06 GHz Core 2 Duo 27-inch (E7600) (Late 2009) 4GB RAM, 1 TB Seagate HDD, OS 10.8

Time machine backup on 500GB WD My Passport.

Dead HDD so, HDD replaced with new 2TB Seagate.

Cannot get into recover mode

Command-R restart gives grey folder with question mark

Option restart gives Time Machine disc. Click the disc and get grey folder with question mark

Option restart with Time Machine disc disconnected give a blank white screen with a functioning mouse, so machine is not completely dead.

IMac's original OS X disc cannot be found. Command-C with my own OS 10.6.3 DVD shown above gives grey folder with question mark and disc ejected.

Target mode on my machine recognises new HDD, GUID Partition Map.

Nov 18, 2017 4:08 AM

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Nov 18, 2017 7:24 AM in response to stork27 In response to stork27

Try Option restart with the Retail 10.6.3 disc inserted.


If it does not open the retail 10.6.3 disk, then...

1. try installing 10.6.3 in Target Disk Mode using the other Mac, or...

2. remove the 2T hard drive, connect it to a USB to SATA adapter, connect it to the other Mac, reformat and install either OS X from Retail 10.6.3 DVD or a later later version like 10.11 from the Mac App Store.

Nov 18, 2017 7:24 AM

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Nov 19, 2017 5:10 AM in response to den.thed In response to den.thed

No luck, unfortunately.

Option restart on the iMac doesn't see the 10.6.3 disc.

Putting the 10.6.3 disc in the Mac Pro gives the message:

You can't use this version of the application "Install Mac OS X" with this version of macOS. You have "Install Mac OS X" 23.1.1.

Nov 19, 2017 5:10 AM

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Nov 19, 2017 8:00 AM in response to stork27 In response to stork27

If the Target Disk Mode user tip above from abrody does not work?


Remove the 2T drive from the iMac

Put it in a 3.5" drive enclosure or on a SATA to USB adapter

Connect it to the MacBook Pro and reformat it GUID/MacOS Extended

Then try installing 10.6 from the 10.6 Upgrade DVD as per abrody's user tip

If that still does not work, try installing El Capitan from the App Store onto it

Then reinstall it into the 2009 iMac and do the setup using your friends Apple id


How to download OS X El Capitan - Apple Support

Nov 19, 2017 8:00 AM

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Nov 20, 2017 12:55 AM in response to den.thed In response to den.thed

The 2TB drive from the iMac is visible on my desktop in target mode.

Disk Utility tell me that it is OK, GUID Partition Map.

I've logged into my friend's App Store account and downloaded a previously purchased copy of OS X Mavericks on to my computer. My computer says:

This copy of the "install OS X" application is too old to be opened on this version of OS X

There is a previously purchased copy of Mountain Lion on the App Store but I presume that I'll get the same result.

I'm running 10.13.1

Nov 20, 2017 12:55 AM

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Nov 20, 2017 1:28 AM in response to stork27 In response to stork27

and the problem with a brody's user tip is that I cannot get the iMac into recovery mode or anything other than target mode. So I can't get past step 3 of this user tip because I cannot give the iMac any instructions without an operating system of some sort. Catch 22

Nov 20, 2017 1:28 AM

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Nov 24, 2017 4:32 AM in response to den.thed In response to den.thed

I've sorted out the iMac. Unfortunately I'm not sure that I can explain how I did it.


I made a bootable Mac OS install drive on a flash drive. I then option-restarted the iMac and the time machine drive was detected as before. However on this occasion when I selected it, the iMac booted up from the time machine drive. Previously it had been unable to find an operating system.


I then restored the iMac from the Time Machine drive and all is well. I presume that the presence of the bootable Mac OS install drive made no difference but at least I now have one for future use.


If anyone encounters this problem in future, I can only suggest that you option restart the computer until it recognises that there is an operating system on the Time Machine drive. I think it is possible that the problem arose because of the slow response time from the external drive (bus powered, 2.5 inch, USB 2.0).


I’ve bought an external firewire drive for my friend’s iMac and set up a daily carbon copy cloner back up on it so that the problem doesn’t happen again.


Thanks for all your help with this.

Nov 24, 2017 4:32 AM

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Question: Dead iMac