Model A1311 / Mid 2010 / 3.06 & 3.2 GHz Core i3 or 3.6 GHz Core i5 Processor

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Mid-2010 Intel i3 21.5" Intel 3.03GHz iMac constantly freezes


I hope someone can help.

My iMac freezes constantly, and will only ever get through one or two operations before it freezes.

‘Operation' meaning clicking to view something or go to a next step; to see system information, log into the App store, open a utility, open a new tab in Safari … literally anything will break it.

I then have to power down and restart it to get to a next step.

The full Apple Hardware Test has been run (the comprehensive test) and it reported no errors or faults.

Snow leopard has been fresh installed, from deleting all partitions, erasing the hard drive, creating a single partition and installing to that. Lterally spent three days getting through this - very broken! - process, hours and hours of freezes, hard restarts and retries!

Once through the OS install, all updates other than iTunes and remote assist have been downloaded and applied. (That too took hours, because of it hanging randomly.)

Oh! And the network connection - whether WiFi or Ethernet - is very very flaky too. All other devices have good stable connections, but the iMac has very unstable erratic connections.

Possible causes and logic; because the issue is so constant and that NOTHING other than tne OS install has been done to it, I've pretty much ruled out everything except maybe logic board related, or Apple built-in obsolescence(!). But I'm guessing.

The freezes are so prevalent, so I can't image it being software, the CPU, memory or the hard drive.


Thanks all.


Update (10/12/2018)

Is these a tool to diagnose these issues? Otherwise its time to open ‘er up. There mab be a loose or faulty connection causing these constant issues with hanging?. Whether it be trying to … get through a clean install, aunch an application, download software updates, eject the install DVD, check disk permissions, …. The darn thing just keeps hanging. About the fifth or seventh reinstall- after clearing everything, erasing everything, … still it don't wanna play nice. Hm?.

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What is your exact system review this listing: EveryMac - iMac listing


Hi Dan - it's an A1311. 4GB RAMinstalled in two of the four slots.

Apple iMac "Core i3" 3.06 21.5-Inch (Mid-2010) Specs

Identifiers: Mid-2010 - MC508LL/A - iMac11,2 - A1311 - 2389

Any other details we're looking for?






Solved. At last.

With thanks to Dan - for taking so much of your time to advise me.

The one constant in everything I’d been doing was trying to reinstall from the original Mac OS X 10.06 Snow Leopard DVD. It was what came with the iMac originally, so would be the best option … you’d think.

What is it they say? If you keep doing the same thing you keep getting the same results! So change of tack; I created a boot USB for Mac OS 10.12 Sierra using TransMac on my PC and have installed that instead. (Links for doing that below. Ta DA! Absolutely painless install process, and the system is running perfectly. I’m on it now.

Officially my mid-2010 A1311 Intel i3 3.03 GHz iMac with 4GB RAM doesn’t support Sierra, but everything seems fine. If it continues to be stable I’ll upgrade the RAM to 8GB to bring it closer in line with what’s required for Sierra.

So … advice for anyone struggling with persistent Snow Leopard stability issues; ditch it for a later OS.

To create a macOS install USB; have a look at https://www.wikigain.com/create-macos-hi....

I did it on my Windows 7 PC as the iMac was inoperable :


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Hopefully you have access to a second Mac system. What we want to try is either connect your system to the other using Target Disk Mode or from the other system create a bootable OS installer drive so we can run Disk Utility on your systems drive.

Here’s how to connect your system to the other in How to use target disk mode to move files to another computer and here’s how to setup a USB thumb drive How to create a bootable macOS Sierra installer drive.

Having a better idea on what your exact system is will help focus things on what is needed.


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Hi Dan

Thanks got helping me on this. I don’t have another Mac; I’d need to borrow one.

Is this going to make a difference though? Will it allow a different view of the issue? Using what utilities?

The thing is I have both a bootable OS (the original Mac OS X Snow Leopard DVD) and a working drive. I’ve reinstalled the OS two or three times already over the past few days.

I’m also able to run Disk Utility when the OS boots up., I used it to erase and repartition the drive before the OS installs.

And of course I’ve been able to run the full Apple Hardware Test; nothing was reported from that.

i can go out and borrow a MacBook; will that open new options for troubleshooting this though?

thanks again - I appreciate your time and help.


If you ran Disk Utilities from the bootable CD/DVD then you're doing the same action as using Target Disk Mode or an external drive as I outlined. If you ran it from the drive directly you might not of found the defect within the drive if that is indeed the issue.

At this point I think you need to focus on the systems RAM how many modules do you have installed? and how much is your total RAM?


Hi - Following your suggestion I'm running, as we speak - Disk Utility from the DVD. (restart holding 'C' key.) Have completed Verify Disk on the top-level drive itself (i.e. not the partition); no issues found.

Have also run Repair Permissions as when checking those a large number were reported as being incorrect.

Re: the RAM; two 2GB modules installed. Two slots used and another two still available. Remove one at a time and test that way, what do you think?


I think you'll need to run Disk Utility one more time to make sure all of the fixes made it.You may need to go a bit deeper here ;-{ Often times when you get such a large number the drive needs reformatting and a fresh install of OS.

But before you do that you'll want to make sure you've got your stuff backed up. And you'll need to create a bootable OS installer drive following this guide: How to create a bootable macOS Sierra installer drive

Yes, you've got the right idea in checking the RAM I would just populate the empty slots with your current RAM. Then try one at a time if its still failing.


Nor a RAM issue .... removed each module separately, and ran each one in each of the four slots, with no difference in the behaviour of the system. So ....

1) Not hard drive passed full test run from the install DVD numerous time

2) Not RAM ... No change in behavior irrespective of which module RAM was

3) Not software ... Mountain Lion the only thing installed

4) Not permissions ... Errors (if even relevant to the issue?) were corrected

5) GPU ... Never a twitch from the display

6) Not CPU ... Issue manifests as hanging only when in the OS.

I think i have a very over-sized paperweight.

Have also tried by setting up the OS on an external harddrive; nada.


Same painful install process (hangs multiple times at 'Create your account' requiring restart using Shift + Control + option + power button).

End result once in ... can't do anything without it hanging. Wow.


Hi Dan, thanks for the guidance. I'll have to get an OS install on a USB via a different means. Don't have another Mac so will need to do this on a PC. Do-able according to the infoweb.

Seems to me though that all we can expect from that is that a later OS fixes the issue. Hmmm ... if its not working being set up as it came from the factory, and then afterwards with all the Apple updates applied, ... do we have much hope? Is there anything that hasn't been checked out yet, given all the activity done so far?





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