That’s my brand new Late 2014 MacBook Pro above and on December 22nd at around 8:30PM I got a spinning beach ball cursor. It happens sometimes. However, it seemed that more than just the current app was having issues so I did a force reboot and that pretty blue display you see above is all I saw from that moment forward. Normally in a case of system corruption you can hold down a variety of keys to bypass the internal drive and boot up either from the built-in recovery partition or an external/network drive. However, none of the usual keys worked. Holding down Option, D, R, etc. did nothing. I was never able to get past the blue screen (of death). I called Apple Care and they had me try a few more keys and nothing. Nope it was dead. They scheduled a Genius Bar appointment for me for the next day at the closest Apple Store. I took it in and upon a few more tries/diagnostics they determined that the logic board was bad and needed replacing. This was all covered under the original 1 year warranty and I had Apple Care as well. They overnighted it to their repair center and of course it wouldn’t arrive there until December 24 (Christmas Eve). The normal turn-around is 5 business days. I went home and used my MacBook Air while the MacBook Pro was off being repaired. Since I use Dropbox as my documents folder I had access to all of my most current documents with the exception the photo shoot that I had just done earlier that day. This of course got me to thinking about my current backup workflow and if there were any improvements that I could make. I backup over my network via Time Machine. The most recent backup was at 4:30 pm that day. Why not one at 7:30? Time Machine backs up every hour. However, depending upon the amount of data that needs to be backed up it could take a while. When my MacBook Pro crashed it was in the middle of doing a backup. Probably one that started at 5:30. I lost a few hours of work that I had done to my photos and Lightroom catalog. Even though my Lightroom Catalog is on Dropbox, it too takes time to sync. So the version that was on Dropbox was slightly out of date simply because it had not finished syncing yet. I also use CrashPlan to backup remotely. Same issue. There just hadn’t been enough time to backup my most recent work to the cloud. So I was left with a backup that was a few hours old. Now keep in mind, this is a GOOD thing. Most people in these situations have a blank stare on their faces when you ask “do you have a backup?” With Time Machine there really isn’t any reason to not have a “recent” backup.
Saturday, December 27th
I got an email Saturday morning letting me know that my MacBook Pro was ready to be picked up. Not too bad considering that this was over Christmas. I went to pick it up and when the Apple Rep brought it out I knew something was up because I said “that’s not mine.” You see, my MacBook Pro had a gelaskin on the back of it and this one didn’t have one. After a second I realized that Apple replaced the display.
Crap, there goes my $30 skin! I should have removed it before I took it in (and Apple should have asked me to remove it before accepting it to ship it away). Lesson learned. It turns out that Apple pretty much replaced everything. They replaced the display (top case), the logic board, and the hard (flash) drive. I was hoping that they didn’t have to replace the drive because I would then have access to the latest work. However, that was not the case and I took my “new” computer home. This is when I started the restore process from my Time Machine backup and I was actually really nervous about it. I was nervous because I thought “what if this doesn’t work?” In other words I was banking on getting everything back from a single source. Yes I had other backups such as a clone drive I carry around and CrashPlan, but my fear was that those backups wouldn’t have been as recent as the Time Machine one. This is when I got online and ordered a 4TB External Drive to be my SECOND Time Machine backup. Time Machine let’s you add multiple drives and it will automatically alternate between them each time it does a backup. I would have been a lot less nervous if there had been a second “local” Time Machine backup that was at 3:30pm.
It all worked out. It took about 8 hours to do the restore and about the same time to re-sync everything down from Dropbox.
If you care about your files and your work then you should seriously consider a second Time Machine backup. Why risk everyone on the hope that one backup will work and restore everything for you? As a matter of fact I’m now using three Time Machine backups. I have a portable 1TB drive that I travel with and backup to that one when I’m on the go. Drives are cheap. Here’s what I bought.