Curious iMac Hard Drive Failures

by Derrick Story

The old saying goes, "There are only two types of people: those who have had hard drive crashes, and those who will."

Well, I'm now a member of the former category.

I confess, I really like the iMac DV Special Edition I have sitting on my desk at home. I use it for everything from cutting digital video to balancing my books.

But suddenly one evening the hard drive started making this clanking noise that sounded like a tin ball bouncing around in a spray paint can. Then, a big thud was followed by eerie silence. I had just witnessed a death.

Of course my first emotion was denial. "Must have just been something weird," I said to myself as I hit the restart button. But denial was quickly followed by anger.

"The damn thing is dead!" I exclaimed as the cats scattered from the room nearly colliding with one another as they raced for the door.

My last full back-up had been nearly three weeks earlier. That's the problem with 13 GB drives: you can't exactly fit everything on a Zip disk, so back-ups are more laborous. It appeared that I was in danger of losing about 4 GBs of video and photos.

Fortunately (I guess), I discovered that if I let the drive rest for 24 hours, it would fire up again and run for 3 to 5 minutes before launching back in to its ball in a paint can impression. So, over the course of the next two weeks, I extracted the rest of my work megabyte by megabyte. It was painful.

But here's the kicker ... my boss, Dale, stopped by my desk one afternoon during my ordeal and remarked that his daughter's iMac DV SE had just had a hard drive failure. He and I had bought these Macs about the same time, in late 1999.

I'm wondering if we have a third party vendor problem here. If you've had a similar experience with a 13 GB iMac hard drive that's over a year old, please drop me a line at:

I'd like to hear your story.