I had a terrible moment last week when I turned on my iMac, an audible clicking and humming that got progressively worse. On top of that, there was no familiar Apple logo, instead a flashing folder icon with a question mark… no hard drive found!
So the question now was, do I replace the hard drive myself or take it to the shop? Always up for a challenge, I ordered an replacement 500GB drive for NZ$86 and jumped onto YouTube to see if any one had posted a how-to movie. Thankfully they had, there were a couple of excellent video walk throughs for replacing hard drives on a 20″ or 24″ iMac. Apple also provide an instructional DIY pdf. My model is a 20″ Late 2006 iMac, the last before the aluminum models came out.
So feeling pretty confident, the hard drive arrived and I got stuck in, only to discover that once I had the casing off and the LCD ready to come out, that my model iMac was different to both of those in the how-to videos and the Apple instructions.
The major differences are that the hard drive is located in the middle left side rather than the middle top, and that the LCD is connected with 3 cables (2 on the left and 1 at the bottom) rather than just 2.
So a few carefully considered cables detached and screws undone, the hard was replaced in no time at all. A Time Machine restore is happening as I type.
So the lesson to be learned is, back-up your data and back-it up frequently. If you own an Apple and are not using Time Machine, you should be. Hard drives can and do fail at any time.
Lesson number 2 is that DYI hard drive replacement is relatively easy in an iMac. Save yourself some dollars and give it a go.