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View Full Version : How to retrieve data from MacBook Air (late 2009 model)




maavens
Jun 21, 2012, 03:45 PM
My sister's MacBook air won't start - it seems like something with the OS.
Of course there is no back-up, and she stands to loose both work and personal documents including all of her photos, etc.

The question is now, how can I retrieve the data from her Mac?
If it were any other model, I would simply start it up in Target Mode, but this is not an option on the Macbook air, which does not have a Firewire port.

There must be some way to connect to it.
At my disposal I have an external USB optical drive, my own Macbook Pro, and we are willing to spend some money on anything that may help us to save all of her data.

(...regarding back-up, I actually did persuade her to get Crashplan to automatically back up all of her data, but apparently she never got it configured, so it hasn't actually backed up anything)



firewood
Jun 21, 2012, 03:55 PM
OWC may make an USB SSD enclosure/adapter for your model MBA SSD. You could remove the SSD module from a dead MBA and try reading the data that way.

Or you may be able to make a bootable optical disk with your MBP, and then try booting the MBA from the optical disk drive.

maavens
Jun 21, 2012, 04:08 PM
I think it has a hard drive, not SSD... Is the HD removable, and if so, is it a standard SATA drive which I could put in an external enclosure?

How would I go about making a bootable optical disk from my MBP?
I would prefer not to have to take the MBA apart :)

negatv1
Jun 21, 2012, 04:13 PM
http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/macbook-air/macbook-air-faq/macbook-air-how-to-upgrade-the-hard-drive-swap-for-ssd.html

dona83
Jun 21, 2012, 04:22 PM
Your model has a removable SSD. Get it out and back up that data ASAP.

Why do people not backup their stuff in the first place? THINGS HAPPEN!

maavens
Jun 21, 2012, 04:40 PM
Why do people not backup their stuff in the first place? THINGS HAPPEN!

Like I wrote, she had installed Crashplan, but had not set it up to back anything up - she's not very technical. I blame myself for not specifically telling her she actually had to tell crashplan which files/foldes to back up.

But what about the option to boot from an optical disk - or could I install an OS on a USB drive and boot from that?

Stingray454
Jun 21, 2012, 04:47 PM
Use Lion Recovery Disk Assistant (http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1433) to create a bootable USB stick and boot from that. From there you can run Disk Utility (that might fix the disk), or you can pop in another USB and copy files manually through a terminal window perhaps. Let's just hope the disk itself isn't broken.

dona83
Jun 21, 2012, 05:46 PM
I prefer Carbon Copy Cloner or just use Time Machine. Why complicate things? It's like an exercise plan, keep it simple and it'll be done daily, make it too vigorous and it'll quickly die off.

Stetrain
Jun 21, 2012, 06:18 PM
Which model of Macbook Air is it? Does it have the fold-down port door (2008-2009) or does it have the wedge design with ports on both sides (2010-2012)?

Edit: Not sure if it said in the title before or if I just missed it.

From this guide:

http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/MacBook-Air-Models-A1237-and-A1304-Hard-Drive-Replacement/860/5

It looks like the hard drive in that model has an oddball connector. I'm not sure if you can get a cable to connect it to another computer. Maybe an Apple Store would be able to do it?


Use Lion Recovery Disk Assistant (http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1433) to create a bootable USB stick and boot from that. From there you can run Disk Utility (that might fix the disk), or you can pop in another USB and copy files manually through a terminal window perhaps. Let's just hope the disk itself isn't broken.

That sounds like a pretty good solution to me. It's at least worth a try. On that model Air you may need a USB hub so you can plug in both the bootable thumb drive and another drive to copy files to since there's only one USB port.