Last week the HD in my mother-in-law’s hand-me-down iMac went the way of the dodos and crashed, loosing all the information on it.
Did you know you can burn a copy of Ubuntu (I used 12.10) to a CD and it will load and boot on a mac, even with EFI firmware ? This helped me verify that the disk was indeed dead and non-salvagable (it was the /Users directory that was totally destroyed !).
The 24 inch screen is still great, the CPU (an 2,16 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo) is a bit slow nowadays but still more than good enough for surfing and showing photos and playing music, so I figured why not replace the hard disk and save some money ?
I visited iFixit.com and checked if they had a repair guide for that particular iMac model and sure enough it was there. I bought the necessary hard drive and Torx screwdrivers, and I have just now succesfully replaced the failed 500 GB disk with a 2TB disk.
When I subsequently booted from the Snow Leopard disk, it couldn’t see the drive, but a quick trip to the disk utility made it show itself, and I was able to format it and continue the installation – everything is just fine, thanks to those iFixit people !
Note that iFixit is a free service, but you can help them out by buying repair tools or hard disks from them, or writing your own guide.
I figured I could help point some people in the right direction – they have an amazing amount of DIY repair manuals !
PS – for those who break the temperature sensor on the HD or the wires (I didn’t) : there’s a software solution for that !