Yesterday my laptop died.
It was my day job laptop, a MacBook I’d had since I started there two and a half years ago. It worked fine on the bus in the morning – I got a bit of outlining done, in fact – but when I plugged in at my desk it started to fritz out on me: random blocks and lines appearing on the screen before it reset.
And reset. And reset. Power cycling did not help.
The IT guy took it away and reset the P-RAM which got the computer to boot again, but about five or ten minutes into starting my working day the screen fuzzing came back and… well, that was about it.
The going theory is that it’s GPU-related since I had a few system crashes over the summer which had no specific trigger but left stack traces which pointed to something breaking in the GPU driver. I hadn’t seen that in a little while, but screen breakup is consistent with such a root cause. Not fixable internally, anyway.
And so I got to find out whether my backups worked.
I am delighted to say that they did: I have Time Machine setup on my Macs, and that last few minutes of clean runtime were enough to complete a backup set and sync Dropbox files up to the cloud, so my files were restored onto a replacement computer.
It was not a quick process, though: more than four hours from a local USB disc, with occasional in-process estimates that it would not be done for the entire day. I was still connected via my phone and I had things to work on in the meantime, but it was not the day that I had planned.
The moral, then: back up your data.
And be ready for some inconvenience when you need to restore.