What I learned from crashing

My MacBook Pro showed some weird behavior over the last weeks: Apps didn't launch, some froze and shutting down MacOS without brute-force-pressing the power button was a rare matter. So I thought, why not try a fresh install of OSX - probably not a bad idea after a few years collecting clutter. And while I released the mouse button after clicking on the "Erase Disk" button I wondered if I had a working backup.

Well, of course it wasn't that unthoughtful. I use TimeMachine for doing my local backups and additional run Crashplan for offsite storage. So I had a good feeling of spring-cleaning freshness while I was watching the progress bar of the Snow Leopard installer. The weird thing is that even on the freshly installed system the problems I had previously persisted - it was impossible to reboot the machine, eventually even Finder refused to start. Only after the 3rd install (and in each case it was a clean install on a freshly formatted hard disk) signs of kaputtheit vanished.

Eventually I started to reinstall all my applications and restored my user data and certain preferences. At least that was the plan, because TimeMachine told me that the sparseimage was broken (why didn't it tell me some hours ago when the backup ran through?). Finder also refused to open it. So I thought: Good that you have a second security layer, namely Crashplan.

What I didn't consider was that restoring 160GB of data (that's without the OS) takes some time. Even though I have a 50 MBit internet connection, the typical download rate from Crashplan Central varies between a few kBits up to 1-2 MBit. Estimated time of arrival: 4-15 days from now.

So, my conclusions for now are:

  1. it pays off to have at least two backup strategies
  2. it would be better to have even three

After my fresh install I now also have a local backup created by the Crashplan client, stored on my Drobo in the utility room downstairs.

Leave a reply