Sunday, March 09, 2008
MacBook hard drive failures are no surprise
All of us in the Tabloid Baby office live by our Macs. The latest is the MacBook, which we've been using for about half a year or so and has served us well until Friday morning, when it suddenly shut down and came back up with the dreaded "flashing question mark" symbol. No, we didn't have the material backed up. We made an appointment at the Apple Store Genius Bar, where the Dwight Shrutish expert told us matter-of-factly that we'd experienced a "hard drive failure" and that since the computer was under warranty, he'd gladly replace the drive for free, on the spot, if we had half an hour to hang around. He had the MacBook in both hands and had pivoted toward the back room when we mentioned, "And we'll get all the information back, right?" "Oh, no. That's gone. You've lost everything," he replied with with what seemed to be a practiced blankness. "We are not authorized to do data retrieval. You'll have to go elsewhere for that and it's very expensive." "But we need the material. We can take the old drive, right?" "No. Because this is under warranty, we must take the original drive." We stopped him from taking the drive away for autopsy, and we left with the broken MacBook and business cards for three data retrieval companies, one of which was authorized by Apple and could replace the failed drive under the warranty-- after we pay potentially thousands to get our data back.
It was only later that Tabloid Baby's Mac Guy told us he'd done some research and found that MacBooks are known for an unusually high number of hard drive failures. And this forum on one of the Apple sites reveals a problem that the Apple folks apparently have known about at least since last May.
Topic for discussion: If Apple knows there's a problem, shouldn't they offer free data retrieval in this case? Or should Apple at least let customers keep the damaged drives in order to have the data retrieved on their own?
No, we didn't have the data backed up. Yes, we lost everything.