Not If, But When

Last week Jordan’s four-year-old white plastic MacBook started to freeze up. Fearing the worst, I immediately cloned her machine to an external drive. A few days later the dreaded folder with a ? appeared (has that replaced the sad Mac face?) and it refused to boot up. I ordered a 250GB, 7200rpm drive off Amazon as a replacement. I guess that 250GBs is the new entry-level for laptop drives.

When the drive arrived today I dropped it into my toaster dock, fired up Super Duper! and cloned the backup drive back to the new drive. It took about one hour. Once I found my Torx screwdriver it was just a matter of popping the battery off, taking off three screws, pulling out the drive bay, and swapping the dead drive for the new one. I put everything back into place, fired it up, and…the ? folder popped up again. But only for a second. The Apple logo showed up after that, and the machine booted up cleanly.

The whole experience reinforced what I always tell my friends: hard drives will fail. Not IF, but WHEN. I think I’ve had three hard drive failures over the last ten years, including this one. Cloning your drive regularly can get you back up and running much faster than trying to take your computer in to your local computer repair shop and hoping they can dredge some data out of your dead drive.

What could I have done better? I should have been backing up to a laptop drive, so that I could have just popped that in instead of waiting a week for Amazon’s super saver shipping to deliver the replacement drive. I also need to start cloning both of our laptops on a more regular basis. I’ve gotten lazy with mine, since I also have online backup via Backblaze. A local, physical backup is still preferable to online backup for quick restores, however.