Goodbye Hard Drive

Posted By on December 11, 2010

.: Preface In no way am I trying to convince you I’m not an idiot — I certainly am. This is just an outline of what happened.

.: Background I’m a grad student. I use my macbook for equal parts school and play. I used to have a backup portable drive, but it was stolen some months ago. I did not acquire another one. I am not intimately familiar with the inner workings of a computer, but I rarely have to ask for help to solve a problem. For this reason I am more often than not the “computer guy”.

.: Event I opened it to very quickly check my email, then I closed it and set it aside. The counter space was cluttered, so I set it on top of the carrying case. This was my fatal error in judgment, for the power cord was still inside the case and created a significant slope. The macbook, still in standby mode, slid off and took a meter-long visit to the surface.

.: Immediate Aftermath I picked it up, opened it, and everything was working fine: logged on, surfed reddit for a minute, sighed thankfully to no one in particular, then — frozen. No response from the screen. Tried restarting but was met every time with the apple logo and that stupid taunting pinwheel. There was a loud, regular clicking noise clearly emanating from the hard drive.

.: Prodigy Pub I took my macbook — which was filled to capacity with music (easily replaceable) and scientific data (not as easily replaceable) — to the nearest apple store. An employee optimistically claimed my problem will be solved before I left the store. They ran their diagnostics and found my hard drive was to blame. A sector scratched while the discs were spinning or something. They offered to replace the hard drive (~$280) and restore as much of the data as they could ($99), and I said, “Sure. Might as well take this opportunity to upgrade the size as well.” Then they told me they didn’t sell 2.5″ internal hard drives in this store, which seemed like a really silly thing to say to an apple store customer.

.: Perfect Purchase I declined their not-really-an-offer and took my business elsewhere. I picked up a 500 gb internal drive, a 1 tb portable drive, and a 2.5″ enclosure — all of which cost less than their ~$280 figure. I did have to make two more trips to another store after not having anticipated the number of screwdrivers I would need to remove and replace the hard drive.

.: Insta-llation The Western Digital drive I installed was not recognized by the OS X installer until after I erased it and verified it with Disk Utilities. Apparently this is a known problem with WD drives. Once installed, I tried to transfer my profile from my old, busted hard drive (now firmly encased in an enclosure), and it kinda sorta seemed like it would work. The progress bar was a capricious liar, of course, and at several points (and I swear I am not making this up) it actually went backwards, but eventually it reached the end where I was greeted by this error message:

There were problems transferring the following file(s):
– 2010-12-10 18:17:48 -0800 Error copying file at path /Volumes/Macintosh HD/Users/codyc/./Library/Caches/ Input/output error (5)
– 2010-12-10 18:20:57 -0800 Error copying file at path /Volumes/Macintosh HD/Users/codyc/./Library/Caches/Google/Chrome/Default/Cache/f_000121. Input/output error (5)

Errors and Warnings:
– 2010-12-10 19:24:02 -0800 Some documents for codyc could not be transferred
– 2010-12-10 19:24:02 -0800 codyc could not be created

.: The transfer did not work. None of my profile or data was transfered to my new hard drive, meaning I have to re-install everything again. However, I was still able to access all my files in my old-but-now-in-an-enclosure drive. My music and scientific data are still there, untouched. It appears there could not be a smooth transition to my new hard drive because of these two corrupted files. That just seems unnecessary to me. Surely it would make sense to have a dialogue box pop and say, “Hey, this file seems wonky, would you like to skip it?” and not, you know, compromise the entire transfer. I cannot be the first person to try to restore a partially damaged hard drive this way.

.: Looking Forward and Lessons Learned My data is safe, so I have been downgraded from “Absolute Terror” to “There Goes My Weekend”. My first experience with the Genius Bar was a mixed one. Yes, they told me exactly what my problem was, but they were unable to solve it for reasons that just shouldn’t be used. I have a backup drive now, and I’m currently transferring everything from the old hard drive on to it. I’m then going to delete the two problem-causing files mentioned above and see if I can try the profile transfer again. If that doesn’t work, ugh.

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7 Responses to “Goodbye Hard Drive”

  1. pero says:

    Oh man, that is a huge disappointment. If you ever need any help with fixing or repairing (random computer issues) — feel free to email me, I may be able to help before you go deal with the Apple Store “geniuses” (or is that genii)?

    I may be able to point you to some freeware software or other ways (such as on-line backup space).

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