Accessing hard drive on dead computer

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by holuaia, Jan 14, 2014.

  1. holuaia macrumors newbie

    Apr 29, 2007
    I had a 15" pro which I took to Apple for repairs, but the cost was so high that I decided skip the repairs and just get a new machine (refurbished 13"). My old computer was still functional when I took it to Apple (as long as the charger was connected), but when they gave it back it had stopped working completely; it won't turn on at all.

    The problem is that I never made a backup of the old computer (I know, I know), but there's a lot of information, particularly the iTunes stuff, that I'd really like to get back if possible. Is there anything I can do at this point to get my files? Is cloning the hard drive something a person with very little experience can do, or would it be better to take it back to Apple/somewhere else and see if they can do it?
  2. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    You can take the HDD out of the dead computer and put it in an external enclosure.
  3. Kelmon macrumors 6502a


    Mar 28, 2005
    United Kingdom
    Pretty much what he said. I'd suggest finding a cheap enclosure on eBay with a USB 3 connection, if your new Mac has one and they are cheap enough (USB 2 if not) and then look up a video tutorial on YouTube or elsewhere on how to replace the hard drive in your particular model (search for "replace hard drive MacBook Pro early 2010", or whatever model you actually have). That will show you where all the important screws or other connections are and you can watch that in advance so you know what you are getting yourself into. After that, with the old drive connected via USB you can either boot from the old drive (hold down the Alt/Option key when your new Mac restarts so you can select the drive to boot from) or boot from the new one and copy the data over manually.

    You could clone the old drive, if you boot from it and use something like SuperDuper, but I'm not sure I'd recommend it in this case. If the drive is old then it might have problems that you don't want to bring over. Equally, if it has been used a lot then you might have acquired files that you no longer need so now might be a good opportunity to have a "spring clean" and only copy over the files you actually need. That said, if you want the new Mac to be like old Mac then cloning the old drive to the internal drive of the new Mac would certainly do the job. The job of cloning the drive via SuperDuper is nothing more than setting it to copy from Drive A to Drive B, so it's really simple.
  4. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    Open the MacBook up.
    Take the old drive out.

    Get a USB3/SATA docking station.
    To see what these are, go to amazon and enter "usb3 sata dock" into the search box.
    There are MANY choices available, most cost under $25.

    Once you have the dock, do this:
    - put bare drive into dock (like putting bread into a toaster)
    - connect dock to new Mac and turn it on
    - see if drive mounts on desktop

    If the drive is "still alive", and if there aren't software (i.e. directory, etc.) problems with the old drive, it may mount right up and give you access to it.
  5. jmiddel macrumors regular

    Mar 3, 2010
    Land of Enchantment
    You can use Migration Assistant to have the new MBP transfer your stuff from the old drive.
  6. holuaia thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 29, 2007
    Ok, I'll see if my roommate will let me switch out the drives in his external enclosure. If not, I'll get a dock.

    Thanks everyone!
  7. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
  8. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    Rated up, because that way at least your new computer has a Time Machine backup.

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