Mac Hardware forum


Old iMac won't boot

by El Bairdo / April 8, 2013 12:44 AM PDT

My ancient iMac, dating from 2000, won't boot. When I insert the installation CD and try to do a repair, the hard disk does not appear in the window. I have tried every way to access the hard disk intending to do a new clean installation, but cannot do so because the hard disk seems to be damaged and therefore invisible. Is it time to junk my iMac? Anything I can do? All suggestions welcome!
iMac, version OS 9.0.4

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All Answers

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Get estimates.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 8, 2013 12:58 AM PDT
In reply to: Old iMac won't boot

Don't take my post as the only answer here. While it could be the HDD, taking it to the shop to install a HDD could run more than what I see refurb MacBooks going for. Right now at Geeks I see models for 399 that are in my opinion a good replacement for the old iron. Link? Sure ->

That's 399 and skip the B and C grade models for quite a step forward without the full price for the new models.

-> Your iMac did actually boot according to what your wrote so if you wanted to try replacing the HDD that's not an expensive item if you do it yourself but as a "New Mac user" I worry about this.

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Time to move on?
by El Bairdo / April 8, 2013 2:15 AM PDT
In reply to: Get estimates.

Maybe I should not have said "boot". Actually the iMac only started up using the installation CD. When I tried to do a repair, it was not possible because the hard disk was not recognised. So is the best advice to junk my iMac and go for something a little more up to date?

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That's your choice.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 8, 2013 5:09 AM PDT
In reply to: Time to move on?

I can't determine which iMac you have but hard drives (which size is in that model?) are usually under 99 bucks so it may be salvageable. But some models are tough for folk to get into and replace the HDD.

It's your choice. My thoughts if you don't fix it yourself, you can find ready to use machines (even apples) for less than what a shop repair may cost.

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It is certainly time to move on
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / April 8, 2013 5:16 AM PDT
In reply to: Time to move on?

but, as Bob pointed out, hard drives are relatively inexpensive.

I can only guess but my guess is that you have a cathode ray tube type iMac, kinda teardrop shape, which takes a regular ATA type hard drive and will accept at least a 250GB drive.

Replacement is reasonably straight forward and there are "Take Apart" guides all over the internet.

Basically a intermediate job for someone with a working knowledge of a screwdriver.


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New drive
by El Bairdo / April 8, 2013 7:31 AM PDT

You are right about the tube. It's that teardrop shape.
So all I have to do is figure how to open the case and get a new hard drive, correct?

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Link, comment.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 8, 2013 7:39 AM PDT
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I believe there was,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / April 8, 2013 9:52 AM PDT
In reply to: Link, comment.

you and I had this conversation many years ago.
I don't remember the exact details but it was essentially about a series of Macs that could not address, fully, any hard drive greater than 120GB

Anything larger than that would be presented as a 124GB drive.

Just remembered, it was Logical Block Addressing that was the problem and from what I can find, all the early iMacs could not address larger than 120GB (or thereabouts)


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So how about a Firewire case and drive?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 8, 2013 10:31 AM PDT
In reply to: I believe there was,
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That would do nicely
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / April 8, 2013 10:28 PM PDT

and a very good price on the enclosure.


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I own one of those cases.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 8, 2013 10:47 PM PDT
In reply to: That would do nicely

It's very nice looking. And as you can see, looks like a miniature Mac Pro.

As performance went up on 2.5 inch drives over the past few years and they are not as expensive as before I've picked up more 2.5 inch drives for use in such cases. It's very simple to mount such with either an adapter or something we make at the office.

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old imac
by spcollect / May 9, 2013 4:53 AM PDT
In reply to: Old iMac won't boot

Have you thought of taking it to the Genius Bar at an Apple store? Make an appointment. They will tell you if it can be fixed and what it would cost. They have saved me many many times and all but one time it was free.

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The answer you will probably get from the Genius Bar
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / May 9, 2013 6:44 AM PDT
In reply to: old imac

is "we don't deal with anything that old!"

There is no doubt that this machine is repairable. It's a reasonably easy task, as long as you can use a Phillips head screwdriver.
Nothing too technical and all the plugs only fit one way into their own holes.


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