6/12/2011: My hard drive crashed. Luckily I did a Time Machine backup yesterday. It's been a few months since I did an XP backup on the PC-side, but it's also been a long time since I changed anything important over there. I should have no problem restoring the Mac files, (and I hope some applications as well). I'm a little worried about the PC side, as I had some music software and I'm not sure if I can reinstall it on my own.
Whatever the case, I need to get up and running again. There's a lot to do in life, and a lot of my efforts use the computer, and it's mostly on a Mac. Here's a list of my concerns:
- What is the cheapest/best route for restoring all our files and get back to work?
- When I restore the Mac stuff, will it restore the applications as well?
- If it restores applications, what will happen on a newer Mac? For example, if I backed-up iLife '06, and the new computer has iLife '11, will Time Machine overwrite the new version to restore the old? Or will Time Machine be smart enough to not restore iLife '06?
- How do I restore the Boot Camp partition? When do I create the new partition on a new computer? Will the XP Backup restore everything?
- When I restore Microsoft products, am I going to have to authorization problems (seeing how I'm installing on a different computer)? Am I going to have to call them up and explain that my computer died?
- What about those PC music programs? If XP Backup doesn't restore them, will I be able to gather all my install disks together, etc.?
- Do without and move everything to our laptop. This is the cheapest route, but the laptop doesn't have the 10-keys. I can't do math without 10-keys! Also, our laptop is fun, not work! And the screen is so small.
- Replace the hard drive. (The second cheapest route.) I'd replace it myself if I could get inside the iMac. They have everything so crammed in there, I'm not even going to try. It'll cost at least $100 labor to get it done. Even then, I would still have the graphic card anomalies, and it will still be too slow to play all the new games.
- Get a new computer - not an iMac, but a separate tower and a separate display. If I do this, I wouldn't have to buy a keyboard or mouse. Plus, if the hard drive crashes four years from now, I may be able to replace it myself. Or I could more cheaply replace just the tower, and keep using my display. But alas - look at the prices at apple.com. The Mac Mini (smallest one) is $699. It has a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo chip; 2GB memory; 320GB hard drive (or 500GB for $50 more). If I want to purchase a display, it appears that Apple only has one available: the 27-incher at $999. Really, Apple? You don't have any smaller displays? That behemoth won't fit on my desk! Together this all comes out to about $1700.
- Get a new iMac. On the other hand, check out their smallest iMac. It's a 21.5" screen. It has 2.5GHz Quad-Core; 4GB memory; and 500GB hard drive. All this is $1200. So, for $500 cheaper, I get more computer, faster graphics, and a screen that fits on my desk. I don't get it--how does this come out cheaper?