I Think I Killed My Mac

Posted by on Oct 8, 2008

Let me start off by stating one very important fact.  I am an idiot.  If we can all start from here, I think this will go much more smoothly.

So yesterday morning I realized it had been quite a while since I ran a software update on my 24″ iMac that is still running Tiger.  There were several updates that needed to be downloaded, including the Intel security update.  Of course I didn’t run a backup before doing this, why would I do something so logical?  After all the updates downloaded, I restarted the machine, and that’s when the fun began.

The machine froze up during the reboot, and I had to restart it.  Not a good idea.  The second time it rebooted, I got the wonderful broken folder icon that told me things were going downhill quickly.  I hunted down my install DVD, and booted up from the disk.  I tried to run a disk repair, but was told I have an invalid node structure.  I thought that was getting a bit too personal.

I went ahead and continued to make things worse by restarting the computer again, and the iMac automatically booted from the cd.  I decided to try an archive and install installation in the hope that I wouldn’t lose all the data I haven’t backed up in far too long, but when the installation process got to the volume to install selection screen, my hard drive wasn’t listed.  In fact, nothing was listed.  I then tried to boot into target mode to see if I could access my files from my MacBook Pro, but the only thing my MBP could find on the iMac was the install disk.

The short of it…I’m in trouble.  I can’t access my hard drive with any of the means I am aware of.  I know the logical thing to do at this point would be to bring the machine into Apple (of course I don’t have Apple Care on it anymore) and let them have at it.  But the thing is, I don’t want to.  I got myself into this mess, and I’d kind of like to get myself out of it.  Or at least have people tell me how to get myself out.  So here’s my request.  I’m begging for help.  Does anyone have any idea how I can get back to good?

I’m thinking the next thing to try would be to disassemble the iMac and reseat the hard drive in the hope that it will once again come up as available so I can try the archive and install.  WIth my luck, I’ll end up breaking everything.

Can anyone help?  Or does anyone know anyone who can make a suggestion?  I’ve already established that I’m an idiot, so that suggestion won’t help at the moment.  I’ll just go ahead and post this and hope.


  1. David
    October 8, 2008

    You should have purchased a PC. They’re much more stable. (I wish I could help, but all I can offer is my sarcasm in your time of need.)

    Good luck.

  2. Jay
    October 9, 2008

    I had something similar happen to me a few weeks back with my MacBook. Tried booting from CD, Target mode, nothing worked. The hard drive was making some pretty nasty noises too. To solve the problem I pulled the drive and put it in an external enclosure from Newegg. I was able to get it hooked up over USB long enough to pull my files and then I dumped it. That might buy you some time to get what you need off of it.

  3. admin
    October 10, 2008


    Thanks for the suggestion. I took the drive out, hooked it up to my MBP using a SATA to USB adapter, and was able to get my files off the drive. I tried running DiskWarrior on the drive, but it appears to be hosed beyond all hope. At least I was able to get the files off it. Thanks for the help.


  4. Kristin
    October 15, 2008

    You should update your on-the-edge-of-their-seats readers. I mean…I know what happened, but they probably don’t. It’s too big of a story to leave them hanging.


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