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!