It’s past the mid-year point of 2016 already so it’s safe to say that most PCs on the market these days are non-hard disk drives but instead have speedier SSDs inside. All Mac notebooks use SSDs. So what happens when it dies?
Back in the day swapping out a dying hard drive was a relatively painless affair. Open a case, unplug the old, plug in the new, shut the case. Of course, that process didn’t include how to restore apps and files, but you get the idea. A dying SSD is a problem.
The Best Backup
Today’s Macs and PCs can be more problematic when they begin to die or die because manufacturers do not want customers to stick their fingers inside the case. What can you do to keep your Mac running when it won’t run?
Bob LeVitus had a problem with an aging MacBook Air that should help us to take stock of our backup system. He did it wrong.
At first it just ran a bit slower than expected. Apps took longer than usual to launch, and the spinning pinwheel of death appeared more and more often. So, I went through my standard first line procedure for shooting trouble.
We’ve all been there. The Mac won’t start up after acting a bit wonky. What to do?
- Rebooting didn’t help.
- Safe Booting (by holding down the Shift key during startup) didn’t help.
- Disk Utility’s First Aid (run from the Recovery Disk) reported no issues.
- Malwarebytes reported no issues.
See the problem? Plan A didn’t work and LeVitus went with Plan B.
Plan A was flawed because the Mac did not have a backup clone. The MacBook Air’s internal SSD was dead and nothing was going to bring it back. Compare that to having an external clone of the Mac which would have gotten him back on track in minutes.
Plan B was simple. Buy an external SSD disk drive, format it, then use a Time Machine backup.
Time Machine is good for finding lost or misplaced files, but lousy for recovering a Mac after a catastrophic failure. It’s too slow. A cloned Mac– on an external SSD disk– is instant. Even better, the cloned SSD can be hooked up to nearly any Mac and you’re back in business.
I might replace the damaged internal drive someday, but I’m not sure I could do it myself, and I’m not sure I’m willing to pay to have installed. Until then, the little replacement disk is smaller than the MacBook Air’s trackpad, bus-powered, silent, and works great.
LeVitus got to the same place, but spent far too much time getting there. Our Macs are backed up six ways to crazy with multiple disk drives (SSDs and hard) on each Mac via a clone, then critical files are backed up online, and backed up between each Mac.
My recommendation is simple. Get an external disk drive– hard disk or SSD– and clone your Mac using SuperDuper!, Carbon Copy Cloner, or ChronoSync. You can create a backup system like the one we use on the Mincey Plantation, or use a simple clone, but a cloned Mac is a far better backup than Time Machine.