Last year was an interesting one. When Ariana and I went on our spring break trip in March, I noticed my hard drive on my MacBook Pro was close to full, so I spent a lot of time when we returned backing all of my data up on my external hard drive, and clearing up space on my internal. Shortly thereafter, I noticed my external drive was not registering when it was plugged in. Prior to this, I did notice it was acting up, I just didn’t think it would actually stop working. So silly me, I used to keep backup DVDs of my work, but laziness had set in, and I ONLY relied on this external drive for ALL of my data. So naturally, there was no option but to pay to get it recovered. Since I had never experienced this before (and I had a Seagate external drive), I Googled Seagate Recovery and there was a nifty form I filled out, and off I sent in my broken drive.
A few weeks later, I received a nice email mentioning all of my data was recovered, along with a pricy bill of $550. For an extra $100, they will mail back all of my data on a 4 TB external drive, so of course I took that option! I needed a replacement for my 1 TB drive anyway.
So fast forward to December, as I was enjoying my holiday up in Keystone, I had the inevitable happen = the spinning Mac wheel of death. The laptop just wouldn’t start up! So of course, I Googled a Mac not starting up, and came up with a plethora of potential answers. I also remembered, you can go to an Apple Genius store for free, so I made an appointment and off I went.
Within minutes of arriving, I was seen by a specialist and he plugged my laptop in for a diganostic. I noticed there was only one X (fail) in the long list of testing items, so that was a good thing – right? Well, it turns out, it was a failing hard drive, and the nice Mac guy said, oh it is easy to replace! Easy?! Sure for someone who know how to work on computers, I’ve never even opened up to see the internal workings of my laptop. After talking to my dad, he mentioned he had replaced one in his desktop, so sure – between the two of us, we can figure it out. Off to Best Buy I went and bought a Seagate 1 TB internal hard drive, since they were sold out of every other size (it was indeed the holidays). On the plus side, I upgraded from a 250 GB to a 1 TB drive!
After numerous YouTube videos, I felt like I was ready to replace the drive. I opened it up, found all the parts and pieces, replaced the drive, and voilà – it should be fixed, right? Wrong. I tried to start up, and it wouldn’t boot. My laptop is old enough that it has a built-in superdrive and I still have the OS X disk that came with the laptop. I popped in the disk, selected the C key to load from the player, and nothing. I thought I was doing everything correctly, however, I had the incorrect disk loaded (it came with an apps disk as well). So after speaking with Jeff’s dad, Tony, he walked me though the process and after placing the correct disk in the drive, everything booted up correctly.
The next day was full of updates, LOTS of updates. I believe I went through three OS X updates, numerous software installation, with even more updates, and I got through it with lots patience (and beverages).
A few good things came out of this: I now have a clean, fast working laptop, and I found a way to recover my internal hard drive files for $8! In one of my MANY Google searches, I found you can buy a case for your internal drive to covert it to an external drive. Heck, for 8 dollars, I was willing to take that risk.
Lo and behold, it worked! I was able to recover ALL of my files that weren’t backed up previously. Yay for learning new skills and saving money!!
So lessons learned: I now do a Time Machine backup on a 1 TB external drive, and I have two duplicates of the 4 TB drives. Backup your stuff people, it is not a matter of ‘if,’ it’s a matter of ‘when’ your hard drive(s) will fail!