Gremlins? The wicked hand of fate? Bad luck? Or simply a random event that’s not personal at all?
On Friday, I rose at my customary hour (between 07:00 and 08:30 now I’ve retired from the ranks of the wage slaves). My Mac had a little notification, top right, advising that some updates hadn’t been installed. It needed a restart.
I keep the system up to date to stop hackers and the like and to ensure it all runs smoothly, so I dutifully clicked the button.
The system turned itself off, after I’d saved and closed active windows. With it’s usual noisy announcement, it started up again, and I waited. The usual box appeared to tell me it was calculating time needed to install the update.
And then, disaster!
The screen flickered from pale grey carrying the Apple symbol, to black. A second’s pause. A new box gave me a message:
‘Mac OS could not be installed on your computer. The operation couldn’t be completed. Undefined error: 0. Quit the installer to restart your computer and try again.’ Underneath, a pretty green button invited ‘Restart’.
I’m as techie as I need to be as a writer and photographer, but I’m no computer buff. Since the cursor could find no menu bar on which to select and quit the ‘Installer’, I naturally clicked the ‘Restart’ button.
The whole sequence repeated itself. Ignoring the definition of insanity that states it to be your condition if you repeat a known failure, I clicked on the ‘Restart’ button again. I tried this eight times with the same results before I gave up, switched the machine off manually, and went for breakfast.
Fed and refreshed I resolved to sort it before we went out for various supplies.
No go. The process continued in its insane and frustrating cycle.
After lunch, I explored the possibility of gathering advice via my iPad. But the Apple system is such that it places a few barriers in the way in the form of serial numbers (no idea where I’d find that), the issuing of codes to the ‘device’ in question (couldn’t access the Mac and the iPad gave no clue as to where I’d find such a code). So I tried another tack. I phoned them.
The call took me to a number purporting to be in UK, but, after a few questions to determine the nature of my problem, I was transferred and found myself talking to Bruno, in the Philippines. He was very helpful, even as the bearer of bad news, but had to transfer me to Jan, an expert. He was equally helpful. It appeared an update to my system had been ‘interrupted’ (by a power cut?) and caused the OS to stop working. The only solution? Delete the OS and reinstall it.
And lose all my data!
I have a backup external HD, and subscribe to iCloud, so my stuff should be retrievable. I followed the advice, since there was no alternative. By this time, it was Friday evening and I was a little weary, but I started the reinstall and left the computer to it.
Saturday morning, I opened up to find the Mac functioning. But no data. A helpful box appeared and I followed the instructions to retrieve data stored on my external hard drive. There was a lot of it, over 160GB, so it took a while.
Sunday, after spending the morning painting the village hall, I explored to find out if anything was missing and discovered my last backup on the hard drive had been 9th January. We’d had a series of power cuts (small village fed by electricity cables that wind through the forest surrounding us. High winds and snow often cut the power) and the hard drive had been playing up, so I’d disconnected it. Obviously forgot to put it back.
Next came the attempt to recover data from iCloud. No idea how to do this, so contacted Apple again. This time spoke to a young woman in Athens who led me through the procedure. We recovered some data, but not the photos I’d taken since 9th January. They’re lost to the ether. Still, it could have been worse.
At least the current WIP on Scrivener is intact!
So, a few days of frustration and much lost time. And, guess what? The hard drive is reconnected and fully functioning, just in case!