Boot Camp Surprise After OS X Drive Failure

So…last Friday morning, I walked into my home office, sat down at my desk, shook the mouse to wake the screens on my shiny new Mac Pro, and was greeted by a pinwheel of death which refused to go away. I turned the machine off, let it sit for a few and powered her back up, only to be greeted by what sounded like a noisy front case fan and a gray screen. No apple logo, no spinning wheel. Just a gray screen. I was in a bit of a hurry to get to the office and didn’t feel like messing with it, so I just powered it back down and picked back up where I left off once I got home that evening.

No love. Drive was toast. Couldn’t boot into single user mode. Couldn’t see it in Disk Utility after booting from the System Disk. Couldn’t choose the drive from the System Installer. Couldn’t select it to restore to. You get the picture. Toast.

I packed up the drive in a paper wine bag (since I didn’t have any static bags handy…and because I found it humorous at the time) and headed to the closest Apple Store to see if they could swap it out for me. They confirmed it was truly dead, but they didn’t have any replacements in stock, so they ordered one and informed me I’d have to go without my Mac Pro for the weekend.

Rewind to the week after I bought the machine back in March. Fortunately, the first upgrade I ordered was a 750GB drive to serve exclusively as my Time Machine back-up drive…just to be safe. Thank God. I had also purchased a copy of Vista Business…just to live dangerously, but had installed it on its own dedicated disk…just to be safe. After returning diskless from the Apple Store, I fired up my Mac Pro again, this time holding down the Option key, to see if Boot Camp would work in the absence of OS X. Well, what do ya know! It worked. Looks like Boot Camp lives on the hardware and is completely independent of OS X, so Vista booted up without a hitch and I was able to use my machine over the weekend after all…though not with OS X, which is where I prefer to work.

So far, Apple replaced the drive without any hassles and Boot Camp surprised me by working independent of OS X. Next up - Time Machine’s system restore functionality put to the test.