Apple Wiped my Hard Drive

Shacklebolt

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 2, 2004
596
0
I understand some of the pitfalls of sending a computer in to AppleCare, but I think that this particular case is beyond the beyond.

Last year, I spent about 3,000 dollars on my Powerbook G4 1.67/1gb/100gb/128VRAM/Applecare. Ever since, it has been giving me problems. My hard drive has broken (been unable to mount to the point of needing to be replaced) TWICE. This previous time, I had JUST returned from a trip to Europe (more or less a once-in-a-lifetime trip too). I had loaded about 650 pictures onto my computer and deleted them from my camera. 3 hours later, my computer was dead - whenever I tried to restart it, I got a kernal panic message. When I tried to use diskfirstaid, the problem couldn't be fixed. When I tried to archive and install, the computer couldn't even mount my hard drive to reinstall the software. I spent about a day on the phone with Apple, mainly worrying about ALL the data on my hard drive, some of which was backed up, but my more recent acquisitions (namely, my entire photo library (about 2500 pictures)) had not.

Finally, the tech who arranged the repair on my computer ASSURED me that my hard drive would not be replaced. More than that, he wrote down in my file (AppleCare history, I'm assuming) that my hard drive wouldn't be erased. Finally, to top it all off, when I sent my computer in, I left a physical note on the computer, saying "If you need to reformat my hard drive, you MUST call me first at xxx-xxx-xxxx." I recieved my computer two days later. My entire hard drive had been replaced and, I'm assuming, thrown away.

This is just beyond the beyond. Those photos were irreplacable, and I would have gone practically ANY end to have them rescued from my damaged hard drive.

The moral of the story is such - AppleCare, no matter what they say, no matter what they mark down in your file, no matter what physical note you leave and expect the m.f. people in the repair center to at least be human and pick up a phone, Apple has absolutely, positively, 100% ZERO RESPECT FOR YOUR DATA.

What I'm angriest about isn't that my hard drive was replaced. It was that I was ASSURED that it wouldn't be erased (which is what convinced me to send my computer in for repair before pursuing some sort of data retrieval) and it was erased anyway.
 

Sun Baked

macrumors G5
May 19, 2002
14,874
57
If they replaced your drive, I doubt they erased your HD, just tossed it in the trash -- aka send it back to the Manufacturer for credit.
 

Shacklebolt

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 2, 2004
596
0
Sorry, I was unclear. Replaced hard drives (Customer Service told me) are magnetically wiped 24 hours after being replaced.
 

Sun Baked

macrumors G5
May 19, 2002
14,874
57
Shacklebolt said:
Sorry, I was unclear. Replaced hard drives (Customer Service told me) are magnetically wiped 24 hours after being replaced.
That's good to know for some people who think that Apple may mess with their data.
 

Simon1966

macrumors regular
May 23, 2006
123
0
United Kingdom
If the contents of your hard disk were that important to you then you should have made a back-up copy.

It's no good coming on these forums moaning when you should have basic precautions to save and make sure your data was safe.
 

Sun Baked

macrumors G5
May 19, 2002
14,874
57
Simon1966 said:
It's no good coming on these forums moaning when you should have basic precautions to save and make sure your data was safe.
2nd time it happened to him, would have thought he would have learned.

But likely Apple replaced the crappy drive, with the same exact one the first time -- and possibly the 2nd.

Some of these drives suck, and barely can make it past the year warranty.
 

Sesshi

macrumors G3
Jun 3, 2006
8,113
1
One Nation Under Gordon
What the above poster said. Sounds harsh but computers are fallible, and ESPECIALLY if you haven't had a rock-solid system you would be, shall we say, slightly hard of thinking not to contemplate back up.

I have a backup NAS which I copy stuff onto, and the server backs up onto tape as well.
 

Shacklebolt

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 2, 2004
596
0
As I said before

What burns me up is that I was promised that my data wouldn't be wiped, and it was anyway. Obviously, if they told me that they could make no guarantees, I wouldn't have sent it in. Again, it's not that my data was erased, it's that I was told it wouldn't be.
 

milozauckerman

macrumors 6502
Jun 25, 2005
477
0
It's rather absurd to blame this guy - he has a valid complaint. He was informed by the geniuses/CSRs/etc. that his hard drive wouldn't be erased. It was. That's bad service and he should be contacting everyone down the line, up to the special exec line people talk about here.

I would find that number and call before talking to anyone else at Apple - there's every chance they could edit your history and erase any promises about not wiping your data.
 

benthewraith

macrumors 68040
May 27, 2006
3,083
80
Miami, FL
Shacklebolt said:
What burns me up is that I was promised that my data wouldn't be wiped, and it was anyway. Obviously, if they told me that they could make no guarantees, I wouldn't have sent it in. Again, it's not that my data was erased, it's that I was told it wouldn't be.
Sorry to hear about your digital images from Europe. :( I know how that feels, my old dell laptop (which only started going bad after BIOS somehow got messed up and the fan never came on.) had gone with me on a trip through the West. Carribbean, and while I was networked in Cozumel, a virus destroyed everything. I had to reimage, permanently losing those images. :mad:

Yeah, it does seem fishy that they didn't at least attempt to retrieve the data on the Hard disk. I don't know that much about the Mac OS other than how to use it, and I don't know if you can recover things from hard drives that have been removed...whether there is a tool to extract the information and transfer it over to the other computer outside of logging in or running the OS. I wonder if they attempt to repair the hard drives and repackage them with refurbished notebooks. :rolleyes:
 

Felldownthewell

macrumors 65816
Feb 10, 2006
1,053
0
Portland
Simon1966 said:
If the contents of your hard disk were that important to you then you should have made a back-up copy.

It's no good coming on these forums moaning when you should have basic precautions to save and make sure your data was safe.

Thats a bit harsh. Not only was his HDD faulty twice, but he backed up almost all of his data, except for very recent and irreplaceable pictures. THEN applecare swore to not erase his HDD and they did! He had a reasonable expectation that he would be able to retain his information and apple renagaded on their deal...thats horrible!
 

MRU

Suspended
Aug 23, 2005
25,318
8,706
Other
I had similar experience. My powermac G5 has been troublesome since I got it Rev A - Jan 04. In the first 3 months one of the processors had to be replaced and it's had problems since.

Two weeks ago my powermac decided to comit half suicide on me again. It would boot to the apple logo, but no further.. Fans blaring out loud and no response from keyboard, hence couldnt enter terminal/open firmware, reset p-ram or anything.

Apple care told arranged collection and it was sent away to be repaired. However I rang the repair center to ask them to make sure the drive wasn't wiped and if necessary to swap the main drive for the secondary if a re-install was needed at all, as I had graphics projects half - two thirds completed for clients on the main drive....

9 days later my powermac arrives. I boot up. Find both my drives wiped and a fresh install of 10.4.6 on my main drive. DAMN!!!!!

Then i ran system profile 'about this mac' and found some of my memory had dissapeared too.... I rang the repair center, they said they would send out me my missing ram, but my drives are screwed as far as getting back any of my work. Leaving me pissed off with apple and my clients pissed off with me....
 

Mr_Brightside_@

macrumors 68040
Sep 23, 2005
3,145
1,191
Toronto
Hi Shacklebolt, i was wondering where it was that you went for your vacation... because maybe, collectively, we could all send you our own [landscape] pictures from some of the places you've been? Or maybe our own members in the cities could shoot the sights there that you may've seen? I realize this will come nowhere near to what you yourself did but it's better than nothing... I have nice ones of different parts of France... anyway maybe this is going nowhere but it's not like it's hard for us to do... tell me [us] what you think... cheers
 

IndyGopher

macrumors 6502a
Nov 3, 2001
782
1
Indianapolis, IN
While it sucks that you lost your photos, and while it seems reasonable to expect a company to do what it says it will do, I can't say I am (or that you should be) surprised that this happened. Data recovery companies would probably not exist if computer manufacturers made it a regular habit to do the same thing for free. That said, recovering 2500 files with binary data (as opposed to text files, where errors and small missing pieces do not render them completely without value) could easily run you $1,000 to $1,500 or beyond.

Any data you consider irreplaceable should have been backed up before you deleted it from the source (in this case, the camera). For that matter, if it were truly irreplaceable and of that much sentimental value, I am surprised you didn't keep the memory card from your camera AS a backup, as well as burning it to a DVD or external hard drive, etc.

Instead of being so harsh to the OP, hopefully all of us can learn from his unfortunate experience, or at least recall it as a reminder to keep and create backups as a first resort, and not a last one.
 

iGary

Guest
May 26, 2004
19,583
1
Randy's House
I feel bad about your images, but this is a really good reason to burn your image files to DVD or CD straight away when you download them to your computer. That way you have a backup immediately.

(Not saying this as an "I told you so," but more as an idea to keep others from making the same mistake.)
 

Harryc

macrumors member
Mar 22, 2006
33
0
New York
my computer was dead - whenever I tried to restart it, I got a kernal panic message. When I tried to use diskfirstaid, the problem couldn't be fixed. When I tried to archive and install, the computer couldn't even mount my hard drive to reinstall the software.
Based on this description it sounds like your hard drive died. Evidently Apple Repair felt the same way. So, why is it that you did not expect them to replace the faulty drive? Isn't that why you sent it in to a repair center? Chances are that if diskfirstaid failed, your data was gone before you shipped it out. You could have tried AHT as well, but I bet it would have failed on the hard drive test also. Apple did what was required. They obviously saw the note, but nothing could be done to save the data.
 

benthewraith

macrumors 68040
May 27, 2006
3,083
80
Miami, FL
iGary said:
I feel bad about your images, but this is a really good reason to burn your image files to DVD or CD straight away when you download them to your computer. That way you have a backup immediately.

(Not saying this as an "I told you so," but more as an idea to keep others from making the same mistake.)
The issue is if he was in hotel rooms during the entire time and didn't expect to have his computer die. I don't blame the original poster, it wasn't like I brought a CD-R/RW with me when I went on my cruise through the Western Carribbean. Though I would have uploaded them to Yahoo certainly, though again, it depends on whether he had network access at his hotel room. :(
 

lamina

macrumors 68000
Mar 9, 2006
1,753
41
Niagara
I can't blame him for complaining. This was definitely a special case, and the fact that he left a physical note on the computer itself, after having an AppleCare agent make an electronic note on his file, it is pretty unacceptable. All they had to do was call.

Yes, he should have made a backup of his important data. But, is it unacceptable for him to make a simple request to AppleCare before shredding his hard drive? I don't think so.

I would be really upset with AppleCare, but there really is nothing that they can do to remedy the problem, as the data backup warning (I'm sure) is in the AppleCare fine print.

It really is a shame, since if it was ust the motor on the hard drive that died, the data could have been recovered, for a large fee.
 

devilot

Moderator emeritus
May 1, 2005
15,588
2
lamina said:
Yes, he should have made a backup of his important data. But, is it unacceptable for him to make a simple request to AppleCare before shredding his hard drive? I don't think so.
I disagree. What if every single customer had just "one simple request" per hardware issue? The costs of servicing would undoubtedly skyrocket.

But I really don't blame the OP for feeling upset. That really does suck that you lost those photos.
 

California

macrumors 68040
Aug 21, 2004
3,766
41
I guess I would have asked them to try to copy the contents of the hard drive, something that Apple will do for a nominal fee when you send in your computer. Bummer. However on trips, I did bring back up cds with me so I could burn current stuff. I had a 1.33 iBook without the motion sensor and the hard drive froze for a long five minutes when I got to my hotel. That Mac was history when I got home. But it did work and I did make back up cds on the trip.

One other thing, I really try to watch the heat issues on my mac laptops. Heat really messes with hard drives. I've adopted putting blue ice paks underneath them to keep 'em cool. Will probably invest in one of those fan system stands soon.
 

CanadaRAM

macrumors G5
Below is the fine print.

The apple employee SHOULD have told the OP
"If it's data recovery you want, send it to TotalRecall along with $3000 (or more), don't send it to us for warranty replacement. Once they have disassembled the drive, it will not be covered under warranty, so please budget for a new hard drive as well"

Of course, that presupposes the employee could accurately guess the nature of the problem at intake.


http://images.apple.com/legal/applecare/appna.pdf

b. Limitations The Plan does not cover:
(xi) Damage to, or loss of any software or data residing or recorded in the Covered Equipment. When providing repair or replacement service, Apple will use reasonable efforts to reinstall the Covered Equipment’s original software configuration and subsequent update releases, but will not provide any recovery or transfer of software or data contained on the serviced unit not originally included in the Covered Equipment.

4. Limitation of Liability
APPLE AND ITS EMPLOYEES AND AGENTS WILL UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES BE LIABLE TO YOU OR ANY SUBSEQUENT OWNER FOR ANY INDIRECT OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO COSTS OF RECOVERING, REPROGRAMMING, OR REPRODUCING ANY PROGRAM OR DATA OR THE FAILURE TO MAINTAIN THE CONFIDENTIALITY OF DATA, ANY LOSS OF BUSINESS, PROFITS, REVENUE OR ANTICIPATED SAVINGS, RESULTING FROM APPLE’S OBLIGATIONS UNDER THIS PLAN. TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW, THE LIMIT OF APPLE AND ITS EMPLOYEES AND AGENT’S LIABILITY TO YOU AND ANY SUBSEQUENT OWNER ARISING UNDER THE PLAN SHALL NOT EXCEED THE ORIGINAL PRICE PAID FOR THE PLAN. APPLE SPECIFICALLY DOES NOT WARRANT THAT IT WILL BE ABLE TO (i) REPAIR OR REPLACE COVERED EQUIPMENT WITHOUT RISK TO OR LOSS OF PROGRAMS OR DATA, AND (ii) MAINTAIN THE CONFIDENTIALITY OF DATA.
 

Demon Hunter

macrumors 68020
Mar 30, 2004
2,284
38
I'm sorry that happened to you. Like the others, I'm not surprised.

That's why we have SuperDrive and .Mac!
 

Felldownthewell

macrumors 65816
Feb 10, 2006
1,053
0
Portland
devilot said:
I disagree. What if every single customer had just "one simple request" per hardware issue?
Well I think the issue here is not that he had one simple request, it is that he had a simple request which Apple agreed to fufill. It is not as if he asked and they so no, or he didn't ask at all; he asked and they said yes, which means that the agreement should have been fufilled.

Saying otherwise is like paying for a computer with a 2ghz processor when you ordered one with a 3ghz processor- then the company telling you, no, sorry, it is to expensive for us to replace it.

If an agreement is made, which it sounds like happened, then the agreement should be stuck to, simple as that.
 

yg17

macrumors G5
Aug 1, 2004
14,910
2,480
St. Louis, MO
If the hard drive is bad, what did you want Apple to do then? Wave a magic wand and hope it fixed itself keeping all data in tact? Then you'd be complaining that Apple didn't repair your computer
 

CanadaRAM

macrumors G5
Felldownthewell said:
Well I think the issue here is not that he had one simple request, it is that he had a simple request which Apple agreed to fufill.

If an agreement is made, which it sounds like happened, then the agreement should be stuck to, simple as that.
The complicating factor is that the employee in question did not have the authority to enter into that agreement on Apple's behalf, and should not have done so.

If the hard drive is bad, what did you want Apple to do then? Wave a magic wand and hope it fixed itself keeping all data in tact? Then you'd be complaining that Apple didn't repair your computer
YG - read the posts again. The point is that the OP DID have another option, a data recovery service, and he asked that if it was a dead hard drive, that Apple stop repair and allow him to retrieve the drive to send to the expensive bit-wizards. He was denied that opportunity. That's what he is aupset about. Apple should have told him "No" up front rather than trying to be helpful. Of course, we might have gotten a thread about how Apple "forced" someone to pay for their own data recovery on a drive that was under warranty. Who knows? Just that (from a service point of view) going beyond the normal procedures to help someone is almost guaranteed to bite your @## before its over. The system does not accommodate deviation well at all.

IMO I would not have sent it in in the first place, but send the drive for recovery first if the data was irreplaceable. But you have to balance that against a recovery bill of $1000 - $5000 at TotalRecall or ActionFront or DriveSavers. It is also a case of warranty vs. data. If you claim on the warranty, you lose the data. If you recover the data, you lose the warranty.