Crashed Hard Drive - Sibling Link Error

Discussion in 'iMac' started by RobertFromEndor, Aug 19, 2013.

  1. RobertFromEndor macrumors newbie

    Aug 19, 2013
    First time poster here, 7 year user.
    I've got a 2011 imac 27 refurb, 1T, 2.8 ghz, quad core. The other day it crashed. When I went to verify and repair the disk it came back with a sibling link error that could not rebuild the catalog. Apple Care was of zero help and told me it was dunzo, then referred me to a company who said they would recover my data starting at around $700. No thanks! I don't know anything about computers, but I learn very easily. After a few hours, I was able to temporarily resolved my problem 2 different ways. 1) I target booted another mac, then held down the "option" key while starting the 27 with the crashed HD. Both HDs appeared on my broken imac. I then started the targeted mac and when my work space came up, it told me my other disk was damaged and I should back it up ASAP!!!! I'm no dummy (despite the fact I didn't "back dat data up" in the first place - that was stupid) so I decided not to throw the info on my working mac. 2) I went and bought an external HD, installed Lion on it from the disk utility on the busted imac, then booted up. Bam, again, access to all my files. Being no dummy, I then took different external HD, plugged it in, and copied everything.

    That was a mistake.... To my surprise, everything copied rather quickly ~ 100GB in 2 hours. Looked around the data, saw everything I needed, and ejected. I figured now I can erase my imac27 and reformat and partition or whatever I needed to do to get back to normal. But first I wanted to ensure access and double storage. Plugged in my external HD to the good mac and NOTHING!!!! it wouldn't come up!!! Not even in disk utility! So I lied, cause I'm kind of a dummy and that HD also had around 20k songs on it.

    Here are my questions:

    1) Obviously there are some majorly corrupt files on my crashed drive. I am going to purchase a third external now and copy the files again. What files should I not copy? I don't want to lose anything! Also, I don't want to have to repurchase things like Microsoft office, since I already used the code. Again, I know nothing about computers but have figured tons of things out by reading.

    2) How can I access the crashed HD? Again it wont show up in Disk Utility its light goes on. Will try from Windows...

    3) After all my files are safe and sound, should I send it in to mac to fix (I have apple care still) or should I just try and redo this myself? Again it is a refurb, and acted kinda weird from day 1 which was 1.5 years ago (unexpected shut down on the second day I had it, just installing stuff). I feel like I want a new HD to be installed. Also, I put some RAM in it myself after I bought it, this would not cause the symptoms I'm seeing would it?

    Sorry this is so long, I just wanted to give as much info as possible, and also provide a possible solution to others who have received the sibling link error and cannot repair their disks.

    Thanks so much for all the help I've gotten here over the years!!!
  2. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    You aren't being clear here -- in ways that would help us ascertain exactly "what condition" your drives are in now.

    The ORIGINAL (damaged) iMac drive.
    Did you reinitialize it?
    Or no?

    For data recovery, it's important that you NOT do anything to that drive. ANYTHING at all.

    The external drive to which you copied the files.
    Are you saying that when you connect this to a "working Mac" (i.e., the "other Mac" you target-booted from), it comes up "empty"? Or unreadable?

    What you need now is an external, bootable volume to get the iMac booted up again.
    You could either install a working copy of the OS onto the external drive you now have,
    Or - you could buy a 2nd external drive (might be better option).

    You are going to need a fully-bootable volume in order to do data recovery, and you are also going to need a "scratch drive" (second drive) to receive the recovered data (IF there is data that can be recovered).

    The very first thing to do is get a working OS.

    What I would try first:
    If you have another "working Mac", try using CarbonCopyCloner to "clone" the system from that Mac to one of the hard drives you have.

    You can then take this drive, connect it to the iMac, and try to get booted up.

    If you can get booted up -- that goes a long way towards recovery.

    That's the first step.
    Do it, and get back to us.
  3. TwoBytes macrumors 68030


    Jun 2, 2008
    Drives can be replaced, files can't. First get your files off. It was a log post hard to make sense of but from what I get, you gained access to your files? If you copied them to an external it's possible those files are flagged as hidden if you can't see them. Use a 3rd party file browser like pathfinder to see if the files are actually there that you copied.
  4. thedarkhorse macrumors 6502a

    Sep 13, 2007
    Your post is a bit all over the place so I'll just tell you what I would have done.

    Replace the crashed drive in the imac with a new one and reinstall the OS. Take the corrupted drive removed from the imac and put it in an external hard drive case so you can plug it in and access it from USB(or firewire/thunderbolt depending on the external drive case). First see what happens when the corrupted drive in the external case is plugged into the newly formatted imac, if it shows up and lets you access the files copy them to a working drive, if still no luck try DiskWarrior($100) to see if that can recover your data. If that doesn't work grab a glass of scotch because you either have to live with your data being lost forever or pony up the cash to send it to a data recovery specialist. Last year my company spent around $1500 to recover 400gb of data from a drive that had a mechanical failure.
  5. RCAFBrat macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2013
    Montreal, QC
    Just a a few questions about AppleCare (answers may be helpful):

    (1) If Robert sends the iMac to Apple for repair and presuming the HDD is replaced under warranty, is there any chance will Apple return the old HDD with the computer so its contents can be recovered (perhaps he would have to request this)?

    (2) Replacing the HDD and putting the original in an external enclosure to recover the files as recommended by thedarkhorse makes perfect sense, however, would doing so on your own void the remaining warranty?

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