Macs Crash Too

By Deane Barker on November 20, 2007


This is a MacBook Pro doing an imitation of a paperweight. It has been bricked. It stopped responding during some update process, and even the local Mac dealer here cannot get it working again. It is being paved and reloaded as I write this.

This is a $3,000 machine. It is four months old.

For the record, in all my years of working with Windows, I have never had a machine go so totally non-responsive on me that I had to pave it. I had one once that locked up randomly every few days, and I paved that one, but I’ve never actually bricked a Windows machine.

No real point here, except to say that in my experience, Macs’ supposed superior reliability is a myth. Macs crash too, and based on my experience with all the Macs around me, they crash at about the same frequency as my Windows machine, which is to say rarely, but no better.

Gadgetopia

Comments

  1. Ouch! My experience has pretty much been the opposite. I’ve seen more than a few bricked Windows boxes and haven’t seen one Mac brick yet. This doesn’t really surprise me, I’ve dealt with many, many more Windows systems than Macs over the years. Count yourself lucky if you’ve never had a bricked Windows system. Clearly you’ve never done IT work at a university :-)

    A thought came to mind while reading your post. Perhaps the myth people are putting out there is that Macs aren’t capable of being bricked. Which of course isn’t true at all. In my experience though, the odds of bricking one compared to a Windows machine is much lower.

  2. This was an issue with the latest OS Update (Tiger) 10.4.11. And you can’t ever rule out user error…

    Mac Doctors reinstalled the OS, completed the update and didn’t touch the data. Beautiful.

    Just curious, is it possible to reinstall Windows and update their service packs without losing your data?

  3. “Even the local Mac dealer here cannot get it working again” I call bullshit. He was simply so overwhelmed with MBP crashes, that we had to wait until this morning to get the OS reinstalled.

  4. And who is responsible for support on said machine? ;o)

    I’ve worked on Macs since 1994 (or so) and have never had that happen, but have heard of it happening to others, most often while applying incremental updates. And while I’ve only seen Windows machines reduced to the usefulness of a brick a handful of times, they seem to do it with much less prompting.

    Ever since the advent of OS X, I’ve always been very careful about incremental OS updates. Most people who do this stuff for a living watch sites like MacInTouch after updates are released to see what gotchas are in store for the unwary early adopters (10.4.11 Update Experiences here). Apple really, really needs to be more diligent in testing their updater packages. Unsuspecting users shouldn’t be used as guinea pigs.

  5. I’ve been using Macs since 1992 and I’ve never seen a serious problem on a Mac that wasn’t the direct result of user error.

  6. I’ve been using Macs since 1992 and I’ve never seen a serious problem on a Mac that wasn’t the direct result of user error.

    Dude…seriously? I kinda feel the need to call BS on that one.

  7. Thanks for showing me that, I know someone who swears a mac will never crash! Never say never!

    I have used windows pc’s forever, I guess it’s usually been a budget move. My first pc when I was in college had a lot of issues, (win95) But I’ve been very happy since. The laptop I am using was purchased at walmart for $700 and has done a lot of work for me with only a memory upgrade.

    Mac’ers keep trying to get me to switch but I have yet to see justification of the extra grand I would have to spend …

  8. As a Windows, Unix, Linux, and Mac user…the biggest downfall I see for Mac users is over-confidence in the product. While Macs have tradtionally been more secure than Windows, I’m not so sure you can say that is the case anymore.

    Increasingly, in the office we have been needing to spend just as much time patching/securing/hardening our Linux/Unix boxes as we do our Windows boxes. You can’t tell me that Macs are not facing the same issues…Mac OS X is built on Unix. The day of Macs not being affected by the world around them is in the past.

    I watch my wife on her Macbook Pro hook up to wireless networks and I just cringe. I know exactly what makes that system secure and why it isn’t fully secure. The Mac is like a teenage daughter…she says she can handle anything thrown at her and nothing is going to really hurt her…meanwhile Dad is sitting home worried sick.

    I should note that I’m slightly bias aganist the Mac. I’ve never forgiven the Mac when it ate my 3-inch disk with its automated insert/eject drive in the late 80s. That cost me an extra weekend in the library. I’m not sure I could blame Steve Jobs though…I think he was still at NeXT and had not yet returned to Apple.

  9. I manage a site that runs about 140 Macs, most of which are OS X, and about an equal number of PCs running some flavor of Windows. We occasionally see the multlingual “You need to reboot” screen, like maybe once very other month. I’ve never had an OS X box so hosed I couldn’t do something with it. I’m not making any judgements here, just illustrating that Deane’s experience maybe isn’t typical. Of course you could pretty much say that about Deane general.

  10. If you go on YouTube and search for a compilation called “Mac World Bloopers”, There was one clip where Steve Jobs acknowledges that Macs do crash. “That’s why we have backup systems! [switches screen].” Ironically, the backup Mac system is standing by with a blue desktop wallpaper (whereas the original one isn’t!), which I like to call the Blue Screen of survival.

    Hey, while you’re at it, search for “it’s all about BOOM.”

  11. Interesting….. My girlfriend, who owns a macbook, has encountered a problem. Her screen is constantly blinking, and she has no Idea why. They actually ended up giving her a new one, but she lost her $600 photoshop….

  12. well my mac just crashed a minute ago while sending a email on chrome right now i am commenting on a article about crashing macs with my mac that crashed minute and ten seconds ago

  13. well my mac just crashed a minute ago while sending a email on chrome right now i am commenting on a article about crashing macs with my mac that crashed minute and ten seconds ago

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