Yesterday, I lost my hard drive. The second time in three weeks.

By Scot Herrick | Cube Rules Commentary

Oct 24

You know that sinking feeling when your hard drive starts acting up? First, you sort of ignore it. Then it gets serious enough to run diagnostics and then run a disk repair.

And the repair program tells you that you have an unfixable hard drive. Make a back up of everything you have and talk to someone who can fix it.

It is kind of like “grab your ankles and kiss it goodbye.”

One trip to the Genius Bar — the place where they fix things in the Apple Store, not some smart drink — and it is confirmed that the hardware is okay, but the corruption is unfixable.

The only answer is to “nuke and pave.” Reformat the hard drive and delete everything on it.

“You do have a complete backup for this, don’t you,” said the Apple technician?

“Yes, I do.” Saying “Thank God I listen to the Mac Power Users and their consistent and insistent declarations that you need more than one backup”…and then tell you how to do it.

The technician then proceeded to nuke and pave my hard drive. I got home and then proceeded to restore my complete backup.

All was well until this past week and my Mac started acting up again.

Diagnostics, again. Failure, again. But worse this time. More errors. More corruption. And when I tried to reboot the machine, I got the big circle with the diagonal line going through it. As in, no speak hard drive.

Did you know that even without a hard drive, Apple techs can boot your computer from a virtual drive and then run diagnostics against your computer…to a wirelessly connected iPad?

Pretty awesome.

This time, they found an issue with my Mac’s memory (I almost said MY memory…). We didn’t try and check that before, we just looked at the hard drive the first time.

So my Mac is still trying to become a Genius as they will replace my Mac’s memory. And reformat my drive. So I can take it home and restore a back up.

It kinda makes me wish they could replace my memory, reformat my drive and restore a back up. It could solve a lot of corruption problems, don’t you think 🙂

There are lessons in this, though:

  • Always have a back up of your computer (Mine is on a Time Machine and in the cloud with BackBlaze.)
  • None of my data is on my hard drive — it is well on a multi-disk NAS (a Drobo 5N) where I have also had a hard drive fail and pulled that one out and replaced with another. Drobo does the magic for keeping it all in place. What I have on my Mac’s drive are applications and the operating system.
  • Always have ALL of your software information — purchase order, license keys, security questions — in a safe, different place than your computer. I personally use 1Password for that and it is fabulous. Just as soon as I finish putting in the information about ALL my software into it.
  • I think I do, but I’ve never reconciled my application list with what I have in 1Password. That will happen this week so if I can’t use my backup because the bad stuff is coming from the recovery, I can blow all of it away and start from scratch with programs and licenses.
  • And there is a lot of piece of mind with AppleCare. Whatever happens, there is no additional charge.

Make no mistake: this was a frustrating, inconvenient weekend when it comes to technology.

But it was nowhere close to a disaster because we follow rules. In this case, not Cube Rules for success in the workplace, but rules for success nonetheless.