Back online: Minor laptop repairs completed!

November 17, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
Nov. 17, 2014

My computer’s back!

I purchased my 13-inch MacBook Pro in August 2009, and it’s been through a lot. It’s on its second optical drive and its second hard drive. There’s a dent on the right side of the case from when I dropped the computer once. (Fortunately, it was cradled by a protective case, else the damage might have been catastrophic.) There’s also a subtle crease on the machine’s bottom that I hadn’t even noticed until a few days ago, although this mark was presumably sustained weeks or months ago.

So when my laptop started acting up on my recent Las Vegas trip, I naturally assumed that it would never run again.

But I wasn’t eager to pony up money for a replacement, and I certainly couldn’t lay out any dough without getting a diagnosis for my ailing computer. It seemed pretty clear, based on a comparison of the symptoms that I was seeing to what I’d experienced after a computer mishap a few summers previously, that my hard drive was shot. I believed repairs would cost $200 or more, which probably wasn’t worth it — but again, I had to see.

I brought my laptop into a local Apple Store on Sunday shortly after noon, and after a few minutes, there was the promise of good news. The hard drive might seem to be missing not because of hard drive damage but instead because of a fault with the cable connecting the storage device to the rest of the computer, an Apple technician told me. When the computer was hooked up to a diagnosis program, there was no sign of a hard drive, which was a pretty good hint that a bad cable was the culprit here.

The price for replacing the cable would be $56, I was told. If that was done, the data on my computer would be intact. Slotting in a fresh hard drive — which would result in the loss of all information that hadn’t been backed up — would only cost about $120.

Go ahead with the cable replacement, I told the tech. And please call me for authorization if a new hard drive is needed.

The latter repair option wasn’t much more expensive — and it was still much cheaper than acquiring a new computer — but I wanted the right to opt out just in case.

The Apple Store called me on Monday to say that my computer was ready to be picked up. I stopped by the store around 2 p.m. to retrieve the machine, and so far, it seems to be fine.

Welcome back, laptop. As soon as I return to Durham, you’re going back in your case.

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