I have a "vintage" iMac with the following spec:

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I've been told by an official Apple store that they won't touch it and neither will any Apple resellers so it's left me with two options:

  1. Buy a new iMac!
  2. Fix it myself!

The problem I'm having is that when I turn the iMac on after it's warmed up it starts to make clicking/scratching noises. The screen flickers slightly and things struggle to load. I managed to run disk utility on it before these problems start and it coming up with lots of failures.

This all suggest to me it's the hard drive.

Is there anything else I can use to diagnose the specific problem? Would the above description point to a hard drive failure for you?

If that's the case I'm willing to spend £100 or so on a new hard drive (would this one be ok?) and attempt to fit it myself (following online guides!!).

Before I had problems, the iMac was running completely fine and not struggling with anything - even high spec games so you can see why I'm very reluctant to buy a new iMac... especially at £1500!

I feel like I'm being completely screwed over by Apple for not supporting a perfectly good machine, so much appreciated in advance for any help given!!

  • 2
    In what universe is a 2007 iMac "vintage"?!? I'm still running a 2003 eMac. Vintage Macs are the original all-in-one. Or at least something from the pre-clone era. – Daniel Oct 23 '13 at 12:15
  • @DanielLawson I know! That's how the Apple store and the Apple resellers described it. New phrase on me! – Rob Oct 23 '13 at 12:27

It's garbage to say that no reseller would touch it. I think you will find that any repair outlet, authorised or not, would gladly take your dollars in exchange for some service.

Having said that, they will charge, and while it's not a particularly easy Mac to repair, if you have basic screwdriver skills and the nerve to do it, you can fix this up youself just fine. I have the a similar machine, and did it myself.

You'll need to take a look at the guides on iFixit to know exactly what you need to do to replace the hard drive (and yes, it does sound like a hard drive fault to me also). The scariest bit is removing the glass and screen, as you'll need various tools such as suction cups etc (all explained in the guides).

While you are fixing it up, the single most useful upgrade you can do to give this elder statesman a shot in the arm is install an SSD instead of a regular HD. Trust me, it will be like a whole new machine!

  • I thought the same but literally no repair outlet will touch it... they actually said those words! Ok, I'm going to attempt the fix myself. Would this drive be ok - amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B008YAHW6I/…? Also can you explain the last paragraph a bit? I'm not sure what that means. Much appreciated for the help. – Rob Oct 23 '13 at 12:23
  • Ok I understand what the last paragraph means now, have you got any recommendations on Amazon for which one I should get? – Rob Oct 23 '13 at 12:35
  • 1
    So long as your iMac uses a SATA interface, then any SSD should be absoutely fine. It's likely SATA1, and these days you can only really buy SATA2 or 3 but they are all backwards compatible, and there is nothing you can buy that won't max out the theoretical max transfer rate your computer is capable of. So I would look to buying the cheapest one you can afford for the storage you need, although you may need to cater for a mounting plate if you are replacing a 3.5"HDD with a 2.5"SSD. – stuffe Oct 23 '13 at 14:42

From the sound of things it is likely the hard drive. An "easy" way to find out would be to attach an external HD and install the OS on that.

Be aware that depending on what is going on with the old HD it could eventually just prevent the Mac from booting as the Mac tries to access it even if it is NOT the boot drive.

Note that a USB drive would be SLOW, Firewire would be preferable and, while it is not as fast as SATA, would provide you with a generally usable/bootable Mac while you work up the courage to open it up and replace the drive ;-).


You could add an external hard drive, install Mac OS X on the external hard drive and move all of your data over before the internal drive dies completely.

This has the advantages of being relatively inexpensive, easy since you just plug in a new drive and use software to migrate your data, low risk, and fast. Opening an iMac is not easy or without a significant amount of risk.

  • Ok, thanks for the advice. As you hard drive seems to be affecting the screen (flickering etc) would that not affect it being on an external drive? Also, I fear the drive could burn something else out if left in the machine. – Rob Oct 23 '13 at 12:24
  • I've done this before. Once I had the old hard drive backed up I formatted it. After a while it stopped mounting at all. As far as the screen flicker goes, that is probably not related to the hard drive at all, but a bad video card or a cold solder joint. – Ɱark Ƭ Oct 23 '13 at 12:35

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