This past week, I've been having constant problems with my 2007 Aluminium iMac (2.4GHz, 3GB memory, 320GB HDD). I've been downloading using Transmission, and when (sometimes) stopping or starting a download, my Mac would hang to a state where the Force Quit dialog would not even activate, it would then stay in this state for as long as I let it. I had to force restart every time. After a few force restarts, it lost its start-up disk, and it takes longer than usual to boot up.
I got scared a bit and started backing up the HDD to an external last night. I was busy playing music in iTunes while backing up when I observed the following:
- Music would stop playing for a few seconds
- The beach ball would start spinning during this time
- Data transfer to the external drive would pause
- And I would hear a very soft spinning sound in the background, a repeating noise which leads me to believe the HDD is struggling to read/write.
Obviously the HDD has some sort of problem, however, rather than assuming it's failing, can I fix it in some way? Could it be a cache error or file system corruption which can be fixed with a clean install of Snow Leopard? Any way I can fix this without having to buy a new HDD?
BTW. I have run both Repair Permissions & Verify Disk multiple times on this drive, and Verify Disk always returns a green message which states the HDD is fine. Also, S.M.A.R.T. status shows as Verified in Disk Utility.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.