I want to start this post by saying that I really love my Macbook Pro (13″) and my iPad! They are sources of entertainment, knowledge, and in the case of my Macbook Pro, allow me to view and process my photos.
Unfortunately, when the chili meets the cheese, they are, after all, nothing more than computers. They cost more than their PC and tablet counterparts, but they all are just circuits, diodes, resisters, metal, and plastic.
Knowing all of this still doesn’t stop me from getting very frustrated when something goes wrong. For the most part, the 2 Mac’s I’ve owned over the last 10 years have operated without problems. I lost the power supply in my iMac, and Apple replaced it under warranty – no problem.
The most recent problem I’ve experienced was a total hard drive failure on my Macbook Pro (MBP). I was using my MBP in the morning, and when it was time to go out and run a few errands, I put it to sleep (for a quick start up when I returned). When it came time to wake it up, well, that never happened. It was dead, dead, dead!
Above, the guts of my Macbook Pro, with deceased hard drive partially removed.
After doing a little troubleshooting and research, I decided it would be smart to take it to the local Apple Store. The next available time was on a Saturday, at 3:15pm.
Arriving early, I discovered the store completely packed. I was directed to a long line so someone could “check me in”. I thought this was strange since I had made an appointment. After finally checking in, I was directed to a bar that went across the entire back of the store, full of people with various iPhone issues and lots of Apple “Blue Shirt Geniuses”.
My 3:15 appointed time had come and gone. I was approached by another “blue shirt” who told me I couldn’t sit at the bar, it was for people with appointments. You can image my frustration building! I told him I had an appointment and was directed to be where I was. He said he would check, and get back to me – never saw him again.
There was more unpleasantness with other “guests”, people that don’t seem to understand personal grooming or space. But finally I was able to speak with a Genius!
The Genius poked around, ran his diagnostic tool and came to the same conclusion I had, the hard drive was dead. He put together a quote and we started to set up the repair.
This is the part where I really begin my rant! As the Genius was writing up my repair work, and let me know it could be 5 days before they could fix and return my MBP, I asked him to put a note in that said I wanted the old hard drive returned. He told me that he couldn’t do that, it was Apple’s policy that any parts removed by them became their property. More frustration building! I told him that was ridiculous, any parts in that machine where mine, bought and paid for! He asked my why I wanted it back and I told him I didn’t want to have some geek poke around my hard drive, and get lucky and get it working again, and have access to any personal information that may be on it (don’t laugh, I’ve read about this actually happening).
We were getting nowhere at this point. I asked him to quote me a price for purchasing a hard drive and I would install it myself. The Genius told me that he can’t sell me a hard drive, or any other internal parts. I thought that was interesting because the Apple Store is just an over-glorified computer store. What else was there to do but thank him for his efforts and leave (he’s just a Genius, and doesn’t make Apple’s stupid policies). What a total waste of time!
Back to doing a little more research and finding Other World Computing (OWC). They had everything I needed, and cheaper than I would have gotten from Apple. I ordered a larger, faster replacement drive and it arrived in just a couple of days. The actual installation probably took about 15 minutes. It took much longer to get all of my applications installed and working.
Above – the replacement hard drive kit I purchased from OWC.
Apple rant #2 – stupid Apple App Store wouldn’t recognize my login ID and password. So, I lost any history of previous purchases, such as OS-X Mountain Lion. Frustrated again, I created a new account and paid the $19.99 for another Mountain Lion download. At least it’s not as expensive and replacing Windows!
During my ordeal of getting the MBP working again, I did have the use of an older Windows 7 PC, but it really wasn’t the same. It felt slow and very clunky, but it did work!
Is the MBP or any Apple product worth the extra money? Good question! I began having my doubts, and considered looking into replacing the MBP with a PC laptop. But, the MBP is back and working, so I’ll put off making that choice for a while. The biggest thing that stopped me is Window 8 – I don’t like it at all!
Here are my lessons learned (I actually hate that phrase, they overuse the crap out of it at work):
- Back up your data (my important files were backed up on 3 external hard drives). If not, it could have been a real disaster!
- Don’t be lazy! Being lazy is really the only reason I went to the Apple Store. Replacing hard drives is something I’m perfectly capable of, as well as installing an OS.
- Don’t make hasty decisions! Running out and buying a new laptop (Mac or PC) should have been a last resort and not in the equation in the early stages of trouble shooting and repair.
- The Geniuses are just employees of a very big company. They try to be as helpful as they can, but they can only do so much. But they aren’t the only ones that can fix a Mac!
Above – my MBP with the shiny new (larger and faster) hard drive installed.
All is well now! My MBP is working perfectly, no thanks to the Apple Store. I suppose that the 10 year long honeymoon is over. I will continue to use and enjoy my MBP, but will be even more prepared than before in case of another failure! I am making a new bootable external hard drive, and moving data to a larger networked hard drive. I’m even considering backing up to the Cloud, but that remains to be seen.
That’s it for this post. I’m heading out for 3 plus weeks in the Eastern Sierra with my Wife and 3 dogs! Hopefully there will be lot of pictures and information to share! Until next time – Happy Shooting!