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macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 25, 2013
My dad's older iMac crapped out, won't start up properly but it's possible the HD is still OK... He just got a new 2013 imac and I'm wondering if we can dig out some files from the old one.

I'm looking for the old firewire boot up trick where you could one mac HD in the finder of another, but between his old (which has firewire/usb2/ether) and the new (thunder/usb3/ether) so I can salvage some files.

Any ideas or equivalents? thx.


macrumors newbie
Oct 2, 2013
The Target Disk mode is triggered by holding down T right after the startup sound (I think).
But as far as I know it only works via Firewire, so you would need a Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter.

Alternatively you could remove the old HD and use it as an external HD.
May I ask what model/year it is from? iFixit probably has some guide for removing/switching old HDs for your Dad's iMac ;)


macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
It's possible that the drive in the older iMac is still ok (hardware-wise), but just has some kind of software problem that keeps the iMac from booting. Then again, it could be an actual hardware problem (i.e., failing drive mechanism).

In either case, prying open the iMac might be more trouble than it's worth.

My suggestion is to spend $30 and buy the thunderbolt-to-firewire adapter. Then try a standard "target disk mode" connection to the older iMac.

It will cost you the thirty bucks, but if you discover the drive still won't mount (hardware failure being the most likely cause), it will have saved the time and trouble of opening the iMac, ending up with a table full of parts, and still not be able to "get at" the data on the drive.
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