Last night I was working on my MBA (the one I am now typing this on) and all of a sudden, spinny little pinwheel of sadness and a totally unresponsive computer. I had to to a hard power down (hold power key until it cried uncle) and then attempted to boot it up again....white screen....for about several minutes. Powered off again and powered on again....white screen....for a few minutes...and then a big flashying folder with a question mark on it. After staring at it another few minutes in disbelief, I powered down and attempted to boot again with the option key, hoping that it was just "confused" about where the boot drive was.
At this point, it goes into "Remote Install Mode" (which is pretty freaking awesome, unless you think you just lost your hard drive) asks me for a wifi password and downloads the installer from Apple servers and brings me into what is effectively an OS installation screen. I choose disk utility to have a look at my hard drive to see what is going on and low and behold....no hard drive....nothing...only the disk image that was downloaded from Apple.
If there was any greater sadness than the spinny pinwheel, this was it. I am asking myself how a flash hard drive just stops working - I mean...nothing moves - its just happy little dancing bits moving around (ok, fine, the bits move...but nothing else.) So I schedule my appointment with the local genius bar...from my iPad...and go to sleep.
Fast forward to next morning (bypassing nighmares of failed backups and weird little munchkin people stealing my hard drive) and I am waiting for my oil to get changed at the local garage. Being ever hopeful, I fire my MBA up in the waiting room and 7 seconds later, there is my login screen.
And now here I am typing this question to the community wondering what just happened. What would cause the hard drive to simply disappear as though it died, and then reappear the next morning again as though nothing had happened?