Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Switch: My Journey from Mac and Back Again, Starring a Frozen Hard Drive

For my entire high school, college, and teaching years, I was a Mac guy. I wasn't one of those annoying Mac guys that believed that Steve Jobs had cried tears of gold on every Mac produced, but I really liked using them and enjoyed it. When I left teaching, I went to work for a company that didn't use Macs and to be able to work from home, I needed a PC. And based on being a Screensavers fan, I knew that I could probably build it myself and so I went for it. Which means that for the last 6 years, I've been a PC guy. Except for the iPod and then earlier this year, the iPhone.

Well, last Wednesday, I suffered a major hard drive crash. Couldn't get back into Windows at all. And I hadn't backed up in a while... Lots of lost data and especially pictures. Lots of pictures. I was crushed and Sheryl was fairly unhappy with me. The computer had been having issues for a while and we'd been thinking about replacing it. When this happened we decided to take the plunge and return to the land of Macs by getting a refurbished iMac. But that didn't solve the problem of the existing crashed hard drive.

Well, I tried putting the hard drive into an external enclosure to retrieve the info and that didn't work. I then purchased a program that I could run to try and retrieve the data. It kept hanging and wouldn't recover. And so I tried the last resort before taking it to a professional.

I stuck the hard drive in the freezer.

Yes. I put it in a plastic bag and stuck it into the freezer for an hour.

After that time frame, I put it back into the hard drive enclosure, and lo and behold, the hard drive appeared on the Mac and minus a few hangups here and there, I was able to get ALL the data off it that I needed, especially the precious pictures we had. And so now, we've had a successful switch. I'll be loading Windows onto the iMac in the next week or so for those few times that I need it, backing up regularly (in a couple of places), and enjoying my excursion into the land of Mac.

Addendum: For those interested, here's an article about why freezing a hard drive can help recover data.


Adam said...

Welcome back, my friend. "Time Machine" is your friend.

Jennifer Thompson said...

The freezer?! That is bizarre. I've never heard of that. What makes it work?

I don't think Jobs cries tears of gold either, but his company makes products which are infinitely more usable to me than Windows, and for that, I am thankful. I'm glad you returned to the fold.

Tom said...

Glad the freezer thing worked for you. It's a 50/50 guarantee. :)

I saw a hard drive from Tiger Direct the other day. It was a 1TB external for $170. I usually don't order from them, but that's not a bad price. You could backup your whole system and have plenty of room for other stuff like MP3's and JPG's.

Tony Arnold said...

Tom is right. I just ordered a fairly large external, USB HD for backup only for less than $75 at Tiger Direct. Backed up my PC and I keep it in a fireproof floor safe between backups.

Tony Arnold said...

PS Large in storage capacity but small in size.

Jonathan said...

I use Jungle Disk with Amazon's S3 so that the backup is automatic (from multiple computers) and off site. When I was backing up to a USB drive I wasn't disciplined enough to do it regularly.

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