Sad MacBook - What to do? / by Nate Westheimer

So it happened. Two nights ago, after trying to install the latest version of iTunes, my computer hard-drive crapped out on me.

  1. After trying to restart -- the thing just hangs with the Apple logo and a grey background.
  2. Trying to start it up as an external hard-drive (hold down "T" when you startup) alerts that disk is unreadable (first sign of major issues)
  3. Trying to reinstall the OS from disks fails
  4. Trying to repair the disk from disk utility fails
  5. My friends at Tekserve ask me "How much is your data worth to you?", in reference to their expensive ($800) data recovery services

Of course I should have seen it coming -- and I should have been better at backing-up. Duh.

Now I'm left trying to figure out what to do next.

On the data recovery issue, the question is complicated. I last backed up a year ago, so I'm looking at a year of data loss with everything except my company files, which I backed up in December. This means I still have my old college papers, photos from before last year, and music from that time frame as well. I just don't have any files from the last year.

That being said, I've been living more and more in the cloud -- so all is not really lost.

  • Important photos are on Flickr
  • Important thoughts are blogged
  • Important files may have been mailed via Gmail
  • Other docs were drafted in Google Docs
  • My musical thumb-print can be listened to on Last.fm
  • My contacts and calendar are on my iPhone (as well as my latest two months of music, due to the way I set up my play-lists)

Anyway, I don't know why I'm considering the $800 it will cost to try and recover my data. "I just want my life back" is the justification I keep coming up with... but on one hand that sounds pathetic and on the other hand I may not have lost as much of my life as I imagine.

Of course there's also the potential of the "clean break." What would I do with a new computer and no record of my past? For one, I'd be more organized with my folders. Is this a chance at organizational rebirth?

It's certainly a chance for a backup service to convince me to use them. I'll certainly be using my DropBox and JungleDisk a lot more.

Watch this space for future updates.