View Full Version : Backup drive debacle

Apr 23, 2003, 01:34 PM
I recently bought the Maxtor Personal 5000LE 80 gig external drive to back up all my photos. My home computer is a (how embarrassing) Power Computing 125 mhz tower of power running Mac OS 9.1 Here's the problem. I took the Maxtor to work and hooked it up to my G4 DP 800 mhz machine and couldn't get the drive to come up. I called Maxtor and they told me that the Mac OS 10.2 Jaguar had corrupted the directories and I would need to initialize the drive and lose all data. It now won't work on my home computer unless I initialize it.

Now for the heartbreaker. What I have on the Maxtor are pictures of my 5 year old daughter who was killed by a red light runner back in November along with her best friend. I have most of the pictures on ZIP but not all, and I have done extensive Photoshop work on many of the pictures that I neglected to back up. DriveSavers wants $1200 to $2400 to recover data. Who has that money?

Sorry for the downer. Can anyone help?

Apr 23, 2003, 03:08 PM
Try loading the drive from a machine booted in OS 9.x.
Just try it, it can't hurt.

We had several PC firewire drives that went bad. During the drive rebuild (when you plug a new drive into OS9.x) it did enough cataloging to allow me to fix it. If worse comes to worse, do a low level format using a PC (the only way I know how) and then use data mining software or disk repair software to find/repair the missing files.

Best thing to do, is to format the drives in NTFS or fat32( recommended for versatility) and then go to your Mac.

Apr 23, 2003, 03:40 PM
I did try it back on my OS 9.1 machine. No luck. So you think I should try hooking it up to a PC and doing a low level format. Does that erase data? Thank you Eniregnat for replying.

Apr 23, 2003, 03:54 PM
Originally posted by burlsq
I did try it back on my OS 9.1 machine. No luck. So you think I should try hooking it up to a PC and doing a low level format. Does that erase data? Thank you Eniregnat for replying.

My best answer would be to give diskwarrior a shot at fixing it. it specializes in rebuilding directories and has saved many a drive. Can't promise, but its certainly the cheapest and easiest thing to try.

Apr 23, 2003, 04:07 PM
Go with the software fixes first. Diskwarrior, Norton, PC and Apple remedies. Do what you can before formatting!!!

There are a number of options here, after all hope is lost.
The quickest level of formating general wipes out the "catalog track". It will "erase" data, but the remnants of what once existed will still be there, that is most of the files. Again, you would have to use some sort of data recovery software (I am not recommending any). This would be a last ditch effort and I would try it only if your both brave and skilled. You could also go to some disaster data recovery service, but that is pricey. If they have a clean room(more often a box) and can restore data from jewels they will defiantly be able to help you, but they will be pricey. -They shouldn't need to pop the drive open. A clean room just notes a level of expertise and specialty.- Below that look for computer doctors that offer data reclamation. Below that you have yourself and us- and that would both comfort and scare me.

Something to note, itís all about money, time, and hope. What is it worth it to you? The reason to go with a professional is that they have most likely dealt with this before. The learning curve is quicker for them- in general.

Good luck, and again, if you plan to use the drive between PCs and Macs, I recommend formatting it via the PC- they are just more finicky that way.

Apr 23, 2003, 04:27 PM
Not that I am saying to use Drivesavers, but if these are very important files, use might consider them. They really can recover anything off of a hard drive.

And if you really want to recover the images, I would consider them.

Good luck.:)

Apr 23, 2003, 04:39 PM

this might help you:

try prosoft's data rescue:


you can download a free trial version to see if it works. this programm does NOT repair your HD. it searches broken HDs and reassembles and writes the files it can find on a second drive. since you want to get your hands on data on an external one, this won't be a problem.
the trial version is fully functioning but you can only recover one file per session.

here are some hints how to use it (helpful to me...):

- general support page:

- FAQs:

this programm worked for me (my HD crashed too, see here: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?threadid=23368)

If the drive won't mount under Os9 or if the system crashes if you plug it in, try to download the OsX version and try to run the thing under OsX (I had this problem). you said you have OsX at work.

if data rescue is able to find you files, you can buy a serial code from the company (you can also get a bootable CD, but that one will take some time to ship...) ASA you paid online, and unlock the full version.

I hope this helps you, I was able to recover most of my files (70-75%) even though my HD was physically damaged... might work fine on yours

if you have questions, either email the Prosoft support (they were pretty nice people) or ask me

I wish you luck


Apr 23, 2003, 05:14 PM
Originally posted by Eniregnat
They shouldn't need to pop the drive open. A clean room just notes a level of expertise and specialty.

Clean rooms are also only used for physically damaged hard drives, like broken spindles or heads, useless in the case of a data problem like what this probably is.

I agree with Eniregnat. First and foremost you should try DiskWarrior or Norton. If you haven't invested in that kind of software before, now's definitely the time to do so. Not just for the immediate need, but for any future problems. Those two programs have more than paid for themselves over the years!

Apr 23, 2003, 05:17 PM
Nice use of the vocabulary, burlsq. I wish i had a few tips but i had to atleast read the thread because u said debacle.

Apr 23, 2003, 06:10 PM
As I stated, you won't need a clean room or box, that would be over kill, but thoes who have such equipment will likely be the best to get your data. Again- cost v.s. value.

As for the quick formating to regain data- This is only a last resort, and one for somebody that is willing to do a lot of work. This might alow you to remount the drive and begien work. This is the kind of thing that the really desprate do.

Don't forget Windows software. Just try it. It may get your data back. Try the software recommended by these good people first and if all else fails seek professional help.

Good luck, and may the Demi-gods of the Digital realm have mercy on your digits.

Apr 23, 2003, 10:37 PM
I am extremely grateful for all the help and advice. I did try DiskWarrior and it couldn't communicate with the drive unfortunately. I am going to try Prosoft next and then hooking it up to a PC. I am not giving up and all the advice has made me more determined.

I'll have to remember that using nice words like debacle can be an eyecatcher
Kwyjibo... :) Being a newbie and all...

Apr 24, 2003, 01:40 AM
Wow. I have no help for you, but those sound like the most important files in the world to you. Good luck with fixing them.

You may actually want to tell DriveSavers your situation, and what exactly is on the HD. You said they were charging between $1200 and $2400. Maybe they'll go easy on you and just charge you $1200 flat rate. Say you can't afford to pay more, but are willing to try and get it somehow. I find that people are generally understanding under certain circumstances. This may be one of those circumstances. ;)

Apr 24, 2003, 07:26 AM
I had this issue once, but try if you can to look for another service that will recover your data at a cost by the megabtye instead of one big bill that recovers everything, that way you if you don't need everything you can selectivly get what you want and save yourself some money in the process.

I would recommend if i knew of a company off hand.

Apr 24, 2003, 11:18 AM
I did go back to DriveSavers with more details about my situation Abstract. They responded right away and asked for more info. They seem like a top rate company. From looking at their website they have done a lot of free work for people. Wether they do it or not I think it's great that they responded and I told them that.

I told them we have a civil suit against the pizza delivery driver that ran the light and the pizza company and that if we win I would gladly pay them.

I definitley only need one folder CB and that's a good idea to just retrieve that one.

Apr 24, 2003, 11:34 AM
Originally posted by burlsq
I am extremely grateful for all the help and advice. I did try DiskWarrior and it couldn't communicate with the drive unfortunately. I am going to try Prosoft next and then hooking it up to a PC. I am not giving up and all the advice has made me more determined.

I don't think hooking it up to a PC will help - a PC definately wouldn't understand the format.

If you're confident to do this, I would try taking apart the Maxtor external drive case. Inside you'll find a regular IDE drive. Plug this into your Mac so it's on the Mac's internal bus, and then try DiskWarrior etc. again.

My thinking is that there may be some Firewire driver issues with the external drive which you will get past by having it mounted internally to your mac.

Just a thought...

Apr 24, 2003, 12:26 PM
Being a reseller for Drivesavers, they are definitely the best bet to get your data back. It is expensive but they WILL get the data. One important point to make, the more you fuss with the drive, the more difficult it may become to get the data back. Your drive's catalog file or driver is likely corrupted/damaged. The more you try to 'fix it' the more corrupted it is likely to become. Norton and tech tool pro, both try to repair the catalog file-they are changing the data on the drive, aka use destructive recovery methods. Disk Warrior rebuilds and replaces the damaged file with a new one it builds itself (you can view the drive with this new catalog file before it writes it to the rive). I believe Prosoft's Data Rescue, just scavenges the drive for readable data files. Neither DW(before it writes the new catalog to the drive) or DR change the data on the drive-they are non-destructive.

Good luck

Apr 24, 2003, 12:29 PM
Firestarter has given you a great idea, but only if your adventurous. It will void your warrenty with Maxtor.

We lost 3 firewire boxes at work. All of them through enclosure issues (powersupply). Popping the drives out did allow us access to some of the data in most cases. It was also necessary to do some of the repair work, but that's only because win2k doesnít work well with firewire drives (at least in our studio).

Apr 24, 2003, 01:22 PM
Still waiting to hear from DriveSavers. Not brave enought to open the drive. I've given up on utilities fixing the drive. DiskWarrior seemed to make the best attempt at recovery. Prosoft's Data Rescue couldn't find the drive. Never was a fan of Norton.

Apr 25, 2003, 03:14 PM
GOOD NEWS. DriveSavers has offered to recover the data for free. Thanks again for all the help. I'm glad I joined the site.


Apr 25, 2003, 03:57 PM
cool, any reason why or they decided your story was so sad they would comp you.