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How To Save Yourself and Your Mac Some Heartache

written by: •edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 9/6/2009

Through my time owning a Mac I have developed a talent for breaking things. Experimenting is one thing, but completely ruining your system is another. Read this article for some entertaining stories and a couple of suggestions on how to avoid the pain I felt. Enjoy!

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    Love at First Sight

    I remember when I first got my MacBook. Not only were the nights prior without sleep but the drive to store to get it was probably among the longest ever. I know I sound like an exaggerating lovesick puppy, but it is honestly true. Finally the moment came, that beautiful white box met my hands and finally I had my laptop. As soon as I got in the car I carefully opened the box and there it was, my MacBook. Its beautiful black exterior accented by the beautiful Apple made it belong in an art gallery.

    As I lifted the top the first thing I noticed was the simple but sleek design. It reminded me of all of Apple’s other powerhouse products. My hand pressed the flush power button and then I heard that beautiful sound, the sound that all Mac users recognize and get goosebumps from when hearing. After relaxing my cheeks from the intense grinning I was experiencing I started adding the various programs that I needed for school. The main program I had to put on my Mac was Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac. It hurt to have to inject a disc into my brand new computer that had the word “Microsoft” on it. As the lump in my throat swelled I clicked install. To my delight everything went without a hitch. I ignored the software update for Microsoft Office simply because I had no Internet connection while on the highway. This was the start of my many problems that I had just before my freshman year of college. The problems that forced me to separate from my lovely Mac were not at all the fault of Apple but actually from Microsoft. I hope that the experiences that I had to go through will help you and your new Mac avoid experiencing any hardships in the beginning of your relationship.

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    A Stake to The Heart

    My first few weeks with my Mac were indescribable. The amount of days and hours I spent obsessing over my new best friend were probably a little much but that’s why I bought the thing and not a PC. If I had purchased a PC I would have opened it, cried, and then threw it back in the box and gotten a Mac. But all jokes aside, after my honeymoon I did make several key mistakes that no user should ever make.

    For one, I committed the biggest betrayal a Mac user can make. I tried to install Windows! I know, I am ashamed of myself. I have tried numerous times to removes that horrid event from my mind but its like a stain in the carpet that just won’t come out. Regardless of my feelings now I did commit the crime, and I really did do the time. As the PC devil sat on my shoulder and told me to push the dreaded disk into my DVD-CD drive I could hear the Mac Angel, like a messenger from Steve Jobs telling me not to do it. The PC devil spoke much louder and I could only faintly hear the Angel sent by Mr. Jobs.

    I launched Bootcamp (Apple's application that allows the user to split his/her hard drive and add Windows) and everything was going fine. The disk partitioned wonderfully but then as Windows was installing my computer started to make noises like a banshee on fire. I thought it must just be normal but I was definitely wrong. The computer got super hot, my explanation later was it got a fever. I had given my pure computer this dirty demon known as Windows! After my beautiful Mac shutdown to start the restart process I took a deep breath and did not release. It wouldn’t start back up!

    I was frantic; my heart was racing and my eyes welling with tears. As the screen lit up I did not hear the wonderful sound that had once greeted me so many times before. My heart sunk, I flat lined. The only communication I could have with my beloved MacBook was this flashing folder with a question mark on it. I immediately raced to the phone to call Apple’s wonderful support network but it was too late, they were closed. I would have to wait until the morning, a wait that I didn’t think I could endure.

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    Reunited and it Feels so Good

    It goes without saying that I did not sleep well at all that night. I set my alarm to wake up as soon as Apple’s Customer Service Hotline opened. As my shaky hands dialed the numerous numbers I began to have a little bit of hope re-enter my heart. As I described my problem to the Apple expert she sounded optimistic about fixing my problem. I raced to complete everything she told me to try but everything failed. My heart once again refused to continue beating until my Mac regained consciousness. What ended up happening was when I was in the process of partitioning my drive it wiped it clean. I had no operating system for the computer to read but also I had fried a stick of RAM in the process. The only way to fix this problem was to take it in for repair. A week went by and it was probably among the longest weeks of my life. I had dreams of an Apple that just wouldn’t light up that haunted me for a countless number of nights.

    Eventually my Mac was back in my hands and I had learned my lesson, or so I thought. I never tried to put Windows back on my baby but I did repeatedly make a mistake that caused me an awful lot of heartache and trouble. After getting my Mac I had to reinstall all of the programs that I had previously had on it. I did not put any other programs on it other then the ones that I knew I would need. Among the most important was Microsoft Office. Naturally it installed without a problem but after the installation process was complete my computer would close programs randomly and then need to be restarted. This happened a countless number of times. I was heartbroken; frantically I called Apple once again. They told me the only way to fix this problem was to do a clean install. This was the only way to end this reoccurring event because the issue was clearly software related and there was no way for a rookie like me to find the exact application that was causing the problem. The installation process was simple and the Apple expert led me through it all the way. The problem was solved but once again I had to reinstall Microsoft Office. Once again after the installation my computer was all messed up again. I couldn’t believe it, I became angry with my Mac and couldn’t understand what could be causing this. I began sending email after email, asking for my money back or a brand new computer. Livid does not even begin to describe the amount of frustration I had built up over the weeks. Then, all of sudden it came to me.

    As I installed Microsoft Office I was prompted to do an automatic update or choose to manually check for updates. Regardless of what I chose an update was going to be installed. This was the root of the problem. The actual update that was forcefully being installed upon my computer was not meshing with the beautifully created OS X 10.5.4. The solution to this problem was very easy, when prompted I just hit “Command Q” and then was never asked again. Everything was working wonderfully, that was until I started installing Apple updates. Something about updates and me just don’t mesh. Whenever I installed the security update released by Apple my computer would need a clean install and clearly this was not good for my computer. Finally it had enough and fried. I had to take it back in for diagnoses and finally the repair. In the end the hard drive had been faulty. The belief was that when I tried to put Windows on my Mac I had caused a slight bit of damage to the hard drive that later spread until the drive could not function anymore. The drive was replaced and I was back in action with a big arsenal of lessons learned.

    As ashamed that I am in the many mistakes I made I think they have made me a much smarter Mac user. I have gone from trying to install Windows to writing articles about Mac tips and tricks for users. I hope that you as a Mac user take the stories that I have shared in this article and apply them to your own life with your Mac. Feel free to experiment with your great product but never, ever, ever install Windows on your Mac. If you want Windows go buy a PC and then make room in your dumpster for it.

Tips for Young Mac Users

As you enter college you are probably just starting to use your brand new Mac. You may be new to the Mac world or a veteran user. Regardless of your status this series will only be beneficial for you and your Mac.
  1. How To Save Yourself and Your Mac Some Heartache
  2. Why Buying a Mac for College Just Makes Sense
  3. Internal or External Hard Drives for Your Mac?