Just to close the loop, Apple finally did an acceptable job of repairing my Powerbook. The display is perfect, and they seem to have thrown in a new lid, as well. So they get credit for for that. However, unlike previous repairs, which were turned around in a matter of days, this one took more than a week. And if I hadn’t called them to push it along (the Apple Repair Status page falsely claimed that my laptop was still at the local store, four days after the repair facility actually received it), I imagine it would have taken a lot longer. But it’s back, it works, and that’s that.

Except one thing still bothers me. They replaced my hard drive, and didn’t send the original back. Now, when you send it in, one of the paragraphs you initial on the repair order is that you understand that there is no guarantee against the loss of your data on the hard drive. Which makes sense – they can hardly be expected to perform a full backup on every laptop that goes through there, and then go through the trouble of making sure that it’s accurately restored. This is why I made a full backup before I dropped it off. But I didn’t expect them to touch the data. In fact, they almost certainly didn’t. For whatever reason, though, they decided to give me a new hard drive, and probably threw the old one in a bin somewhere. Which is what bothers me.

Now, no one but me has my admin password for that hard drive. Further, my entire document directory was encrypted. But it still bothers me that, somewhere out there, there’s a copy of my financial records, personal files, and pictures of me at the last Britney Spears concert (kidding. I’m totally a Christina Aguilera guy). Yes, they’re encrypted, but still. When I asked the Apple guys if I could get the drive back, they told me that it was long gone. They couldn’t, however, assure me that Apple – as a matter of policy – destroys or otherwise renders such drives unreadable. Nice.

Next time, I’m deleting all user files before I ever take something with a hard drive in for service. I don’t need to get an email from some bored kid with an encryption-smashing quantum computer in 10 years, laughing at what he found on a hard drive he picked up at a junk sale . . .