Are You Planning On Erasing Your Old Mac Or Hard Drive Today?

MacMedics Locations in Severna Park & Lanham

UPDATE 12/29/12: I’m re-posting this Blog POST from 2009, because lots of folks are spending time during the New Year holiday to do some house keeping on data from this year. I’m also sure lots of folks got new Macs for the holidays too, so be sure to read the Blog post below.

Three things to remember:
1. Never delete data that has not been certified in it’s new location or on a new computer.
2. Never use a computer to process and generate mission critical data without a back-up.
3. Don’t ever try to “fix” your Mac (or allow someone else to try) by erasing your hard drive or re-unstalling your OS without a working and tested backup.

When folks buy a new computer and then transfer the data to the new unit, they are often anxious to re-purpose or re-sell the old computer. So much so, that once they see the new unit is up and running, they will ERASE the old unit and put a fresh OS on it in preparation for it’s new life. In many cases they have already made a deal to sell their old Mac and the sale is “pending” on them getting the new Mac up and running. So there’s often some pressure to get the job done quickly and complete the transaction.
With all hard drives (and new hard drives in NEW computers) there’s a 30 to 60 day “burn-in” that if the drive is going to give up on you there’s a pretty good chance that it will fail in that time frame. There are almost no DOA hard drives, so the ones that have issues are the ones that develop one in that first 30-60 days. If a hard drive comes off the line at the factory and it’s got an issue, they catch those, and destroy them. In fact, it’s been quite some time, since a hard drive has arrived here at MacMedics “Dead On Arrival”. In a few cases we see them dead, when they have been improperly packaged for shipment. We cannot afford to have one of our client’s computers to have a sick hard drive installed in it, so if a batch of hard drives comes to us and they were shipped by an idiot, then back they go. Thankfully we buy by the case, so the factory shipping container is usually very sturdy, so this is not an issue very often.
NEVER EVER put new data on a new hard drive (then delete your old data or sell an old computer) and assume that you’re safer then you were with the old drive. Data SHOULD always be in two places at once!
If you need to erase an old computer and you’ve just transferred ALL of your data to a new shiny computer, don’t let that “new computer” feeling of safety (because it’s new I’m LESS at risk!) distract you! If it’s a new Mac, then run a quick Time Machine back up or clone your drive with SuperDuper BEFORE you erase that old data. Don’t forget to ensure that new backup is also working correctly. This is a common issue, so DON’T fall into this trap!
If your Mac is not feeling well, and someone recommends an erase of your hard drive and an OS X system re-install, don’t proceed with that until you can be 100% that your data is really and truly all backed up. Don’t trust anyone to tell you otherwise. You need to see your data with your own eyes before allowing anyone to work on your Macs, and especially if there are plans to erase your hard drive.
Don’t forget that if your Macbook, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro has to be sent in to Apple Depot Service, you MUST have a backup of your data before sending your Mac in (or letting someone else send it in). If you don’t have a Time Machine backup already and your Mac is too sick to turn on, we can remove your hard drive, install in another Mac (assuming the hard drive is functioning), and run a complete Time Machine backup before anything happens. This way you’re not paying for us to backup your data without fully benefiting from that investment.The end result is you’ll have a Time Machine backup if your computer gets lost or damaged in shipping or if Apple erases your hard drive (which is pretty much a certain bet when sending your Mac to Apple Depot Service).
See my website at Yeah! It’s that common of an issue that I made a website all about it. It has my TOP 5 list of data protection-preservation tips. Also see my Friday the 13th Blog post on topic of hard drives.

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