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My laptop hard disk crashed… and I don’t mind. What a difference the Cloud makes!

Well then, it had to happen — the dreaded hard disk crash!

My primary MacBook Pro was purchased in December 2013. I’ve used it more or less religiously most days through 2014 and another half year has passed. It’s about 18 months old.

And the inevitable happened.

My SSD hard disk conked out yesterday.

It was fine on Sunday morning. I left it running on the desk and returned to it in the evening and — boom! — it wouldn’t boot. I went through a few processes and identified via a Repair Disk that there was a significant problem with the hard disk. It was so bad that Repair Disk didn’t work.

My only option — after a load of Googling — appeared to be to format the drive and start again, thus enabling the machine to correct the errors.

If I’d spent the entire evening messing about, I could probably have tried to fix it without losing my data.

Interestingly I was at about 490gb of my 512gb SSD.  I doubt that helped. That wasn’t conscious. It just happened.

Anyway, the key issue here is that I felt rather out of sorts because it wasn’t really a problem. Normally this would be a big deal.

In years gone by it’s been a massive problem that often put me out for days in terms of productivity.

I sat and pondered the data that’s important to me and how I tend to work. Everything of any consequence is cloud-based. Some of it’s in Microsoft Office 365. Most of it’s on Google. There’s a bit on Amazon, too.

I thought about my Desktop.

Nope. Nothing of consequence on there. In years gone by that was a critical ‘area’ of the computer filled with all the latest stuff I was working on.

I thought about Downloads. No. Nothing important in there. Yeah, there was quite a large folder of data — but all downloads from the cloud that, bluntly, were only there because I had to email them to folk.

In my mind I moved into Pictures. No. Everything’s on Google Photos now (with a backup at Picturelife).

I thought about Movies. No. It’s all downloadable again from Apple or it’s on DropBox.

Passwords? In the password manager.

Bookmarks? All in Chrome.

Contacts? Email? Calendar? All in the cloud.

It felt so weird that I decided to see if I could connect to the hard disk via terminal in Recovery mode. I was able to do so. I couldn’t make any corrective actions but I was able to read my volume.

As I peered through the directories, ‘ls-ing’ as I went (Linux for ‘dir’ or ‘list files in directory’), I was struck by how much I didn’t mind.

I thought I should do something. So I plugged in a USB drive and copied the ‘Downloads’ folder over to it. Just in case. But there was nothing there I could see I actually needed. I flicked about the Desktop. Nothing. I double-checked what I felt I already knew… everything of value was in the cloud.

As Mac OS X Mavericks reinstalled on the freshly formatted drive, I browsed Amazon hunting for a backup drive for time machine. I reasoned that I should really not have this sort of thing happen again. I haven’t bothered with Apple’s Time Machine since it came out.

In the end I was thinking about buying Western Digital’s My Cloud Mirror … and well, I haven’t done so yet. I will probably do this in the fullness of time.

So here I am bashing out this blog post on the MacBook that, 12 hours ago, was a total dud.

Mavericks is all new and shiny. The whole system boots in a few seconds. It feels fresh as a daisy.

I recognise that it’s perhaps time to swap this MacBook in — or at least consider replacing the Hard Disk — as there’s no telling when the issue that occurred might happen again.

Is it time to get the new MacBook? Well, I’m seriously considering it.

In the same vein… just how much do I need a Mac? Would a Chromebook suffice? It has done so. I do like the build quality and the ‘fun’ of OS X — and I do still need a fully capable operating system that, for example, let’s me easily multitask with multiple apps.

I don’t think I’m far away from living my work life fully on something like a Chromebook. Or maybe a Microsoft Surface. Decisions, decisions.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

8 replies on “My laptop hard disk crashed… and I don’t mind. What a difference the Cloud makes!”

You could try going with Microsoft Surface Laptops they are much like chromebooks but with very familiar interface n very user friendly especially with the new surface pro 3

This is my particular ‘first world problem’ too. MacBook Air, all ‘my documents’ in One Drive, photos in Google, notes on Evernote, browser favourites and passwords in Chrome, music in iTunes match so I can switch machines in the blink of an eye… I think we are in a transition period where ‘cloud machines’ are not there yet… you would pay the early-adopter price and would penalized within a couple of years. I cant wait for the ‘invisible hardware’ era.

I’ve actually got an Amazon Workspaces instance as an experiment which is proving rather interesting in that ‘cloud machine’ regard. I still need a dumb terminal to type into though… But that could be the iPad. Or a Surface, maybe… It’s pretty exciting isn’t it Juan?

My Macbook Air is 2 years old and with a fast broadband connection still does all my tasks really well. If I have to guess, I would say the second generation of the new Apple Macbook or… Lets see where chromebooks are in a years time

Go for a new MacBook Pro, Ewan with Force Touch trackpad…As far as backups go, I’m using a 2TB Apple Airport Time Capsule, there’s absolutely nothing to do except let Time Machine use it to backup. If anything goes wrong, it’s a piece of cake to just reset the Mac and then pick a backup from that – 30 minutes later everything is back to the way it was. That’s also my process whenever I buy a new Mac – boot up, pick the latest backup and it appears *exactly* as the old machine afterwards…!

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