Luckily for me I’m just a humble user now–and I’ve got a Mac. When I had a similar looking problem some time back it was quickly fixed the next day by a tech at the Mac Genius Bar. A firmware problem; remedied on start-up from the keyboard.
Gloating in Berkeley
Of course, anyone who’s been reading long enough knows that Macs have disk failures, too. In case you didn’t, there’s a new article on the subject by Robin Harris over at ZDNet, entitled “Death of a Disk”. It’s actually about the death of two disks, both Macs.
And Apple has a policy of repossessing your dead disk if they replace it, which has rubbed a few people the wrong way, with some reason. But I’m not going to rehash that here.
Macs may or may not have more reliable operating systems and software than PCs. In general, Apple seems to build fairly good-quality hardware. But it’s also worth remembering that the only real reason there are so few Mac viruses is that so few people own Macs. If Apple had a larger market share in computers, there would be more viruses designed to attack them.
It’s possible that I could take my ailing X drive to my favorite repair person and get the problem sorted out. I could, indeed, try putting the drive in a different case myself, and see what happens. (Possibly I could have avoided the on-again, off-again problems I’ve had with it by buying a more expensive case in the first place.) If I were a serious hardware geek, I’d certainly do that. But then, if I were a serious hardware geek, I’d probably have half a dozen 2.5-inch drive cases just lying around my office.
There does come a point at which you have to decide not to throw good money after bad. Not that I consider the X drive a bad investment. The poor thing has been in constant use for several years now, and it’s come along on several trips and thus withstood being squished into overhead bins on airplanes, not to mention surviving my car accident last September.
But having a professional diagnose and correct the problem will almost certainly cost more than buying a new drive which has twice the capacity and a 5-year warranty. And I’d still have a four-year-old hard drive nearing the end of its natural lifespan, which would substantially undermine my trust in it. And you have to be able to trust your backups. So even if I get a new case for the old drive, I’d want to get a new drive.
And in the meantime, I don’t have to panic, because I have the data on two other drives. Some of it is also on CD or DVD. Some of it is in my Mozy online storage account. So even if I can’t recover the data from this drive (and I think I probably will be able to), I’m safe.