I read with interest that Apple are having to recall some Macbook Air’s due to them having hard disk problems. I use a Macbook Air myself and it’s a wonderful piece of equipment. Infact since having it for about 18 months it’s never ever gone wrong.
Anyway, it seems that a particular batch of Macbook Airs have left Apple containing a hard drive with a buggy firmware revision. For those of you who don’t know what firmware is, think of it as the code that runs the hard drive. Unfortunately that code contains some errors that causes the hard drive to fail and the data on the drive to be lost.
This is important for several reasons. Firstly is the perennial problem of data backup – some people do, some don’t, some do but only a bit. But the fact is that if you’ve got one of these Macbook Airs with a faulty drive you need to back your back up ASAP. The second point of interest is the hard drive itself. Macbook Air computers run the new SSD type of hard drive. These drives don’t have any moving parts and rely on storing your data to memory chips. The old hard disks that are still very much alive and well and in use in probably about 99% of all computers in the field are mechanical devices – they store data to a magnetically coated rotating disk. Read/write heads move across this disk to read and write the information. These drives offer much larger storage capacities than the newer SSD devices but of course you can get away dropping an SSD without running the risk of catastrophic data loss due to drive failure – not that I would advise you dropping an SSD to test it yourself of course.
Another core issue (see what I did there? Core… Apple.. get it?) is that hard drives still go wrong. Old HDD technology is now about 50 years old, new SSD disks have been around in the mainstream for 5 or so years, but both go wrong.
If you own an Macbook Air you can download and run a test on your system to see if your Air is one of the unlucky ones. If it is you’ll need to take it into an Applestore where they’ll sort the SSD disk problem out for you.
Data Clinic’s SSD data recovery page is here – literally bursting with lots of fantastic information about SSD hard drive failure and recovery.