No. of Recommendations: 13
Sorry - there's really no point to this long winded post other than to vent and share my tale of woe. Well, maybe there are a couple points. Most importantly: Remember to have a good backup plan!!! After that, AppleCare is a good thing and Apple service ain't so bad either.

My nice shiny iMac is dead. It happened without any warning. I left for work yesterday and she was humming along just fine. Then just after lunch DW calls and says she won't boot. Says it just clicks and then comes up with a flashing folder with a question mark in it. I figure no big deal - I'll just zap the PRAM or run a disk utility when I get home and everything will be just fine.

No such luck. I run it thru the usual stuff. Unplug everything, put it back together, zap PRAM, try starting in safe mode. Nada. She keeps flashing that question mark in my face as if to say "Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah!" Time to get more serious. I boot off of the install disk and run Disk Utility. Hmmm. No hard drive shows up for me to test/repair or even look at. Not good.

Now I think - "Did I get AppleCare on this thing?" I can't remember. Better dig up the paperwork and check. Yes! We got AppleCare! So I give them a call. Bummer - it's 8:55 PM CDT. They closed 55 min ago. Crap.

So I call them in the morning. The tech has me re-do everything I did last night so he can check it off his list and then tells me it can't find the hard drive and I need to go to the Apple Store. Well, duh. That's what I told you at the start of the call. But I know he's just following his script, so I don't harass the guy too much. He makes me an appt at the genius bar for 1:15 and gives me a case number.

In the meantime, I start to freak out about what happens if my drive is trashed. Are my backups current? I think so. Luckily, I do a daily incremental of all my docs and stuff (but not apps & system folder), so I should have everything. Wait - is my iPhoto library in there? I think it is, but that small lump in my stomach is that shadow of a doubt that it may have been left off. Oh sh!t! That would truly suck. I decide to bring my backup drive to the genius bar with me in case they can look at it and tell me.

Get to the genius bar at 1:10 and wait about 15 minutes. Andrew hooks it up and boots off of an external drive. Can't find hard drive. He calls Terry over (I guess Terry's the real genius and Andrew's just the apprentice genius). Terry says (paraphrasing here), "Yup. Your hard drive is toast. Hope you've got a good backup." They'll send it in, replace the drive and send get it back to me nice and clean like it just came from the factory. Gulp.

I ask if they can try to recover anything. He says nope. They can give me the drive if I want to try a data recovery service, but if they can't mount it, they can't do squat. Dang! So just to see how dire my situation is, we hook up my external backup drive and I check to see what I've got. Last incremental backup was 10:28 AM yesterday. Cool! Browse through the logs of the full backup and see that it does include my iPhoto libraries. Whew! So I'm looking at wasting some time setting everything back up, but I think I can recover all my critical stuff.

Apple says it will take 3-5 business days, so I should get it back next Friday at the latest. So I get to spend a week without my iMac and next weekend setting it back up. Bummer. But I guess I should count my blessings. Could be worse. Much worse.
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When Life Gives You Lemons
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