Replace Hard Drive on 24-inch iMac

April 23, 2010

I had posted about the hard drive failing on my 2-year old iMac here. Fortunately, I had a full backup and I did not lose any data. I moved the backup to a new 27-inch iMac. The 24-inch would be replacing my wife’s old Power-based G5 iMac.

When I looked to get a quote to replace the drive, prices were running around $300 – 400. I decided to perform the operation myself. The hard drive was $95 and the suction cups and screwdriver cost $15. Total time to repair was about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

The essentials included a Western Digital Caviar Green 1 TB hard drive, 4 kitchen suction cups and 1 set of Torx with T6 and T8 heads.

Step one was to remove the glass LCD cover. 4 suction cups. The cover came off very easily.

After the LCD glass cover, the next step was to remove the memory slot and then the screws which retain the Aluminum cover. Once the Aluminum cover was removed — it basically slid up and off — the actual LCD panel was revealed.

From here, the two LCD connectors needed to be unplugged. They were not too hard to find. One was on the right side held in place by two small screws. And the other was on the left side — there are very tiny letter markings which indicate an LCD supply line. Once the connectors were unplugged, the screws retaining the LCD display needed to be removed. The panel lifted up although there was still one more connector to unplug.

For this part of the operation, I needed another set of hands to hold the LCD display panel while I dealt with unplugging the power supply. It was not easy. The plug was difficult to leverage and I wound up removing four screws which held the power supply card so that I could get at the plug.

At this point, the hard drive was finally revealed.

The hard drive has two connectors: one for the SATA interface and the other for power. There is also a temperature sensor on the hard drive. Once disconnected, I had to remove two screws from the top of the hard drive to remove it from the computer. After about 45 minutes of work, success. I removed the dead hard drive. But did the patient survive?

I got hold of the new hard drive and placed it into the iMac and reversed my steps to get the machine back to its original state. Well, almost original. Now there was a 1 TB hard drive. My youngest son assisted me with the operation. And he took all of the photos.

After the machine was reassembled, I booted the machine, set up a partition and installed Snow Leopard. Everything worked fine. I used the migration assistant to transfer my wife’s files and applications. Hopefully the new hard drive lasts longer than the old one. And I know that Lorraine will be focused on maintaining her backups. As soon as I connect an external hard drive for Time Machine.

Trevor Dick May 1, 2010 at 9:12 pm

Cool! So that’s what the iMac looks like inside …


Matthew Cleaver May 4, 2010 at 2:20 pm

And even though that was my science period, I did not do anything to help with the mac besides memory and pictures.:(


Richard Cleaver May 4, 2010 at 3:07 pm

The force is with you, young Skywalker, but you are not a Jedi yet :-)


Matthew Cleaver November 1, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Oh yeah and the force ain’t real. The battle continues even after today. :)


Giora Fogel October 28, 2010 at 1:01 am

Works like charm, I did it 25 min but 28 screws in different sizes, what the hell…


Mike Lange December 21, 2010 at 1:23 pm

Thanks for the step by step procedure. It really saved me a lot of the pain of having to figure this out by myself. I was able to get in and out of the machine in 30 minutes thanks to this.


Derek Sundquist March 16, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Thanks for the post. I was back and forth between it and doing the work. Nice and easy. Mac Saver!!


Joe Azzato July 1, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Thanks Richard and Matthew! You made it real easy to replace my drive! I appreciate your taking the time to post this for everyone.

-Joe Azzato


Steven Starace July 28, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Thanks guys, this really helped me swap out my bad hard drive. My 24″ was a little different, I could have pressed in the black retainer and removed the hard drive without removing the screws (had to remove the isight to get access to the second screw), I saw that after I took it out.


Jerrold November 5, 2012 at 9:59 am

Nice post dude, just wondering what model iMac is that, I need to replace mine too but I’m on a mid 2007 model and was wondering does all 3.5″ internal HDD work on it or does it need to have to be from the same manufacturing company with the thermal sensor and what not, thanks in advance!


Pascal December 9, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Nice post, but on my iMac 24 the torx screw was T-9 not T-8, and T-9′s are hard to find other than that it was almost a piece a cake to do that with your guide and image


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