Be Safe Out There Kids!

Last week my imac (home computer), that my wife uses to run our little lunchbox company begin having some serious issues.  Slow access times, constant rebooting and as of yesterday a complete inability to boot.  Just a lovely grey screen of solitude much like the image above, until it refused to even show that little folder after numerous frustrated reboots.  I am quite certain that this would never happen to the Jesus Tablet, but I digress…

So I grab my trusty Snow Leopard install CD (Family Pack, yes I am a sucker).  Throw it in, hit the button on the back of the imac, holding the “c” key of course, and it happily boots to the disk. I confidently launch the disk utility and low and behold, no hard drive shows up.

See this is where I get kinda worried.  Usually you are able to at least SEE the hard drive.  Then you do all the fun repair, repair permissions or worst case reformat and move on with your life like a bad first date.  In my case, this baby was lost beyond all recognition.

Once again I pay a visit to the gods of the Internet for advice.  Turns out a few nerds (here and here)  have actually taken their imac’s apart and swapped the hard drive.  So I figure, how hard can it be, I own a drill.  I pick up a 1.5TB Seagate drive ($128), a set of Torx wrenches ($18.51) and a suction cup ($10.95) for removing the screen – all from Amazon with 1 day shipping for $3.99 – Have I told you how much I love Amazon?

Here is how it went down:

1) I removed the glass with my new favorite toy, the suction cup.  It was a real Mission Impossible moment for me.  Life changing.

2) Here I have the outer casing removed and you can see the lower front as well as my kick ass Bosch drill in the reflection.

3) After removing 8 torx bolts you can see the innards in all their future human killing Skynet glory – along with the awesome drill again – show off.

4) There she is.  What a quitter.  Never again Western Digital.  You get one shot with me.

5) The crime scene as it went down.  See the LCD on the floor with the purple bear.  Yeah I was pretty nervous at this point.  Hold me.

6) It’s alive, alive!!  I totally knew it would work.

OK, so now I have a functional computer (after about 40 minutes of open screen surgery).   I partitioned and formatted the drive, installed the OS and everything is good, right.  Uh, not so fast, what about my data, my passwords, my bookmarks, my life (it may not be much, but it’s mine)!

The good news is that since having my laptop stolen last year I have been pretty rigorous to keep EVERYTHING in the cloud.  Here is what I use for serious peace of mind:

XMarks – This keeps all my bookmarks in sync between browsers and computers.

DropBox – ALL files I work on that I care about live on DropBox.  They are AWESOME.

1 Password – Keeps all my passwords and login details for important stuff like my Safeway Club Card.  Incidentally, I use Dropbox to keep the vault file remote.

Mozy – This is my second line of defense and I do a daily backup of EVERYTHING.  Dude, it is $5 a month, c’mon.

Between these services I literally lost zero data.  Photos, music, passwords, work files – all safe and already my “new” machine is on par from a data perspective with my old.  I did have to install a few desktop apps like iwork, ilife, and illustrator, but that’s a breeze compared to re-buying your itunes library.  In the end I also went from a 500GB drive to a 1.5TB drive – which is pure awesomeness.

Never to be underestimated, I saved my wife a ton of hassle and worry, which means I saved myself a whole bunch of hassle and worry.  Yep, more time for me to cuddle up with my PS3.

Be safe out there and stay in school!

Paul

AboutPaul

a.k.a.:ppedrazzi

8 comments

  1. You forgot to tell the kids to stay away from drugs. Kudos on the surgery, although I would *never* open up a box in a room w/carpet. Is that carpet?

    Fantastic project, but very scary.

    Love the suction cup. You should cut a hole in your sliding glass door for giggles, w/a diamond-tipped blade.

  2. Don't hold a grudge against a particular manufacturer -all hard drives will let you down in the end. I have had more hard drive crashes than I care to remember, on 2 Macs and every Windows laptop I ever owned.

  3. @Jake – Yep, carpet. I live dangerously. Plus with kids, that is the “cleanest” a room gets. Good tip on the sliding glass door too. Maybe I need to install some red lasers across the living room….

    @DH – I would never hold a grudge, I just needed a target for my anger. Much better now. Truth is I have 3 WD drives and this is the 1st to die. Such is life. Long live remote storage of EVERYTHING!

  4. Hey Paul, I'm Spencer. I work for a company named Syncables, and after reading through this, I think you might want to check us out. We make a localized syncing software that I've found makes a great offline compliment to dropbox, as well as a very nice behind-the-scenes backup solution. Our client is cross-platform, and it lets you keep your files, contacts and email synced between your computers over your home or office network, which is great for when you can't get an internet connection but still need to transfer things between your machines. It also includes a media component, which allows you to upload your media to any phone or usb drive, which I think you would have found very handy when you had to format your drive! Anyway, give us a look sometime at http://www.syncables.com.

    Thanks!

  5. I would consider putting this in that category of hardware industrial design FAIL. Harddrives die. it would be easy enough to design the housing with a removable access panel to be able to replace the drive instead of needing to do home surgery and risk glass/lcd/purplebear damage. But well done on the repair, good-on-ya, mate.

  6. I would consider putting this in that category of hardware industrial design FAIL. Harddrives die. it would be easy enough to design the housing with a removable access panel to be able to replace the drive instead of needing to do home surgery and risk glass/lcd/purplebear damage. But well done on the repair, good-on-ya, mate.

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