Sick iMac Takin it to Genius Bar Need to Erase HD

Sharunda

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Jun 16, 2008
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#1
Hey everyone, Just wanted to pose the question here. I am handling this tonight when I get home from work and I figured I would call Apple Customer Service but if I can get help here before tonight then why not.

My iMac's 1TB HD has been clicking for months now (have a ticket in about this and was told that the HD was going and could go any minute). My hubby and I are finally taking it in to the Genius Bar tomorrow morning. Well, I was told to make sure the iMac is backed up on TimeMachine - check. Erase the HD of everything - :unsure: Okay, how do I do that? I haven't taken the few seconds to use the finder function in order to learn how to do this. LAZY! I know, but in my defense, when I get home I am busy too many things to do so I haven't had time. Besides that, I'm waiting until the absolute last minute because I am still using my computer and I want to make sure all of my HD is backed up and then I'll erase everything.

Well, my questions are:

Is using the TimeMachine back up accurate enough? Will It definitely mirror image EVERYTHING that is on my computer right now so I can restore it after it is repaired? Is there anything special I have to do to make sure EVERYTHING is copied and saved and ready for my restore?

How do I completely erase everything on my iMac after I back up on TimeMachine?

Any help would be GR8!
 

emhcee

Member
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Apr 4, 2008
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#2
I haven't used TimeMachine much, so can't help with the completeness/veracity question. As for erasing the drive, it's pretty simple to use Disk Utility from the installation disks, just select the drive in the list on the left and then click the 'erase' button in the middle.
 

Sharunda

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Jun 16, 2008
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#3
Thanks for your help emhcee! I will get those disks out and do that after I do the TimeMachine thing. Wasn't sure I would need the disks at all, but I'm glad I know where they are.

Thanks again!
 

acosmichippo

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Sep 10, 2007
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#4
Time Machine is pretty good, though not without occasional issues. Wouldn't be a bad idea to make another backup in addition to time machine. Superduper is free and awesome for HDD images. If I were in your situation, I'd do the time machine deal in addition to Superduper as an added layer of redundancy.

To erase your main HDD:
-Disconnect all of your backup drives if they aren't already.
-Insert your OSX installation disc and shut down your iMac.
-Turn it back on and hold "D" to boot to the disc.
-Once it's booted up, go to Utilities->Disk Utility.
-Select your main hard drive in the left column
-Open the "Erase" tab at the top of that window.
-Click on the "Security Options..." button at the bottom of that window.
-Here you are presented with a little slider bar. To completely over-write data, I'd just do the second option: the one that says "This option writes a single pass of zeros over the entire disk..." Any more than that is basically unnecessary, but if you don't mind the time it'll take to do it (3-7 times longer, which can be a VERY long time if you have a large HDD), go for it. Click "OK" there once you've chosen the erase method.
-Click on "Erase..." at the bottom of the "Erase" tab to start the erasure.
 

ReeseyCup79

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Jun 7, 2010
305
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Greenback, TN
#5
Just curious, how long have u had this 1TB hard drive before it started to fail?
 

Sharunda

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Jun 16, 2008
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One Horse Town, New Jersey
#6
Thank you so much for those instructions and for the Superduper link. That's great to make perfectly sure I have everything.

I tell you, I wasn't a fan of the idea of erasing the HD, but I guess I have to if it'll be replaced and not fixed. I guess once the clicking starts then that's the deathnull and there is no fixing it, just plucking it out and replacing it. So I have to get over that fear quick cause it's going down anyway.

Oooh, One question though, do you think I can ask them and be successful in getting them to give me a 2TB HD to replace the 1TB. I'd pay the difference. Do you think it can even be done? Is it as simple as switching out the HD?
 

Sharunda

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Jun 16, 2008
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One Horse Town, New Jersey
#7
Just curious, how long have u had this 1TB hard drive before it started to fail?
7 months exactly. I remember the first call was in October and I got the computer in March.

But wait it could have been doing it in late September and I finally called in October.
 

acosmichippo

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Sep 10, 2007
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#8
If a hard drive starts failing, it's never repaired. It would be very complicated to isolate the failure, not to mention not very cost effective.

And yeah, upgrading to a 2TB is as simple as just swapping out the HDD. I'm not sure what Apple's policy is, but it would be very easy for them to do so. Not sure if they'd have any objections especially if you paid for the difference.
 

Sharunda

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Jun 16, 2008
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#9
I guess that makes sense. It would be a waste to bother repairing an HD especially if you can just get a new one.

Thanks about the confirm on the only swapping out the HDD. I thought it would have been a little more complicated, but I am gald it's not. I think I should swap it out because I should have gotten a 2TB in the 1st place. Hubby wanted to save $. We only have 200GB of space availale on this HDD as it is and we have to get another external HD to store more stuff on besides the TimeMachine 2TB we currently have. That thing only has about 800GB left on it.

Now if I can convince Hubby to spend a little extra $ on the additional HDD that would be GR8!
 

ReeseyCup79

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Jun 7, 2010
305
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Greenback, TN
#10
I'd like to get a solid state drive and use the other for backup. Just wish they weren't so darn expensive. Plus I think the biggest SSD u can get for the iMac at the moment is 256GB. 512GB for the Mac pro. Oh well,, just another item for my wish list.
 

Sharunda

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Jun 16, 2008
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#11
I wanted a Solid State 1TB or 2TB drive when I bought the computer but they didn't offer it. I needed the space so I had to get the 1TB Serial drive they offered, now I need a 2TB. I guess as long as the computer is covered replacing the drive is just a little inconvenient.
 

Sharunda

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Jun 16, 2008
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One Horse Town, New Jersey
#12
If a hard drive starts failing, it's never repaired. It would be very complicated to isolate the failure, not to mention not very cost effective.

And yeah, upgrading to a 2TB is as simple as just swapping out the HDD. I'm not sure what Apple's policy is, but it would be very easy for them to do so. Not sure if they'd have any objections especially if you paid for the difference.
I called the Apple Store and told them what I want to do with the HDD and I was told that they DO NOT upgrade the HDD to a 2TB. They will only swap out the faulty HDD for one just like it. No exceptions. OMG! That sucks! There is an authorized Apple Tech place in the city that will swap it out for a 2TB HD for a fee and for a wait of 24 to 48 hours. So It's not going to happen. We live in Jersey and we are going to NY to do this and we are not waiting 48 hours to go and pick the computer up. I would, but I have to work and the travel is a pain in the ass. Plus I don't want to be without the computer this weekend.

So hopefully they can just swap it out tomorrow at the Apple store right then and there and there will be no wait because we have got to get our computer back the sme day.
 

acosmichippo

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#13
I'd ask the Genius you talk to tomorrow. I wouldn't be surprised if they did it for you anyway.
 

Lon

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Jun 5, 2010
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#17
What happened with your iMac at the Apple Store?
 

Sharunda

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Jun 16, 2008
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One Horse Town, New Jersey
#18
Time Machine is pretty good, though not without occasional issues. Wouldn't be a bad idea to make another backup in addition to time machine. Superduper is free and awesome for HDD images. If I were in your situation, I'd do the time machine deal in addition to Superduper as an added layer of redundancy.

To erase your main HDD:
-Disconnect all of your backup drives if they aren't already.
-Insert your OSX installation disc and shut down your iMac.
-Turn it back on and hold "D" to boot to the disc.
-Once it's booted up, go to Utilities->Disk Utility.
-Select your main hard drive in the left column
-Open the "Erase" tab at the top of that window.
-Click on the "Security Options..." button at the bottom of that window.
-Here you are presented with a little slider bar. To completely over-write data, I'd just do the second option: the one that says "This option writes a single pass of zeros over the entire disk..." Any more than that is basically unnecessary, but if you don't mind the time it'll take to do it (3-7 times longer, which can be a VERY long time if you have a large HDD), go for it. Click "OK" there once you've chosen the erase method.
-Click on "Erase..." at the bottom of the "Erase" tab to start the erasure.
GR8 instructions. Mosty correct except for one important part:
Turn it back on and hold "D" to boot to the disc.
The "D" should have been a "C" and that caused a slight problem until I called Apple. The guy on the phone said I had to press "C" instead of "D". D is just for a hardware check.

Other than that, the instructions were AWESOME and I appreciate you taking the time to write them out for me. Very Very helpful!

I was able to erase my iMac and my hubby was happy.

Now, that was the good/easy part. The rest of it, not so much fun.

1. Got the iMac all packed up in the original boxes, all secure! CHECK!

2. Caught the Train on time to NYC. - People on the train were LAZY xxxxxxxxx. My hubby and I are sitting in two seats that were facing each other with our $3,000 computer in the box on the floor between us. THERE WAS NO ROOM! When I say there was no room, I mean there was no room. A few people did that hover in the area looking at the box holding their bag thing, thinking I or my husband would offer them a seat. It didn't happen. Nope, becaue THERE IS NO ROOM! Now one broad took a seat across from us and then gave it to someone else and turned around and pointed to a spot that didn't exist saying, "Can I squeeze in there?" I told her to get moving there is no room. Now, at this time, hubby and I had already turned down four other people who were too lazy to walk up the isle and get available seats so I had no idea why she thought she could sit there after we had already turned several people down. People are ass holes and I thought I would have to get into a physical altercation with someone. THERE WERE SEATS UP THE ISLE! I SAW THEM! There was no reason to even think it was possible to squeeze in, because there was no room!

Honestly, if there was actual room, between a 65lb computer a 6'4" man and, 5' 9" woman with a large purse and no open seating area for someone to "Squeeze" in, i would have no problem with someone sitting there, but like money isn't elastic, iMac's don't bend because they are not made of rubber. These idiots are worthless and tried to make my ride unpleasant. I hate commutters. They are lazy and stupid. Just walk up the isle and get any of the 50 seats available!

3. Get off the train and go out to take a cab to 5th Ave Apple Store. Had to wait on line for 50 minutes to get a cab and changed our appointment twice. Hubby called the Apple store and the Geniuses were so unerstanding and had no problem changing our appointment as we were having quite a time getting there.

4. We get there and its a mad house but its organized chaos and it worked out. We only waited ten minutes before a Genius saw us. The Genius was awesome. He did the diagnostic test on the hardware which came up that nothing was wrong. It would have helped that the HDD was not whiped clean cause he could have done some other testing. Hey, hubby wanted the HDD free of all personal info as he doesn't know what they do back there. Okay then.

5. Apple Genius would not upgrade our 1TB to a 2TB since they had to change out the HDD anyway he said they do not do that. He wouldn't do it. SH*T! We have to buy yet another external HD, GR8!

6. Worst yet, we have to wait 5 to 7 days to get the iMac back, so I'm dealing with a little iMac withdrawl right now and its not fun. I'm jonsing so hard right now its like a Less Than Zero situation! For real though! For Real!

7. Last night the worst thing happened on True Blood. They killed Tara! WTF! She better come back some how. Hopefully someone has some vampire blood to give her next season cause I can't take her not being on the cast. That just blows!

8. Now, I'm @ work.
 

Lon

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Jun 5, 2010
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#19
Sounds like quite the adventure. Sorry you didn't get your upgrade at the end of the story. Better luck on the return trip. :)
 

acosmichippo

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Sep 10, 2007
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#20
Ah, sorry bout the D/C thing. brain fart. glad you got it sorted though.