Best How-To For iMac Hard Drive Replacement?
August 16, 2011 11:39 AM   Subscribe

I am about to come into possession of a 20" iMac that needs a new hard drive. I've swapped plenty of HDDs in and out of PC towers, but my understanding is that it's trickier to do in an iMac. What is, hands-down, the best how-to on the web that will walk me through how to do this?
posted by DWRoelands to Technology (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: ifixit. It's surprisingly easy, just take your time, count the screws, and be meticulously clean about dust behind the glass.
posted by lantius at 11:44 AM on August 16, 2011

Best answer: I replaced the HD in my 27" iMac using an iFixit guide and it was great. They do a good job of mentioning every single screw that needs to be kept track of. I used an egg carton to keep the screws in for each step.

I also had a good experience using an iFixit guide to replace the wireless card in a MacBook.
posted by zsazsa at 11:45 AM on August 16, 2011

That very much depends on the model of iMac. If it's an iMac G5, look no further than the instructions on Apple's support website. Beyond that, I've consistently heard good things of, although I've never had cause to use their guides.
posted by fearnothing at 11:46 AM on August 16, 2011

I've had good luck with iFixit guides for opening up several Apple laptops. Another way to keep track the screws is to print the guide out and tape screws to it where it tells you to remove them. No mixing the screws up that way.
posted by JiBB at 11:54 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

I am pretty sure the 20" pre-dates the drives with temp sensors (which pre-date the ones with over-the-cable temp sensors) but I'd double check. I ended up having to re-open mine and short the temp sensor (which is a half-assed solution in and of itself).

I found it easy, but I'd suggest setting aside a large flat space to do it in. For the suction cup I actually was able to use the one that came with a halogen bulb light fixture. If you don't have one of those you might consider using a shower mirror or something like that.
posted by phearlez at 12:30 PM on August 16, 2011

Response by poster: Thank you! Man, that looks really really intimidating.
posted by DWRoelands at 12:42 PM on August 16, 2011

The old white iMac G5s were really easy to work on. Loosen three screws on the bottom, pop the back off, and you're in. The newer ones are a bitch to work on.
posted by adamrice at 1:27 PM on August 16, 2011

Hey, video can help with the intimidation factor.
posted by circular at 3:08 PM on August 16, 2011

Once you get a hold of the ifixit guide, it's very much a step by step process. I followed the ifixit guide for replacing the HD on my 24" iMac and it worked wonderfully. One thing that helps me when I am worried is taking a meticulous amount of pictures during each step of disassembly so I can use them to put everything together. Since it's all digital, I can delete the pictures when I'm done.
posted by Nackt at 5:32 PM on August 16, 2011

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