Poor Old iMac's Alzheimers' cured with new HD
5 - 15 minuten
Basically, my original hard drive has served well for the last 8 years, but was finally fading. It just couldn't handle being the boot drive anymore, and kept getting lost when I tried to boot from it. In Recovery mode, it would only sometimes appear in Disk Utility: sometimes looking just fine, sometimes appearing as an unreadable unformatted disk, and sometimes just not showing up at all. Booting from an external drive, I did manage to salvage all of my files, but even booting from the external, the internal just sometimes didn't feel like playing. I tried everything to salvage it, including several reformats and reinstalls, but nothing would save it. For about 2 weeks, I just lived with simply booting from the external all the time, never knowing if the internal would be in a mood to work. But it's a USB external, not something smoother like a Firewire, so I just wasn't enjoying my old Mac as much as I usually do. So I decided to get a new drive.
The repair went very smoothly. I've opened it up before to dust it out, so that wasn't so difficult. Once you pop the glass, the bezel, and the screen off of it, it's just a simple matter of popping the old HD out and the new one in. Probably my biggest difficulty was that my big fuzzy cat was intensely curious about the process, and stray cat hairs kept getting inside, especially between the LCD and the glass as I was trying to put it back together. Overall, it took me about an hour, but mostly because I was very curious myself, and spent a lot of time just looking at how the guts of the thing were all connected. I had fun, and I like that this new drive is significantly larger.
I had so much fun with it that I kind of wish I could do more upgrades to it, like swapping in a more modern GPU. Alas, my research indicates that the 2600 it came with is the fanciest GPU it will accept. And it's still working fine, just getting dated. Oh well.
Keep the cat in another room.
Also, I think what ultimately did in my old HD was too much heat over the long-term. As it gets older, it seems like this iMac's automatic fan speeds are no longer accurate or sufficient, even if you dust it out regularly. I recommend any one of the many open source fan control programs out there to ramp up the fan speeds a bit. Try to keep things under 50° C if you can.