Mac Crash

My 3.5-year-old Macbook Pro went on the disabled list Wednesday.

Symptoms: Normal start up, but then, as the blue screen and desktop icons appeared, so did the spinning beach ball of death…and a queasy stomach.

Interior sirens wailing, I rushed to my not-too-far-away Apple Store where, amid dozens of milling i-enthusiasts, the patient was taken into the back room, and I was told to go home and wait. Two hours later I got the news. “It’s a severe hard disk charley horse. Maybe even a full quadriceps tear,” the Apple Genius said with great sympathy. This made sense to me; I had noticed, over the past couple of months, a not-so-subtle limp and an intermittent tendency to be slower than normal on ground balls to the backhand.

Never this empty!

Since I was soon leaving for a weekend dalliance in Monterey, followed immediately by five days of Cheesie Mack book events in Tulsa, I raced back to the Apple Store and begged for a transplant…stat!

“Sorry,” Apple Guy explained, “We don’t have any hard drives in stock. Give us two days.”

I spun on my heel, clutched my critically ill friend to my anxious bosom, and dashed out of the mall, prepared to travel to any other Apple Store within unreasonable driving distance. But as I cranked up my hybrid, I remembered that no more than a half-mile away there was an authorized Apple reseller. I burst into his otherwise empty shop and in a few minutes had contracted for a new 300 GB kidney. Cost installed: $193.

“Come back in two hours,” Mac Chap said calmly.

Two hours later and surely not calm, I re-entered his shop and, armed with a very short set of how-to instructions, took my machine home. I set it up next to my back-up Time Machine…and here the story gets scary.

As everyone knows, whenever you change anything—be it an application upgrade, a new operating system, or heaven help you, a new computer—there will be blood.

Following Mac Chap’s instructions carefully, I pressed all the buttons leading to a Time Machine restoration of my backup…and all went as expected…until the window read: “Time remaining 19 hours 54 minutes.” I was leaving for Monterey in 18 hours. Hoping for an overnight miracle (sometimes these things inexplicably speed up), I dimmed the lights, instructed the computer not to sleep, and left it to heal itself. Almost 15 hours later, I trepidatiously looked at the Migration Assistant window: “Time remaining 7 hours 33 minutes.” My hoped-for speed-up had gone south.

Time Machine really works!

When it came time to pack up the car, I put my computer to sleep and disconnected power to the Time Machine. The Mac Chap had warned me that such an action would surely mean starting the restoration from the beginning (almost 20 more hours!), but what could I do?

I carried the various parts and cables to Monterey, set them up as before, engaged the Migration Assistant…and up popped, “Time remaining 31 minutes.”


“Maybe the electricity is faster here in Monterey,” my wife suggested.

With little hope that this would lead to a happy ending, we left the gizmos to work amongst themselves, and went out to dinner at a sports bar to watch the Cardinals beat the Rangers in Game 7. (How can any baseball fan not love the David Freese story?)

Upon my return, rays of golden light were streaming out of my Macbook Pro, the sound of elven bells accompanied each disk seek within my Time Machine, and naught but goodness filled my small computer world.

Healed…and excepting my ye-of-little-faith anxiety, all was actually painless.

How did this happen?

I do not have the expertise to ask the proper questions…and I wouldn’t, even if I could.

Thank you, Time Machine and Mac Chap.


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