View Full Version : iMac Drive Replacement

02-10-2010, 12:27 PM
Recently I had to replace my hard drive in my 24" iMac. Thanks, Rick for the Seagate Barracuda 1.5TB replacement! Getting into the newer iMacs is not as easy as it looks, and it looks difficult! There is only one screw on the whole dang thing.. it's to the ram memory access door. Removing it will give you access to the ram memory and that's all. So it was off to Dr Internet for a bit of schooling for me.

After reading up on the process It was off to walmart's bed and bath department for a towel rack. Yes a towel rack. This towel rack to be precise

Then to the Electronics section for a towel. You heard me.

Also to Autozone for some ball bearings, 3&1 oil and some gauze pads.. no sorry I meant a Torx bit set (T6 through T9) size

A bit of modification was needed to the towel rack though. I guess I should take a moment and describe the towel rack... it is a center retraction dual suction cup model. You stick the suction cups to your iMac... err I mean shower wall and then fold the handle down. This retracts the center of the cups to create suction. Anyway the cups have a plastic cap over the top that needed to be removed so you have the handle and the suction cups but no plastic over the cups there by disabling the retraction ability.

I'm sorry what was I talking about? Oh yeah iMac hard drive replacement...

Ok with the towel rack in my dominant hand, I slammed the towel rack into my iMac screen. Slammed may not be the right term.. carefully and easily might be better. Yeah. Then gently pulling the towel rack the glass front of the iMac came up a bit. After getting my fingers under it I carefully removed it to a safe place. Yeah slam and yank. It's held on by magnets. The lengths Apple goes to to hide a screw amazes me. You will now see the LCD itself, and screws LOTS of screws...

All different lengths of screws so be prepared to keep track of which one goes where.

Torx your way through the many screws around the screen to loosen the aluminum (silver) cover and when it won't come off remove that one screw from the ram access door.. yes it has to come out too. Carefully lift the aluminum frame off the iMac. Not too far though you will need to disconnect the iSight cable. After that you can set aside the cover.

At this point you will realize that a couple extra arms are quite handy in this process.

Now remove the 8 torx screws along the right and left sides of the LCD. Slightly lifting the LCD you will see the 3 cables connecting it to what's left of your iMac. You will need to disconnect these cables. One is a simple plugin, one is a plugin held with two tiny screws (some younger eyes are helpful) These are located along the bottom edge of the LCD. The third is under the LCD. So carefully lift the LCD a bit and with your third arm remove the tape covering the LCD end of the cable and unplug it. This was a very tight plug so patience is a virtue in removing it. you may now set the LCD aside... in a safe place. Away from all children, dogs, cats, tools, spouses and lunch.

WHOA! There's the hard drive! Remember the hard drive? This is a post about the hard drive.

All this build up and that dang hard drive snaps in place with a big plastic clip of the same technology that holds the battery cover in place on all the remotes in the world. Kind of anti climactic isn't it.

Anyway remove the temp sensor (it's just stuck there with some sticky) then unplug the power and data cable. Grab the plastic clamp and squeeze and lift. You have now removed the hard drive.

Transfer the hardware from the old drive to your New Seagate Barracuda from MacGurus.. um yeah two studs on one side and the plastic snap clip battery cover thingy on the other, then snap that bad boy in place. Replace the temp sensor cables, LCD, Aluminum frame, ram door and glass cover! Bingo done.

One gotcha, there is a piece of silver foil-like material around the ram access area that likes to end up in the way when you go to replace the ram door. I did not find a good way to keep this in place YMMV

Fire it up from your external hard drive or DVD boot disc and format your new toy

I believe my house has 6-7 TB of total storage.. sweet!

BTW when your iMac is apart it would be a great time for you to blow the dust out of it with a can of compressed air.
Then use your towel to wipe the LCD and inside of the glass. I chose NOT to use any liquids on the LCD.

02-10-2010, 02:16 PM
Nice. :kickass:

Apple recommends a sticky dust picker-upper to be sure the bare, uncoated LCD is dust and debris free. Yes, the LCD is uncoated as it is protected by the glass. But it also means it is more delicate than what we are used to on a typical laptop, which has a anti-scratch protective coating.

So be careful with your naked LCD!!

02-10-2010, 03:32 PM
WoW, I hope mine never dies. This thread might overwhelm my neighbor friend that helps me out with that stuff. Great info, thanks

02-10-2010, 07:35 PM
Exposing that LCD will let you know EXACTLY how much dust is floating around your house.

I think I need to say again, it might not be a good idea to use any chemical on a naked LCD. I have no knowledge of this and chose to err on the side of 'imma big chicken'

The new drive spins silent but like every seagate I have ever had it has accessing noise. I can hear the heads grunting. Which I could not hear on the WD drive I replaced. Seagate has always been fast and reliable but not the quietest drive on the block. I like that tradeoff.

02-10-2010, 11:19 PM
Wow very nice explanation! Very easy to follow the steps, harder to do. This should be kept on this sight for a very long time. Why heck if I didn't have AppleCare, and I won't one day, I might have to refer to this. Most likely I will.
So Thanks & a

Job well done Damien!

08-23-2010, 06:04 AM
Hello my friends,
Have not posted in quite a while...
Limited budget bla, bla bla...
Health issues to bla, bla bla
Need to update many things here....
Currently using an iMac G5... yes always way behind current tech.
Got it refurbishment at a great price.
Several outboard back-up drives but have not got into th innards.
Playing with Winders also, only because people ask me...
Better but " The Song remains the Same ".
As far as music...
I dumped Digi and am running with a 16 channel DAW,
and a 16 channel 1/2 " Fostex analog Reel to Reel.
I love old school...
Designing and rebuilding old tube guitar amps.
nuff for now...

08-23-2010, 09:04 PM
Hey David, good to see you.

Don't feel like you have to keep up with the Joneses. I am on a G5 for my workstation. I have a MacPro sitting here for a test station but feel no need as yet to replace the G5. Only issue I have with it is it ramps up the fans when it plays a video, even little ones.

Come on back soon.


08-23-2010, 11:15 PM

Two wayward Mods popping by in the last week or so......good times. :dance:

08-24-2010, 12:30 AM
Wayward Mod's ??
Who is the other?

08-24-2010, 09:55 AM
MacJapan has graced up with his presence too.

08-24-2010, 09:09 PM
An excellent post by Damien.
But as Randy said,
Sounds intimidating,
Hope I never have to go there !!!

08-24-2010, 09:11 PM
Better fetch some brew's... :D Brother Nicholas was here not long ago to. Party time. :dance:

05-25-2011, 12:14 AM
Hi brothers,
The G5 dual 1.8 turned out to be a bit of a nightmare !!!
First the drive failed,no boot disc for Leopard...
Then memory problems
Finally running like a champ..
4 gigs of memory,
2 500 GB SATA drives,
and a new install disc of Leopard.
Next, I'll try the cap repairs on the Imac....
I'll keep you posted

05-25-2011, 11:03 AM

Think of all the stuff you learned! :D

Glad you are now up and running. Life is good.


05-25-2011, 12:14 PM
Thanks Rick...
and all my other teachers.
God bless you all.

12-16-2015, 01:07 PM
WoW, I hope mine never dies. This thread might overwhelm my neighbor friend that helps me out with that stuff. Great info, thanks

Well mine just dumped so I'm going to give it a try and put a SSD into my late 2012 iMac a 2.9GHz quad-core i5.

I've been chatting with Rick some but any thoughts or inputs or cautions are much appreciated.

Now to find a 512GB SSD to fit right.

10-25-2018, 06:37 PM
I hope mine never go die...
Great info, thanks