So, I made a really stupid mistake when updating iTunes on my MacBook Pro. Luckily, I have regular backups to Time Machine to quickly get me back on track! Here’s what happened, and what I did to fix it.

Apple updated iTunes, which included fixes for their Apple Music service. I was notified of this by the Mac App Store app, and so I proceeded to update as I would usually do. It went through the installation/update procedure, but then appeared to hang. I didn’t see anything going on, and all my running apps seemed stuck and unresponsive. I don’t recall of the mouse or keyboard were messed up too, but they may have been. Now, usually I would be the one preaching patience and letting the machine do its thing. No idea why today was different. Either I was in a rush or just merely inpatient. In any case, this stalled computer needed to be dealt with NOW.

So what did I do? I held down the power button, triggering a hard reset.

I know that you generally aren’t supposed to do this, as there is a huge risk of data loss and corruption. That probably holds doubly true when you do it while the computer is accessing core files, such as iTunes.

What I didn’t realize until precisely the moment the screen went black was that there actually was the white overlay timer on the desktop to indicate something important was going on. Poor placement of the indicate against my lightly coloured desktop wallpaper. Unfortunately, I killed the power in the middle of an upgrade operation, not a hung and unresponsive program.

I rebooted, and was immediately told that I had done something inadvisable. I also was prompted several times for my iCloud password for various apps (Messages, FaceTime, more?), along with Yosemite asking to grant permissio. For something important-sounding to access something else equally as important-sounding. I agreed and provided all the credentials I was asked for until everything settled down. Then I tried to open iTunes.

At first, iTunes gave me a dialog box saying that it was checking my library. I’d seen this before and thought it connected to Apple Music. However, it did this for a very long time. Minutes. When it finally went away, I could see that iTunes was running from the menu bar, but it wasn’t visible on screen. I quit the app and restarted. It checked the library again, but then it went into my music. Though this time, I got the rainbow beach ball spinning as it tried to load the album art. This took several minutes before it loaded everything. I should note that I don’t have a huge library. Maybe 30 albums? I don’t know exactly, but nothing that should be this unmanageable. Once it all seemed to work, I quit again and tried again. Again, checking forever and then loading forever. This time I went durther and tried to access my movies or tv show tabs. These each took forever to load.

Whatever was going on, it was clear that I had messed up something, and this new iTunes was not usable.

I tried to reinstall iTunes by downloading the DMG file from Apple, but that did t change anything. The same long load times remained.

So, my next trick to try was a restore from Time Machine. However, there was a catch to this. I have two Time Machine backups, one done wirelessly to my NAS, and one done periodically to my USB 3.0 portable drive. The NAS version backs up pretty much hourly, or however often Yosemite schedules it. I back up to the portable drive every two weeks or so. The catch now is that my most recent backup is only accessible wirelessly, meaning it would take quite a long time to do. The portable drive would be much faster to restore from, at the cost of the last two weeks of data.

I went with the portable drive over the NAS, with the thinking that most of my documents get saved to Dropbox or iCloud, and these could simply sync back after the restore.

It looks like my decision paid off. The restore was completed in about an hour, my documents and pictures synced back, and I am now pretty much where I left off. Happily, iTunes is up to date and opens as quickly as before, pre-stupidity.

So, the lessons? Don’t be impatient! Give your computer time to do what it’s doing. When you see things that say not to disconnect the power during the operation, believe that this is important! Also, backup your computer! Luckily, I had a semi-recent backup to get my system back, and was able to sync my documents back easily. I might even start to more regularly backup to my portable drive so that I always have a very recent backup available to restore from quickly, should something like this happen again.

Fingers crossed it won’t happen again though! I have learned my lesson. :)

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