I missed last night’s weblog through no desire of my own. My laptop decided to take a vacation on me and crashed with a blinking question mark on restart.

Luckily, it was my Mac laptop that died, not my PC. Since it was my Mac that hosed itself, I was able to hook it up to another Mac in Target Disk Mode using the Firewire port (IEEE 1394 to you PC types). On the other Mac, I could then see the laptop’s hard drive. Disk First Aid and Norton both choked on the drive, though–they couldn’t fix it.

Since I could see the drive I figured that I could at least copy my info off. The drive was physically OK; it was the directory structure that was corrupted. But where could I find a 60 GB hard drive to back up my data too? I didn’t have one.

I did, however, have a brand new Macintosh XServe, a Unix server with 360 GB of space. Within three minutes I had my laptop connected to the XServe and I was using the Disc Copy program to back up.

Several hours later, I came back to the office and started the restore. I blew away the bad hard drive, reformatted it, and used Carbon Copy Cloner to put everything back on my laptop. A few updates later, I had my laptop back (and I’m writing this post on it now).

An interesting point: I had access to a big hard drive to back up my stuff, but the rest of the tools are freely available for Macs. If I had this happen to my PC, I’d be up the creek without a paddle. There’s no way I’d be back up with a fully functional machine and a clean install within a day. And I can tell you from experience that my Macs have much fewer problems than my PCs. I like both, and I use both, but if I had to choose one, I think my choice would be pretty clear.