Model A1311 / Late 2009 / 3.06 or 3.33 GHz Core 2 Duo processor

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Replaced bad hard drive. Now what?

I'm replacing a bad Hard drive in my 2009 21.5" IMac and while I'm at it upgrading the RAM to 16Gb.

I have no start-up discs and failed to get anything backed up. So what do I do when I get the new HD and RAM install?

Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

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Fist thing here is you'll need to identify who's HD your system has as you'll need to replace it with the same vendors drive (i.e. WD for a WD or a Seagate for a Seagate). If you want to use a different vendors drive you'll need to get the correct thermal sensor cable for your new drive.

Cable, Temp sensor, Hard Drive:

  • 922-9215 - Hitachi drive
  • 922-9216 - Seagate drive
  • 922-9217 - Western Digital drive

The HD you get needs to run at SATA II (3.0 Gb/s). You'll need to check the spec sheet of the HD you plan to get to make sure it will work. As an example here is a Seagate SSHD drive speck sheet: Seagate Desktop SSHD spec sheet. Here you'll note the line: SATA Transfer Rates Supported (Gb/s) and it offers 6.0/3.0/1.5 Which is SATA III, II & I all three supported (auto sensing).

Here's the IFIXIT guide for your system: iMac Intel 21.5" EMC 2308 Hard Drive Replacement to help you out.

OK, now what?:

Well you'll need to find a friend who has a Mac as you'll need to setup a USB thumb flash drive as a bootable disk and then copy over to it the OS installer so you can prep and install a fesh copy of OS. Your other option is to get a SATA to USB adapter cable and then setup your drive directly off of your friends system. Be careful here as you'll need to get an adapter which has an external power supply for this to work.

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I've got the hard drive ordered from ifixit. Same brand that was in it. (Seagate) I've already removed the bad HD. I'm hoping to get my data recovered off of the old HD.

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You'll need to get a externally powered SATA to USB adapter cable or external case (FireWire would be better) to house your old drive if you want to try to recover the files your self. Otherwise you'll need to send it out to a data recovery service if you can't gain access to the drive or don't want to harm what you have on there now. This will be quite expensive! Are you sure the data is worth it? Don't you have a backup of any of it?


This one of those deals where we meant to back it up, but didn't. Lesson learned! My wife has about 23,000 pictures stored on it. I've got to give it a shot. I'm going to try prosoft's data recovery software first.


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rkf63k10 will be eternally grateful.
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