Diskless Macbook Pro

So, I have positive proof that the file system crash of last week was not a software problem in Leopard, but indeed caused by hardware failure. After restoring system from Time Machine, things looked pretty good – everything seemed to work. I was able to re-render the screencasts I have lost – I mean I have lost converted AVI files and MP4 files, not the “source” MOV files. I worked on Mac over Saturday and Sunday. Because my Time machine does not backup virtual machine images, I had even whopping 65 GB of free space :-). I saw a bit more of beachballs, but I thought (wishful thinking) it is because Spotlight is busy rebuilding index …

In some moment of bliss I have asked my son to get and build for me 250 GB external FireWire disk with this beautiful enclosure and on Sunday evening, I tried for the first time wonderful program Carbon Copy Cloner that duplicated the harddrive to external one, promising bootability.

On Monday morning, at customer location I tried to copy VMWare image from network. System froze with beachball and had to be powered off. Same result for the second and third attempt … with only difference that it did not boot back and hard disk started to make that weird clicking sound.

I brought it to Apple service center which confirmed the problem, took out the disk, ordered replacement part and asked me to come back tomorrow. That would cause a problem, as I am attending few meetings in Montreal in next 2 days and need my notebook with me and in working condition.

Fortunately, the bootable external drive trick worked perfectly. After power on, I need to hold Option key and select the external disk – and everything works just fine. I am actually typing this on my Macbook Pro :-). No observable difference in speed, the only annoyance is that I cannot really use notebook in train or anywhere where there is no power supply for the drive.

I am still amazed how flexible is the Mac hardware and how capable is the firmware. Being many years Windows user, before this, an idea of cloning disks and booting notebook from external hard disk seemed pretty far fetched. As they say in Germany – man lernt nie aus ….

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