Help Me Rebuild My Laptop

I work in a Windows environment, so when my shiny new Macbook Pro arrived 6 months ago I wasn't quite sure where to start. I fiddled with it for about a month and ended up putting it away a lot and getting out my trusty IBM. I just wanted to get my work done and was frustrated with how to do similar tasks on my Mac. So, I signed up for Apple's One-to-One classes.

Slowly but surely, I began to only use my Mac. I ended up taking my Macbook Pro to NECC and leaving my IBM at home! Then one day, about two weeks ago, my Mac crashes. I mean...dead, gone, black screen...nothing. I take it to my local Apple store and the Genius tells me, "Your hard drive crashed, you'll have to get a new one. I hope you didn't save anything on it." I smugly replied, "Oh, I never save anything on my hard drive, so I'll be fine." Then I realized...I'll have to remember all of the applications people told me to download over the last six months. Some of which I'm not sure what they did, but maybe they were essential? Oh boy!


I got my computer back this week. I've re-downloaded Second Life and Flip4Mac, but please help me by telling me must-have applications I need to download to get my Mac back in fine working order. I'm writing them down somewhere this time as I download them!



That along with ILife and Final Cut but the above apps are all free.

I shudder to think of my hard drive crashing. I MUST BACK UP!!!!!!!!!!
I use skitch constantly....what else? firefox? skype, audacity... That's all I can really think of that is free and that I use with any regularity. The other ones seem to present themselves as you need them.

Your post reminded me that I need to back up my vacation photos! I was going to remind you to get Firefox and Skype too but I was too late :)

Scott R. said...

Get an external Firewire 400 drive with the same capacity as the internal drive on the MBP. These drives can be found on Amazon and other on-line retailers for under $100 for a 120GB bus powered drive. I say bus powered so you don't have to worry about plugging the drive into a power outlet... they get power from the Firewire port.

When you get the drive, format the drive in Disk Utility as a single partition formatted as GUID Partition Table. This makes the drive bootable from Intel Mac's.

Next, download a copy of either Carbon Copy Cloner (free) or SuperDuper (free trial/inexpensive/I use) and create a cloned backup of the internal drive onto the new external Firewire drive.

In the event the internal drive crashes and needs replaced, you have an identical clone that can be restored to the new replaced internal drive... with all your apps and settings in place. This is also good if after an app install or setting change, something gets messed up, you can restore to a known good configuration.

Just remember to keep regular clone backups not letting it get out of date.

Note: SuperDuper also has a feature that only copies changed files to the external drive during the clone backup, which save a bunch of time.

Thanks everyone for all your help! I'm slowly rebuilding. :)