We’ve all heard the line, “It’s not if your hard drive will fail, it’s when.” But we don’t all necessarily believe that the line applies to us. Right?
Well, about a month ago, my nearly 4-year old iMac began acting strangely. Upon attempted start-up, instead of booting, the iMac would give me a flashing “file” on the screen. After setting a while it would usually boot up however. Now and then I would hear the dreaded clicking noise. Knowing that I had a hard drive failing, I immediately considered my situation.
First off, I knew I had nothing to worry about, as I use the Mac Leopard operating system on my iMac. Snow Leopard is the latest OS, but I’ve not upgraded, as my Leopard OS does the job just fine for me. Leopard and Snow Leopard both include a backup system known as “Time Machine.” Time Machine backs up my entire hard drive (and selected external drives as well) on an hourly basis, with the backups loaded on a terabyte-sized portable hard drive setting alongside.
Since the Christmas season was approaching, I figured I’d put off getting my iMac repaired until after Christmas, as I didn’t want to fight the crowds at my local Apple store at the Gateway Mall here in Salt Lake City. So I plugged the Time Machine external back-up drive into my MacBook Pro laptop, and after making a couple setting changes, accessed the backed-up data from the iMac. I copied the files I needed to use in the next month or so and loaded them onto another drive which I could access from my MacBook Pro. I then put the iMac back in it’s box, along with the back-up drive.
On December 22, just as crowds were peaking at the Apple store, I gave in and hauled my iMac down to have a “genius” look at it. There were wall-to-wall customers. However, much to my surprise, there were also wall-to-wall Apple employees ready and willing to help me. In fact, a young lady came running out of the store to greet me as I approached, and took my big box into the store for me. She explained that since I didn’t have an appointment, that I’d have to get in line to have someone look at the computer. I was given an appointment that was less than 2 hours later, and went out to do a bit of last-minute Christmas shopping. Upon my return at 4:15, I got to talk with one of Apple’s tech folks, who confirmed what I already knew about my hard drive. He then told me that instead of leaving my computer there for repair, that I could most likely get it done a lot cheaper, and maybe quicker at a place called Macdocs on State Street in SLC. Cheaper and quicker sounded good to me, so I went home and waited until morning.
I was standing at the door of Macdocs when they opened on December 23. They checked in my iMac, as well as my back-up drive and told me I could expect a 48 hour or so turn-around, meaning that with the holiday, it might be just after Christmas before I got my computer back. That sounded fine to me. Three hours later, I got a call saying that my hard drive had been exchanged and I could come pick it up. I had upgraded the iMac to a Terabyte-sized drive. All this cost me less than $200, with very few headaches. Needless to say, I recommend Macdocs in Salt Lake City as a great place for repairs. By the way, they do sell new Macs, as well as accessories, and they have been around for a couple of decades.
So – this all goes to show that having a recent full backup of your hard drive makes hard drive failure almost a non-issue. Not quit, but close enough for me to be happy. I’m a big believer in back-ups, and have all kinds of them on numerous computers. With the automated processes available today, one doesn’t have to worry, and I don’t.