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IMac hard drive

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#1 kboaz2001


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Posted 17 November 2016 - 02:47 PM

My 2011 iMac is acting like the hard drive is going bad. It freezes up on me, and I have to restart it using command+r, and reinstalling the OS. Does the iMac take a special hard drive, or will any hard drive do. Thank you so much!

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#2 Gorbulan


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Posted 17 November 2016 - 03:03 PM

The hard drives are not special, they are like any other drive. I believe they are not the 3.5" in traditional desktops, but the 2.5" drives you find in laptops. The 2011 could have been configured with an SSD, which is important to know if you want to replace it. 

#3 hamluis



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Posted 17 November 2016 - 03:05 PM




#4 smax013


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Posted 17 November 2016 - 10:39 PM

My 2011 iMac is acting like the hard drive is going bad. It freezes up on me, and I have to restart it using command+r, and reinstalling the OS. Does the iMac take a special hard drive, or will any hard drive do. Thank you so much!

They use a 3.5" standard desktop hard drive, although you can also use a 2.5" hard drive form factor that SSDs use if you wanted an SSD, but I believe you will need an adapter as shown in this link:


Doing the upgrade yourself is not really for the faint of heart. It is now where near as easy as opening up a Windows tower (or even many laptops) to swap a drive. You have to be willing to do fairly heavy deconstruction on your iMac. The exact process will depend on whether you have the 21.5" Mid 2011 model or the 27" Mid 2011 model. The respective instructions are below:

21.5": https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iMac+Intel+21.5-Inch+EMC+2428+Hard+Drive+Replacement/5954

27": https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iMac+Intel+27-Inch+EMC+2429+Hard+Drive+Replacement/7555

Now, there is one more VERY important thing to note. Apple engaged in practice of "we do not want to upgrade or replace the drives" in the Late 2009 through Late 2011 iMac models and thus did things to make that process difficult (beyond the physically difficult process of actually replacing a drive). Here is a page on Everymac.com that gives lots of information:


The specifically relevant part is down further on the page just above some videos for the process. Here it is:

For the "Mid-2011" models, OWC once more touched off a firestorm across the blogosphere by reporting that Apple had gone even further in the company's effort to restrict hard drive upgrade options:

For the main 3.5" SATA hard drive bay in the new 2011 machines, Apple has altered the SATA power connector itself from a standard 4-wire power configuration to a 7-wire configuration. Hard drive temperature control is regulated by a combination of this cable and Apple proprietary firmware on the hard drive itself. From our testing, we've found that removing this drive from the system, or even from that bay itself, causes the machines hard drive fans to spin at maximum speed and replacing the drive with any non-Apple original drive will result in the iMac failing the Apple Hardware Test (AHT). . .
We've installed our Mercury Pro 6G SSD in that bay, it too results in ludicrous speed engaged fans and an AHT failure. In short, the Apple-branded main hard drive cannot be moved, removed or replaced.

Needless to say, the obstacles to upgrade the hard drive in these models was quite disappointing. Thankfully, OWC's SSD Upgrade DIY Kits now overcome all of these obstacles for each line and taking the computer apart and putting it back together again is the remaining challenge.

As noted in the last line, OWC does now offer a kit that will supposedly over come the issue. You can find either a hard drive solution or SSD solution here either in a kit with just the "solution module" or a kit with the "solution module" and the tools needed to take apart the Mac:


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