The pain of a crashed hard drive, or How to install an SSD in your Apple original 2007 alu Intel iMac 24-inch EMC 2134

It has only happened to me once before. In 2005, the hard drive in my Apple Powerbook 12-inch crashed. I replaced it, but lost a few months of emails and photos. I had bought the Powerbook only two years earlier.

I bought my iMac 24-inch in 2007, and I’ve waited since then for the next crash. It came yesterday. “What took you so long”, I mumbled as I set to work.

This time I was more prepared; the last backup was taken by Time Machine just 10 minutes or so before the crash. The only things I lost were the folders I had excluded from backups. Like emails for example, the few that came to my non-web-based addresses. (I don’t like them lying around unencrypted on the Time Capsule.) And the huge Download folder, containing 1000s of items that was such a mess that I didn’t want to include it in the backup. Now that it’s gone it’s almost a feeling of relief, like having thrown out a drawer that was always full and that you never really looked in anyway.

I had wanted to install an SSD in my iMac for some time – rumors had it would be like a rebirth and the computer would become faster than ever. And the rumors turned out to be true. There were many SSDs on K&M Computer (where I usually buy my computer stuff), but only one model (!) that was 3,5 inch: OCZ Vertex 2 120GB, 3.5″, SATA II. And they only had one of them in all Berlin. So I went to Alexanderplatz to buy it as soon as the shop opened. The seller actually told me that most 2,5 inch models come with a 3,5 inch dock, but I figured the 3,5 incher was like made for my iMac so I went with my original choice:

Then I gathered some TORX screwdrivers from my neighbors and set to work, with the help of OctoMac’s guide:

OctoMac’s guide in my Samsung netbook.

Glass went off with simple suction cups. Piece of cake.

Screwing off the frame.

Maintaining screw hygiene.

Instead of unhooking the cable to the webcam, which is mounted in the frame, I just flipped the frame backwards like that.

Very dusty interior. There are tools for blowing away the dust. I used my mouth and that worked too.

Off with the LCD screen.

Screw hygiene 2.

Unscrewing the screen’s DVI connector.

Second cable to the screen must be unhooked too.

But the third screen cable – the one where the power comes – seemed hard to unhook, so instead I just flipped up the screen like this and leaned it against a little bookshelf.

The hard drive.

A temperature chip, apparently.

Unscrewing the hard drive from the rack.

On the other side, it just slips out.

Taking out the bad hard drive.

Many parts marked with Foxconn. Makes me feel bad, but what can you do.

New SSD next to old HD.

Unscrewing the nice little “gliding poles” from the old hard drive before mounting them on the SSD.

Whoohooo, solid state of the art disk!

Slipping in the “gliding poles” in their holes.

Tightening the screws on the other side.

Mmmm. There’s much empty space underneath.

Attaching the temperature sensor again.

Silly me – when screwing the LCD in place again, I scratched the screen!!! Do you see it? I see it even as the computer is turned on. But I don’t mind. It doesn’t disturb since it’s in the menu bar. I’d rather think of it as a reminder of this little nice afternoon I spent dismounting my iMac.

Voilà! It worked.

And my computer is as fast as new. No, faster. The speed with which applications launch is most amazing. I recommend every Mac owner with an old and slow computer to replace the hard drive with a solid state drive. It truly gives new life to the computer. My only problem now is that spacewise I’ve downgraded from 320 to 120 GB.

5 thoughts on “The pain of a crashed hard drive, or How to install an SSD in your Apple original 2007 alu Intel iMac 24-inch EMC 2134

  1. Good job 🙂 And the space problem is easily fixed with an external HDD, hey? You should be able to get 2 TB for less than what you paid for the SSD.

  2. Exactly. In fact, I’m aiming more and more towards not really storing anything on my computer. It should be a “work station”, where things are copied when you’re working with them, but removed again once you’re finished. The things should be easy accessible and safely stored though. So instead of a regular external HDD, a raided NAS setup would probably be a good solution. And a cloud, though I’m yet to find a service that I can trust with my entartete stuff.

  3. Maybe SpiderOak would be something for you as a cloud storage service? In their FAQ they say: “SpiderOak never stores or knows a user’s password or the plaintext encryption keys which means not even SpiderOak employees can access the data”.

  4. Geee! Good work! It was very easy to put in an SSD in my old MacBook. But it also felt like buying a new computer. For 100 €, highly recommended. I think own-hosted cloud will be the thing. There are many open-source cloud softwares being developed.

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