View Full Version : Hard Drive Failing- How to use External?
December 2nd, 2011, 10:34 AM
I have a 24 inch imac intel purchased around 2008. I've had my computer freeze up when coming off sleep mode twice now. Each time it tells me to restart the computer and when I do I get the little question mark thing. When I tried to boot from install disk it would not list the hard drive. Each time this has happened I just leave it alone then come back and it boots normally. The computer is running now but I am afraid I am on borrowed time.
I know replacing the hard drive will run be about 300-400. To save money I was thinking of running my computer it from an external drive. Will that work? What kind of drive would I need? Any help would be appreciated I am kind of desperate.
December 2nd, 2011, 11:34 AM
Backup your HD NOW!! Carbon Copy Cloner is a good choice, among others.
HDs are not that expensive, certainly cheaper than an external, however, you will need one to back up (now, and in the future. Any external will work, properly formatted.
Here's a good source: http://eshop.macsales.com/
December 2nd, 2011, 04:56 PM
To add to SGilbert above, CCC and the one I use--SuperDuper!--will create bootable clones--which you can boot off of. This is important. This is critical. You should be quivering in anti . . .
. . . pation!
Internal HDs are not THAT expensive--I bought a replacement for my now somewhat RIP Macbook that has come to life http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u264/DoctorX_photos/Smilies/brood.gif
Now if you get the External HD--you can get 1-2 TB for under $200, you really need to get two. Why? So you can back up your primary drive. So should you frell up your volume or whatever that brings weepy posters to this site, you can simply boot off the clone of your primary drive and be happy :)
December 3rd, 2011, 12:39 AM
Same thing happened to me. I bit the bullet and had a 1.5 TB hard drive installed for under $200... but you do need a backup to restore all your stuff.
December 3rd, 2011, 06:58 PM
Back up immediately. If you get the chance do 2 back-ups.
1. With Carbon Copier (or Time Machine) to make an image of the installation including your system. Hang on to this for a few months until you are certain there is nothing you are missing.
2. A second as a straight copy of all your data files, music, photos, documents etc. You should have been having one of these anyway. This will be faster and easier to access than the one above which will be THE go back for archive.
To run an external drive you have several choices:
1. Fastest A FireWire 800 3.5" drive running off a power brick. You will pay extra for the FW and the power brick is less convenient but it will be the fastest you can get from an external drive.
2. Middling A USB 2.0/3.0 3.5" drive running off a power brick. Slower but still acceptable. The HDD will be the best price you can get. WD Elements are good.
3. Middling A FW800 passport type HDD. Very handy because there is no power brick. Faster than the USB above but you will pay extra. I was lucky and got some on special because they are usually marketed for Macs and PC users think they can't use them.
4. Perfectly OK but slower A USB 2.0/3.0 Passport drive. Slower but still acceptable. Handy because there is no power brick. The HDD will be a good price but less Gb/$. WD Passports are good.
Install a fresh system, mounted off your Installer DVD onto your proposed external HDD and clean up all your installation. Migrate your data and details across using Migration Assistant.
To boot up off your external drive either nominate it as the Start Up drive in System Preferences, or hold down the Option key on startup and choose it.
I have happily worked off external drives for years, often when I am transitioning up from another system. There is a varying speed hit but quite acceptable with modern Macs.
PS. To get the best out of any HDD especially the external drives, maximise your RAM to stop OSX paging to them. RAM is cheap now and you can easily top up with RAM from cheap PC BYO suppliers. They have RAM specially earmarked for Macs at a fraction of Apple's prices.