Mac OS forum


Hard Drive Maxed- Won't Start-Up Right

by DOOWYDWP / November 14, 2012 10:30 PM PST

The Hard Drive on the Imac is completely full! I could not get a new replacement quick enough before this started.

Basically, the computer turns on and I think goes into a 'read-only' state because it cannot copy or paste. I got one message saying it was read-only from something I tried to do.

But it comes on and I log in, then Firefox loads automatically but in doing so, the Desktop is stopped from loading! Some reason, FF loads before the desktop does and prevents the desktop from being accessed. I can launch other progs from the Apple Symbol where it says Recent Items but nothing will save.

I cannot even access the trash to make room on the drive.

So, I am getting a new hard drive very soon and would like to know if anybody has any ideas on how directly to fix this myself without dumping my computer off at a store to charge me $300+ or more to get it working after a week or two waiting!

It's a 3 gig Intel Core Duo
with 4 gigs of RAM
I got it a couple of years or so ago.


Answer This Ask For Clarification
Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Hard Drive Maxed- Won't Start-Up Right
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Hard Drive Maxed- Won't Start-Up Right
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.

All Answers

Collapse -
Unless you live in some strange out of the way place
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / November 15, 2012 7:06 AM PST

acquiring a new hard drive is just a matter of walking into your local computer store and purchasing a USB external drive.
In the US, a 3Tb drive can be had for around $150.
I'm fairly sure that most other countries have the same sort of drives available.

Get one, attach it to your Mac and copy off a bunch of the stuff you currently have on that machine. You need to move at least a couple of GB's worth for it to make any difference.

If you can get to System Preferences, turn off all login items, especially Firefox. To quit Firefox, hold down the Command + Option key and press Esc. Select it in the Force Quit window and go from there.


Collapse -
more info needed
by DOOWYDWP / November 15, 2012 10:22 PM PST

First of all, plenty of thanks for that.

Yes, I can reach the System Preferences but will have to find out how to shut off auto-login items from there?

I am definitely able to purchase the new 3 TB hard drive with USB port:) Once I have it, am needing to apply it then be able to work from the Desktop in order to copy items from the Mac to the usb drive.

This is where am concerned.

I am also somewhat worried that stopping the auto-login of Firefox will completely crash the computer and make it not load at all, which would disable my internet capability until the problem is fixed or I plug in a different PC, which for me takes the same amount of time. I need my computer and hopefully can get this fix accomplished before it crashes.

When I quit Firefox, by the way it just goes to a blank background with no desktop. The desktop image is there but no items, no task bar, no menu options such as Applications menu, etc. Just a picture and nothing else on the whole screen.
Any suggestions or ideas?

Thanks again.
Will update today later.

Collapse -
System Preferences
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / November 16, 2012 1:58 AM PST
In reply to: more info needed

your account
Login items
Remove them.

Sounds like Finder never actually gets into gear as all the available resources are taken by Firefox.


Collapse -
same person different account
by dw2today / November 21, 2012 6:46 AM PST
In reply to: System Preferences

Ok, well I got the hard drive and plugged it in.
I made a guest account to login with with no auto login items and it went blank. The finder would not load. The only desktop item is the generic background that comes with the Imac and the mouse cursor which can move around.
I did try to shut off the auto-login feature from the main account but that does not appear to be saving so FF loads anyway, which is why I am able to log-in at all since it appears that the Finder would not load anything either way!

So, now am a bit worried. I do not want to take this to a tech and spend 75 bucks to have them say they need it for a week and it's going to be a couple hundred.

Any idea on how to access the hard drive maybe to take a few things out to give it enough startup room or something like that? I don't think docking is going to work.

Collapse -
WIth the external HD attached,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / November 21, 2012 7:23 AM PST

boot the machine using the OS X installation disk.

Install OS X onto the external drive.

Boot from the external drive.

You should now see the internal drive mounted on the desktop.

Shift your stuff off the internal onto the external.

Delete the stuff you have shifted.

Now try to boot from the internal.

I'm a little concerned about the Finder never launching correctly. Theoretically, nothing should run if the Finder doesn't launch


Collapse -
k tx
by dw2today / November 21, 2012 12:11 PM PST

I was hoping not to have to find those discs. It's been a while. I need the key code and all that too, I guess.
No, I don't know if it was a weird glitch or not about FF. It gives a 'read-only' state reference by one of the error codes I got. You can't copy or paste, save or anything.

When I logged as a Guest, the image on the desktop was the only thing happening and the mouse worked. There's no drag menu from right-clicking. No Apple icon, no Trash just background and mouse pointer. That went on for a longer time than would be possible if it wasn't stuck, or so I thought.

Will see to those discs. I don't need to spend whatever the money is to replace the discs which come with the machine.

Alright, thanks!

Collapse -
Those disks would seem to be your only hope
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / November 21, 2012 10:19 PM PST
In reply to: k tx

right now.
There is no Key Codes to worry about.

A thought. When you log in as Guest, what can you do?
If you hold down the Control key and click the mouse, do you get the Right Click responses?

No menu bar at the top of the screen?

No dock? Even if you move the mouse to the bottom of the screen?


Collapse -
by DWPMAN / November 27, 2012 11:04 PM PST


I got a nice 3 TB usb drive installed with the MAC OSX Discs i fortunately tucked away safe and sound (which were there for the last two years where they should!). I managed to do exactly what you suggested VERY easily by just doing the install then pulling stuff out of the Mac internal drive! YAY. So, it's a very nice thing to have sort of a separate 'clean' Mac to start fresh with.

unfortunately, I ran into a totally unconnected problem and need some new help! The video card was knocked during some furniture moving here. Everything on the computer works great except for the video which suddenly after being knocked became like, like it was damaged for certain sections of the video. Pictures or movies will render well and fine on 60% say but the 40% will have a digital shadow cast over it. It's like some part of the video card is not doing it's function. It's definitely not the monitor as the monitor has no visible damage and on this TEXT only page is rendering perfectly well. it's definitely a video issue.

So, I am pricing video cards and finding out how exactly to SAFELY unscrew the computer monitor, etc. to actually upgrade to a better card with more memory juice by myself without going to a computer lab technician for it!


Collapse -
Don't even consider doing that yourself,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / November 28, 2012 4:35 AM PST
In reply to: MAC IS WORKING

you will get yourself into a real world of hurt!
At the risk of offending you, I don't think you have the expertise to be delving around inside your iMac, they are not user friendly, and you could end up destroying your iMac.

Pleased that you have finally got your machine back up and running.

Now try this:
Now that you have removed a bunch of stuff off the internal hard drive, your iMac "should" be able to start correctly from its internal hard drive.
Shut down the iMac and then fire it up again.
At the first chime, hold down the option key until you see the choices of boot device.
Choose the internal drive.
Once booted, try running those video files again and tell us if they are still messing up.


Collapse -
by DWPMAN / November 28, 2012 9:08 PM PST

I will put that to use and see what happens but I am 99% that it is the card. I have started it on the internal and external drives and both have identical problems with the video. The card is cheap to replace, relatively speaking and I am taking the time to upgrade my RAM to 12 GIGs total with the same purchase.

Well- let me put it like this. If the graphics problem is not fixed by restarting from the internal drive that way, then I am not going to be fixing it with a Mac repair service. They charge $75 just to tell you it's going to be $200 more for a $15 job. Then they keep it for a long time.

I have put together computers before and know enough to get around inside one but definitely am no expert, especially not with Macs. i will need clear instructions on how to do it or will need to get a Mac tech in here.

Collapse -
Now that I have issued the mandatory warning,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / November 29, 2012 8:51 PM PST
In reply to: Ok

you might find a manual for you specific model of iMac at

If not the whole manual, you will probably find something specific to the task at hand.

Replacing the Graphics card is no mean feat, on the 2007 model iMac it involves the disassembly of the entire machine as the card is underneath the logic board.

Do not start any work on this project until you have found a replacement card, have all the necessary tools and know exactly what you intend to do.

Finding a replacement card is going to be difficult. Apple will not sell you one and your machine may only be able to accept the tip that is in there now.

Good luck.

Post back in a new thread on your progress.


Collapse -
Forgot to mention this, but
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / November 29, 2012 8:54 PM PST

I doubt your iMac will support 16GB of RAM.

Check with, use their RAM configurator, to see what it supports or go to the, Support, Tech Specs and enter your serial number.

You will see how much RAM it supports there


Popular Forums
Computer Help 51,224 discussions
Computer Newbies 10,453 discussions
Laptops 20,090 discussions
Security 30,722 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 20,937 discussions
Windows 10 1,295 discussions
Phones 16,252 discussions
Windows 7 7,684 discussions
Networking & Wireless 15,215 discussions

Finding the best 360 camera

GoPro, Pixpro, or Ricoh?

You can spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a 360-degree camera. We tested three of them to find out what kind of quality and ease of use you can expect at each price point.