Sunday, December 25, 2011

Apple Lion Internet recovery a good thing

It used to be that I was in a tiny minority who used a Mac. I've always regarded this as a competitive advantage - I got on with my work while others fought with viruses, weird behaviour and a generally hostile environment.

Something's changed and a few years ago fellow programmers all switched to Macs, now this has broadened to the extended family too.

One potential drawback is that I'm the tech support "go to" guy.

A sister-in-law, who's never used a Mac, recently went wild and purchased a second hand 17 inch Macbook Pro. She used it for a day and then dropped it which killed the hard drive. Very upsetting.

She left it with me on Xmas day and I've just had the pleasant experience of using Apple's Lion Internet recovery feature.

Lion has a recovery partition on the boot drive which lets a tech person do a disk utility Repair or even a clean install. In this case the drive was damaged and so by booting holding down Command-R and choosing a Wifi network, the machine downloads this software from Apple.

In the future, when most machines out in daily use have this feature, it will be fantastic for front line support people - in the past we've had to build up a collection of software CDs for every different model.

I replaced the damaged drive with an old drive I had lying around. Turned out it contained Ubuntu which booted up and looked great. After re-formatting the drive, the install takes about half an hour.

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