A few weeks ago, my laptop suffered a fall onto linoleum that made its congenitally nervous hard drive more nervous even than usual. Fortunately, days later, the drive turned miraculously tranquil, efficient. Its anxieties disappeared, as if by magic. There was no freezing or whirring. I wrote some e-mail messages, surfed the Web and organized some photos before shutting things down.
There is no sadder admission by someone who considers themselves a competent IT Professional, than to say, “I resemble that.” I too suffered a Hard Drive mishap, caused by my own ignorance while upgrading my Mac from OS X 10.3 to OS X 10.4. The problem lay in an article I read on a Mac Enthusiast website that indicated there was a new user account migration utility built-in to the new installer on 10.4. So rather than run the Archive and Install option, which would leave the old operating system and all its files, I chose Erase and Install. Why? My mis-reading of the article on the enthusiast website led me to believe I could Erase and Install and then watch the User Migration Utility magically lauch itself. It would pull over my user folder and all the Applications installed on the machine originally. Leaving me with much less work to do once the OS was installed. Past experience proved that reinstalling all your old software takes forever, and I was trying to avoid that.
The key to this new way of thinking is Migration Assistant (the same tool that Apple provides to facilitate moving files from an old Mac to a new one). You don’t have to run this program separately; all its capabilities are integrated into Setup Assistant under the auspices of “File Transfer.”
So you can imagine to my horror as the erase and install was progressing, the Migration Assistant was not popping up asking me what I wanted to do. And by then it was too late. The Erasure was already wiping the drive or at least setting all the flags on all the files so that they appeared to be open, write-enabled sectors on the Hard Drive. And I didn’t have a full backup of the drive contents before the install. That was my biggest mistake, considering now I’m very familiar with disk cloning. I too have learned the hard lessons of self-inflicted hard drive mishaps. You should take heed of all these warnings too. Put down that iPhone, turn off that TV get on Amazon and buy yourself an external Hard drive and backup, backup, backup.