Moving To A New MacBook Pro Was…. Largely Painless [UPDATED]

Almost thee weeks ago, I updated to OS X 10.8.4 on my Mid 2009 MacBook Pro . I left the room to do something else and came back to a black screen about 10 minutes later. I figured that it was just asleep, but hitting the keys didn’t wake it up. I found that weird so I restarted it by powering it off and then on again. I saw the grey Apple screen and then the screen went black. I knew that was bad. So I re-booted into safe mode with the same result. I knew that was really bad. The reason being that safe mode boots the computer into a very minimal configuration that removes almost anything software related that might cause an issue. The fact that booting into safe mode didn’t solve the issue meant that this was a hardware issue. I did some experimenting and found that if I plugged a monitor, I would get a display on boot in either safe mode or normal mode. If I could get it to switch to the NVidia 9600 GT graphics processor from the NVidia 9400M graphics processor, I could sometimes get the internal display to work. But only until I rebooted the computer. That again pointed to a hardware problem.

I made an appointment the the Apple Genius Bar the next day and they confirmed that the graphics subsystem had failed. It would cost $600 to fix seeing as the computer was no longer covered by AppleCare. Seeing as the computer was over three years old, it was time to move on to something newer. I looked at the current version of the same MacBook Pro version that just died, and the new MacBook Pro with Retina display. After looking at both side by side for 10 minutes, I chose the former. It had an option for a matte screen. The Retina display version did not and it was difficult to use in the glare of the Apple Store. This was the deciding factor. If the Retina display model had a matte display, I would have bought it on the spot. But it didn’t so I passed on it. It was fast and light, but the screen was just something that I could not use.

Hint to Apple: You need a matte display option for all your notebooks. You’ve been called out on this before. And in my case, it cost you some cash. Please get the hint and make this an option across the board.

The MacBook Pro also had built in Gigabit Ethernet along with a built in SuperDrive. Plus it used all the existing accessories I already own. So I put in an order online (as matte display models are not stocked by Apple Stores for whatever dumb reason) for the 2.3 Ghz quad core i7 version with 8GB of RAM and a matte display (which has the bonus of a 1680×1050 resolution display). The rest of the notebook was stock meaning that it also had a 500GB 5400 RPM hard drive.  I got it yesterday. I plugged in an Ethernet cable and fired it up. The plan was that I was going to use the Migration Assistant to move my applications from the old MacBook Pro to the new one. The process is pretty straight forward and documented here. It took a couple of hours to do it’s job, not that I was here to see it as I decided to take my wife out to dinner, but it did work. Mostly. I tested all the apps that I have installed and found that Parallels Desktop and Microsoft Office wouldn’t start up properly or at all. A reinstall of each cured that. The only other thing that was wrong was that SuperDuper which did my backups had to have the backup scripts rewritten and I had to create new disk images to back up to. Again, not a big deal. The bottom line is that within 4 hours of starting the process, my new Mac was set up. It was almost painless which I appreciate.

So what do I think of it? It’s early days yet, but I do like it. I will post a review after I’ve had a few days to use it. As for the Mid 2009 MacBook Pro, I do plan on getting it repaired eventually. But not to keep it. I will be donating it to a woman’s shelter as they could use it for good along with some other computer hardware that I think they could use. If anyone has a suggestion of a worthy women’s shelter that I could donate it to, please let me know. I’d really appreciate it.

UPDATE: Today I discovered that Undercover for Mac was reporting the wrong serial number for my new Mac on their website. To solve that, I had to log into their website and delete my old Mac. Then reinstall the Undercover for Mac software and re-run the setup.

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