Hard-luck hard drive?

June 22, 2012

Today was disrupted by the…disappearance of the internal hard drive of my MacBook Pro.

I had no advance warning that the nearly three-year-old machine was about to go on the fritz. I operated it very briefly as I rushed to get ready (after having exercised) to get down to the Southpoint Mall’s Apple Store, where I was going to take a class for a side project on which I am working. After the lesson and lunch, I went to Bean Traders off of NC-54, ordered some tea, opened up my laptop and waited.

But no matter how long I waited, the unlock dialog requesting my password never popped up properly.

So I closed the laptop, waited a short time and reopened the computer. It still didn’t respond properly, so I forced it to shut off. After another brief pause, I turned it on.

The machine never booted up. So after a while, I restarted it. Still no joy. I restarted again, to no avail. By then, almost two hours had passed since I’d arrived at Bean Traders. A huge monkey wrench had been thrown into my day.

Things did not get much better when my cranky self arrived back home. My initial attempt to boot up from an emergency drive failed. The second try worked, but despite a few tries, I could not get Disk Utility to work.

I rebooted using my bootable full backup and gave another go with Disk Utility. The result when I tried to verify the internal hard drive? The program hung up. I force-quit and tried anew.

Disk Utility has yet to acknowledge the existence of an internal hard drive. Neither has System Report. I made an appointment to get the computer serviced at the Apple Store tomorrow (two trips in two days!) and then rescheduled for Sunday when I realized that I was busy Saturday.

The worst-case scenario? I pay a few hundred dollars to replace the hard drive and restore it from my backups. I lose at most two days of data; I believe my last full backup was completed Wednesday morning. I suffer a few days of inconvenience, either because the Apple Store has my MacBook or because, while waiting for a replacement internal drive to arrive, I can’t use my computer without being attached to the hard drive on my desk. (Although I suppose I could lug the hard drive to a coffee shop…)

The best-case scenario? The Apple Store is able to fix my computer at no cost and in less than an hour.

I don’t know why my hard drive failed. I actually hope that the malfunction involves a failed internal cable rather than the hard drive itself.

We’ll see Sunday afternoon. Fingers crossed.

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