Facebook msg, Subj: : (Suddenly there’s a 2″ thick (nearly opaque) white bar running down the center of my iMac screen. It’s distressing me. And of course my AppleCare Protection Plan recently expired. : ( What do you charge for a diagnostic look-see? Or is this one of those problems that can’t be fixed?
I hate to say that’s almost certainly a hardware issue. The first step is to take it into the Genius Bar for their free diagnostics. (Make a reservation here for the North Star store.) Be prepared to leave it for a while, as they have fairly deep diagnostics that they can leave running, possibly even overnight in the case of hard-to-find RAM problems.
They’ll be able to tell you what’s up, and they may actually have a reasonable fee to repair. If not, they’ll probably tell you to take it to MacTLC. They will do a fine job, though if it’s a logic board replacement, you would need to be ready to a fairly hefty fee. You can find cheaper repairs on the internet — google “MacBook repair” for some examples — but you may not want to ship a desktop. What model do you have?
I have an Intel iMac, which I purchased in May 2006. Thanks so much for all your advice, J. I didn’t realize that I could take my computer into the Genius Bar for free diagnostics. I was already resigned to having to take it into a local shop for a $55 look.
My pleasure. I have only just recently heard that Apple sometimes charges a flat, fairly low rate to fix out-of-warranty machines, so it might not be that painful. If you would post a reply on my blog or on Facebook as to what they tell you, I’d be much obliged.
Meanwhile, tell me: do you have a good, solid, daily backup for your iMac? If not, then, while you’re at the Apple Store (you need to make a reservation online), please pick up a LaCie Quadra 500GB or a G-Tech. Here are my typical suggestions for backup software, if you don’t yet have Time Machine in Leopard or Snow Leopard.
It’s worth iterating my post about the expectable life span of your Mac:
After 3 years, you should have a new computer in your budget. After four years, be ready and willing to lay down some jack for a Mac. After five years, your Mac is past its prime, and will not be up to whatever awesome software Apple and other developer/magicians will have concocted.
Keep me posted!