Fusion drive fails again

Back in April I had a few problems with the Fusion Drive on my 2014 iMac. So much so that I had to copy the data off the iMac onto an external drive and then reformat the drive and reinstall OS X.

Having got back to where I had been before the drive failed I was happy with going back to work on the iMac. However I was suspicious that the drive might fail again. I kept regular backups of files and photos, but I did have an expectation that the drive might fail again.

On Saturday it did just that. I was using the iMac to sort out some train tickets and other tickets when it just froze. Nothing was working, so I switched it off at the back and when I switched it back on I was rather downhearted, but not really surprised, to see the prohibitory symbol.

I booted into Recovery mode (hold down the Command and R keys when turning on and release once you see the Apple logo or a spinning globe). I ran disk utility which confirmed the Fusion Drive had failed. The SDD was working fine, but the (mechanical) hard drive had failed. A Fusion Drive us made up of an SDD drive and a standard hard disk drive combined to look like a single drive under OS X.

Luckily I hadn’t lost any data, but wasn’t sure what to do next.

I did reformat the SDD and installed OS X onto that (and even upgraded to Big Sur). The speed was very impressive and to be honest part of me did think about leaving it like this. However this wasn’t a practical long term solution as the iMac would just randomly reboot for no reason. Certainly couldn’t use the iMac for anything productive.

I did look into fixing the iMac myself, but in the end booked it into the Cribbs Causeway Apple Store Genius Bar for an appointment. The 2014 iMac counts as vintage technology (as it is just under their seven year limit) and isn’t quite obsolete, yet!

Failure to install

Yesterday I tried to reinstall Mac OS X on my iMac which had failed to start. As I was ill I actually didn’t get back to the computer until this morning.

Alas the install process was still on the progress bar, which I knew wasn’t quite right.

Well I tried again to reinstall Mac OS X on the iMac which failed again.

I then put the iMac into disk mode and using another Mac viewed the drive, and I could see the files and documents.

I actually wasn’t too concerned about loss of data, as most of my working files are in the cloud in Dropbox and OneDrive, whilst all my images are currently backed up to Amazon Drive, as well as physical storage.

I suspected there might be a few files that I only had a single copy of, so decided not to reformat the drive and install a fresh copy of OS X.

Still feeling ill, I turned it off and went back to bed to watch Netflix.

Mac Fusion Drive failed again…

Well it had to happen didn’t it with my luck with the hard drive on my iMac.

The computer had slept the night before and I had woken up not very well so didn’t go to the computer in the morning. Though I was off work sick, I did need to start a Zoom meeting for an external consultant, but when I went to the computer pressing the space bar didn’t wake the computer.

I pressed the power button, counted to ten and pressed the power button again.

In the meantime I started Zoom on the iPad so I could do that before focusing on the iMac.

I was slightly annoyed that the iMac was now stuck on the Apple logo and progress bar.

Hmmm

Quick Google search, said to start in safe mode and identify the issue.

So turned the iMac off and attempted to restart it in Safe Mode.

Well that didn’t work.

So then tried Recovery Mode to repair the disk using Disk Utility. This did launch successfully, which was slightly reassuring that maybe it wasn’t a physical problem with the disk, but a software issue with the disk.

I ran Disk Utility, that indicated a few errors, so decided to reinstall Mac OS on the drive. I started this and left it to it.