IMac G5 drive replacemnt

  • Posted: 01 July 2012 02:05 PM

    My 2004 iMac 20” G5 computer’s internal hard drive has just crashed and is inoperable and I need to replace it. I’m not sure what to get to do that. I’ve taken the drive out, it is a Western Digital WD Caviar SE Serial ATA Hard Drive holding 160 GB of storage. I was able to back up the material on the drive after it went unbootable using Disk Utilities’ restore function.

    My goal is to replace it with a similar or close to similar drive, but have no idea as to what get. I’m not looking for more storage, being a Power PC it can’t run a lot of the things I run on my laptop. But it is useful. I’m not looking to spend more than a $100 on a new drive. At the time of it’s failure it was running the latest version of Tiger (I have the disks to install it again).

    Any thoughts or suggestions as to what I should purchase and where?

    Using an external usb hard drive I tried to create a bootable drive to run the iMac externally in the interim, but to no avail. I can boot up the Tiger CD and Disk Warrior, so I know the computer works. I can also work with it in Terminal mode from my Laptop, which is a 2007 Macbook running Lion. Unfortunately the laptop will not boot into the Tiger disks to allow me to do anything in Tiger.

  • Posted: 06 July 2012 12:42 AM #1

    I had to replace the internal hard drive of my iMac G5, due to the original one getting corrupted. I was not able to repair or boot from the old one using either Disk Utility or Disk Warrior, but was ale to get all of the data from it to an external drive using themRestore function of Disk Utility. So followwing advice I went to and ordered a new hard drive, which I installed today.
    With the new drive installed, I booted up the iMac with the Tiger install disk. It couldn,t find the hard drive until I went into disk utility and erased the drive to format it. It then began the install of Tiger. At the end of the install it asked to shutdown or restart the computer. I chose restart. When it restarted it couldn’t find the internal drive no matter what way I tried. About an hour later I tried to start it again and it booted up. I did a disk utility check and permissions repair on the drive and all came out clear. I ran software update to update to the latest version on 10.4. It froze during the restart phase and I had to do a forced shutdown. Again starting it up again it couldn’t find the internal drive. I’ve checked the connections and when it does boot up Disk utility says the disk is fine, but most of the time I just get the Folder and Question mark screen for “No hard drive found”.

    What can I do to resolve this? I can’t afford a new machine, and Apple considers it Obsolete.

  • Posted: 07 July 2012 02:01 PM #2

    In the latest attempt I booted the machine using the G5 install disks and ran disk utility. It saw the drive so I repartitioned it to make sure it was formatted. Then I tried to use retore from Disk Utility to put the backup of the damaged drive onto one of the partitions. It ran for over 8 hours, copying blocks until it froze 2/3s of the way to completion. Of course after force shutting it down, it couldn’t find the internal drive again when I started it up again.

  • Avatar

    Posted: 08 July 2012 10:19 AM #3

    Sounds like the controller has died. Your original drive may be perfectly fine.

  • Posted: 08 July 2012 12:08 PM #4

    If the original drive was okay, wouldn’t that have shown up when I accessed it from my macbook with my iMac in Target mode? Dsk Utility and Disk Warrior still couldn’t read or fix it. Only replace allowed me to get info off of it to an external hard drive. None of those replacements have been bootable.

  • Avatar

    Posted: 11 July 2012 03:34 PM #5

    Interesting. Yes, Disk Utility (or, at the very least, System Profiler) should show you all connected (and functioning) drives (presuming the controller is good).


    -Dave Hamilton / The Mac Observer / Mac Geek Gab / Dave on Twitter
    When you find a big kettle of crazy, it’s best not to stir it.

  • Avatar

    Posted: 11 July 2012 06:54 PM #6

    I would think that, even in target disk mode, you would still have to operate the disk controller.

  • Posted: 07 August 2012 12:41 AM #7

    Wow.. this sounds so familiar to me.

    A few years back, my way-out-of-warranty 2005 PowerPC Mac Mini suddenly gave me that sickeningly frightening restart your computer in various languages message. Disk Warrior got it back, but stated errors. The second time it did this, Disk Warrior could not solve the problem.

    Popped the case off and replaced the internal hard drive with a new, much larger one from OWC.  Formatted the drive and tried to install Tiger. Failed and would not see the internal drive.

    Popped the case and replaced the drive with yet another Hard drive. Same thing. Baffled, I turned to OWC. They apologized and said that it had to be that the RAM had gone bad. As I had gotten the 1 GB RAM stick from them and it was under life time warranty, even though it was three years old, they insisted on sending me a new one, free. (OWC is awesome!)

    Popped the case, again, and put in the new 1 GB RAM and that new, much larger Hard Drive. (Yes.. I was developing putty knife blisters, at this point.) Reformatted the drive and then I decided to go for broke and install Leopard and the iLife suite from the new boxed set (at the time). All installed just fine.

    The Mac Mini boots really fast and runs like it was always meant to run Leopard!

    I am using it right now to rip a 30 disc Teaching Company course into iTunes.

    I don’t know if any of this helps you.

    Good luck. Hope you find the solution.

    Let us know.