Friday, March 22, 2013

Replacing Hard Drives

It was with some trepidation that I read the news last fall that my computer was subject to a recall.  And what was being recalled—the hard drive?  In the old days, you would just pop off the side of your tower, unscrew the old hard drive and screw in the new one.  Format the sucker and start filling it up.  But I have a iMac.  To get to its hard drive, you must basically disassemble the whole computer—including using a suction-cup device to lift off the front glass.  In fact, there is a bunch of needed tools that I don't own.  But never fear, Apple was paying the freight.

It just that it's the freaking hard drive!

Mine is filled with an enormous assortment of applications, old projects, music, videos, a fairly extensive photo collection, thousands of emails—you get the picture.  Now rebuilding a hard drive is good for the computer.  Get a bunch of freshly installed applications running on a new hard drive and your computer runs like the day you took it out of the box.  The downside is trying to round up everything and then it takes about two days to install.  Then you must remember to back up everything important—address books, iTunes playlists, browser modifications, music, photos...  I was looking at a four-day grind.

So since everything was running fine, I decided I would simply clone my hard drive.  Bought a 2 Terabyte 5400 rpm (green) external drive for $100, fired up Carbon Copy Cloner and 7.5 hours later, I had a bootable external drive with everything where it belongs.

So last November I make an appointment with the "Genius Bar" at the nearest Apple store (at the friggen Mall of America) and on the appointed day carry my computer about a mile from the parking lot to the store only to be told I would have to leave my computer for a WEEK.  I was NOT happy.  I must of been told six times that I was shouting and that Apple was a family store.  I did discover during my complaining that the local little Apple dealer—who has managed to keep its doors open in spite of Apple's move into retailing—is authorized to do the repair.  I call them up.  They say sometime after Christmas but before April.  I keep making backups (about 15 minutes after you have done it once) in case my internal hard drive is dying.

Anyway, I got around to taking it in on Tuesday.  While it was gone, I was able to boot off my cloned drive using an aging laptop so I was back in business in about a hour.  My trusty iMac was ready yesterday.  Last night, I hooked up the drive and began cloning the backup to the new drive.  Another 7.5 hours.  I would check in occasionally to see what was taking so long and saw some spectacularly wasteful files.  So after the cloning was done, I went looking for these garbage files and managed to get rid of about 300 gigs worth.

I am still steamed at how badly Apple mishandled this recall.  Considering what a gigantic headache it is to replace a hard drive, one would think that they would have handed out a nice just reward for the hassle.  It's not like they couldn't afford it.  There are those who must job out the work I just did the last couple of days and I cannot imagine it would cost them less than $300. Apple has lost several hundred $billion in stock valuation since it became obvious they could not handle a routine recall.  I have friends who call this Karma.


  1. Apple is a very great company, but sometimes they don't foresee things like this. Dismantling the whole computer to replace the hard drive is so impractical, and unfortunate things might happen that can damage the whole computer instead. Sometimes, computers running on a Windows OS are better than Apple computers, simply because it's not that complicated to troubleshoot them when needed. Ruby Badcoe

  2. It is such a hassle when any Apple gadget or application malfunctions because it is difficult to reboot and recover your files on your own. It is so much trouble having it sent back and leave it with them for a week or more, especially when you need it on a daily basis. There is actually one time when iTunes deleted all my songs and videos that I just wanted to throw my iPod out of dismay. I never figured what exactly happened to it nor did I recover any of it. Imagine losing thousands of songs and also the money I spent for some of them. It truly is frustrating.

    Doug Leven

  3. When looking for a hard drive, make sure that you'll purchase from a trusted manufacturer to ensure the quality of the drive. When storing your files, make sure that they are virus-free so that it won't harm the other stored files. If you're in an office and many employees have access to your drive, you can set passwords on confidential documents to avoid corporate hacking. :)