As some of you may recall I have been having problems with my MacBook Pro, to the point where I was just about ready to give up on it. It has been crashing more and more often recently and this is not something you want in a work machine. I had installed a new SSD but the machine refused to boot after awhile so I stuck the old hard drive back in. There were still random crashes but at least it worked, most of the time. Sometimes programs would not work as they were supposed to. Sometimes the whole machine would simply freeze and all I could do was lean on the power button until it reset. I was, to say the least, unhappy. One reason I have always liked Apple machines is, to quote the slogan, they just work. Apparently not this MacBook, not any more.
A friend of mine had been having similar problems after migrating his stuff from his old Mac to a new MacBook Air. The machine worked fine when he bought it but when he imported his old programs and data to the new machine it kept crashing. A clean install would see the machine working again and a Time Machine update would cause crashes. On my own machine I had started to suspect motherboard failure but this gave me pause for thought. Over the years I have migrated my programs and data a lot of times, from a 2004 vintage iBook through various system upgrades to an Intel iMac and on to an Intel MacBook and finally the current MacBook Pro. Some of the stuff on my computer dated back to era of PowerPC chips and ran on the Intel machines using Rosetta, the PowerPC emulator that used to come with all the Intel Macs. This got me thinking that perhaps I was not experiencing hardware failure but maybe kernel panics caused by some sort of creeping incompatibility or instability. There was only one way to find out.
This weekend I formatted my Kingston SSD again, fitted it back into the MacBook Pro and did a clean install of all the software I wanted to use from downloads or the original disks. This was going to be a completely clean installation. Most of my work is stored in the cloud in Dropbox. My notes are all stored in Evernote. My passwords are in a 1Password encrypted file in Dropbox too. This made the process pretty simple if a little laborious. In a few hours, my machine was running again and running pretty much perfectly. To be honest, it is like having a whole new computer. The MBP always booted fast from the SSD but now it is twice as fast. I have only been using the machine for a couple of days now but so far there has not been the slightest hint of instability. No crashing, no kernel panics, all the installed software works perfectly as it is supposed to.
This might just be a coincidence and the machine may start crashing again tomorrow. I hope not. I’ll report back if there are any problems. If you’ve experienced similar crashes you may want to give this a try. It’s a pretty radical solution but right now I am really, really happy with the machine. On the other hand I am going to be a lot more suspicious of the whole process of upgrading operating systems and migrating data in OSX in the future.