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When I re­ceived Mac­For­mat is­sue 302, I was de­lighted to read about re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing an old iMac. I have a 2.4GHz, mid-2007 iMac with a 20-inch dis­play, a 1TB hard drive (which is less than half full) and 4GB mem­ory, and run­ning OS X 10.6.8. For some time now it has been over­heat­ing, and when asked to do any­thing it freezes up with the spin­ning beach ball.

It can take sev­eral min­utes to open apps, and fre­quently the grey screen ap­pears say­ing to power down. I have re­paired per­mis­sions and the drive us­ing Disk Util­ity with no no­tice­able im­prove­ment. None of the per­mis­sions are what they should be. Over the last few years I’ve been a reg­u­lar cus­tomer at dif­fer­ent Ap­ple re­pair­ers. Re­sults are only tem­po­rary, slight im­prove­ments, and the prob­lems are just get­ting worse.

Like me, the ma­chine is old and tired. But do I need to pen­sion it off, or can it be given a re­prieve? I didn’t re­ally want to go for a new Mac as I like the amount of ports avail­able on this one.



First, check your drive’s SMART sta­tus in Disk Uti­ilty; some­thing other than ‘Ver­i­fied’ means the drive’s on its way out. SMART only senses some types of trou­ble, though. The re­cur­ring grey screen could be due to a mem­ory fault. Run Ap­ple Hard­ware Test (re­fer to ap­ Over­heat­ing may be due to clogged-up fans, or even a faulty power sup­ply unit; part of the front of my old 2008 iMac got ex­cep­tion­ally hot due to that. If you go for ser­vice again, ask whether the PSU is ex­plic­itly tested.

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