Data recovery from a Fusion drive

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by irumaru, Nov 9, 2016.

  1. irumaru macrumors newbie

    irumaru

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2016
    #1
    Hello!

    A little bit of back-story :

    I've been using a fusion drive for some time on my 2011 13 inch macbook pro and the main drive cable has failed on me two times. I found out that I can boot up my mac as usual if I put the non working hard drive in an enclosure and hook it up via usb. As you might imagine that any movement or little fiddling with the usb cable prompted the os to crash. Today after one crash my macbook was unable to boot.

    To get to the point :

    Disk utility in recovery mode displays an error message "invalid node structure etc."
    I tried some fix solutions with terminal but that didn't seem to help.
    What would be the best course of action to recover data from this fusion drive? Would I be able to boot mac in target disk mode and extract files with a firewire or thunderbolt cable via another macintosh computer?
    Please help me! :((
     
  2. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2012
    Location:
    Between the coasts
    #2
    At this point, it seems your Fusion Drive is now effectively, two separate drives rather than a single volume that spans two drives. If you can't find a way to re-fuse the drive while maintaining the data structure (that seems a lot to hope for), you should be able to perform file recovery on each of those drives separately (Target Disk Mode for the internal, perhaps directly connecting the external to another Mac) using an app like DiskWarrior or Disk Drill (no endorsements - I have no experience with these products). Both are supposed to have Fusion Drive recovery capabilities, but I don't know to what extent. Can they restore the former Core Storage volume to its original form? I have my doubts, but who knows? More likely you'll have to recover the individual files, and then move them back onto a fully erased and re-Fused Fusion volume.

    The thing is, Fusion moves blocks between the two drives, not necessarily entire files. If a file spans multiple blocks, it's possible that part of the file is on one drive, part on the other - I'm not sure if those files could be stitched back together. However, I suspect most if not all files will be entirely on one drive or the other, so there's reasonable hope.

    My philosophy would be, recover as many data files as you can, don't worry about recovering the OS or apps - just plan to reinstall those.

    I have to say this... Especially considering the problems you had previously, why don't you have a backup???? I'm a fan of Fusion (love the performance-to-cost ratio) - it's been performing flawlessly in one of my Macs for years. HOWEVER, even a fanboy has to recognize that data recovery from a broken Fusion Drive is a bigger problem than a conventional drive failure. Certainly, someone capable of adding a Fusion Drive to a 2011 MBP should know this. No matter how handy you may be with hardware repair and modifications, you can't repair data losses with a screwdriver.
     
  3. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #3
    It doesn't make sense to run a fusion drive in a MBP.

    What I'd try to do in your situation.

    You will need an external bootable drive (NOT a fusion drive) from which to boot the MBP. Since you probably don't have one, you will have to "buy and build" one.

    There should be enough room on it to hold all your data files and perhaps some of the 3rd-party apps you were using on the fusion drive.

    Connect the external boot drive to the Mac.
    Also connect the drive that was part of the fusion drive, as well.

    Boot from the external boot drive.
    When you get to the finder, can you "see" the fusion drive now, does it mount on the desktop (even if you can't boot from it)?

    If so, what you need to do at this point is begin moving the data you wish to keep from the fusion drive to the external boot drive. You might try "Migration Assistant" to see if that will do the job. Otherwise, you may need to "do it by hand", but it helps to keep written notes if you choose the latter method.

    When done, you should have a "standalone" bootable external drive with "all your stuff" on it.

    Now, it's time to figure out what to do with the MBP.
    You DO NOT want to keep a fusion drive setup in it.
    If you can't rely on the old "main drive bay" any more due to failing cables (odd that two would fail on you), use the drive in the DVD bay.
    But better get used to just having ONE drive in the MBP.

    When you get that figured out, boot from your external drive, re-initialize the internal drive, and then use CarbonCopyCloner to "clone over" the contents of the external to the internal.

    It should now boot up from the [standalone] drive, and be usable again.
     
  4. irumaru thread starter macrumors newbie

    irumaru

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2016
  5. micke1967 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2012
    #5
    question since Im in similar position where my iMac from 2013 with fusion drive that is dead..
    Now I have ordered a new iMAC...when it comes..
    Could I somehow use it to retrieve data from my old Imac with dead HD??
    If so how??

    I have a timemachine backup but it was propably taken just before upgrading to High Sierra...
    Would that be a problem when getting it into my new iMac when it arrives??
    And what would best way of bringing that backup into the new mac be?? timemachine folder by folder?? Migration assistant?
     
  6. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #6
    micke asked:
    "Could I somehow use it to retrieve data from my old Imac with dead HD??
    If so how??"


    For all practical purposes, data from a failed fusion drive is unrecoverable.
    There may be some data recovery firms that could get at it, but expect to pay LOTS of money for such services (possibly $1,000 or more).

    Your best option is to go to your last Time Machine backup and be thankful that you had one.
     
  7. ZapNZs, Nov 7, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2017

    ZapNZs macrumors 68020

    ZapNZs

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2017
    #7
    IMO...

    When you say 'dead', did you take it to an Apple Store or AASP and have them verify that it was physical hard drive failure, run a diagnostic on your own which said the same, or did it stop working for reasons not still known or reasons to suspect a drive failure without certainty? If you did take it to an Apple Store, is the SSD or the HDD portion of the Fusion drive failing?

    If you are on High Sierra and this is a corruption issue, you could try the Disk Utility in the Recovery HD, or fsck apfs in single user mode - although if encryption is enabled, from what I have observed, your chances are having success are very poor (and currently, there is no version of DiskWarrior for APFS.)

    If this is a physical failure, DriveSavers can recover data from a Fusion drive when a failure has occurred. I believe ACS Data Recovery can do this as well. They will need both the SSD and HDD portions to do this. I would guess the pricing could range anywhere from $500 to $4,000. Estimates on pricing are generally free and sometimes they can give you a better range over the phone once you give them drive/failure specifics.

    Definitely invest in a drive you can leave plugged into the new iMac at all times! If possible, keep two additional copies of any important files, preferably in at least two separate physical location. @Fishrrman and I are both big believers in and advocates for a program called Carbon Copy Cloner! It has saved me thousands of dollars, and many hours of lost productivity.
     
  8. micke1967 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2012
    #8
    question since Im in similar position where my iMac from 2013 with fusion drive that is dead..
    Now I have ordered a new iMAC...when it comes..
    Could I somehow use it to retrieve data from my old Imac with dead HD??
    If so how??

    I have a timemachine backup but it was propably taken just before upgrading to High Sierra...
    Would that be a problem when getting it into my new iMac when it arrives??
    And what would best way of bringing that backup into the new mac be?? timemachine folder by folder?? Migration assistant?
    Hi And thanks for ansswers...I have been in contact with an Apple certified company that got my logs from running disc utility and also ran the following:

    1. Start in safe mode Shift (⇧) = iMac still closes down without starting
    2.Start with Command (⌘) and S opening black window where I enter fsck -fy = the system answered "The volume [iMac name] appears to be OK" = iMac still closes down without starting
    3.Start with Command (⌘) + R opening recovery area. I tried disk utility "First Aid" and MacOS disk was OK, Fusion drive was OK but coming to MacIntosh HD it stated Not OK and something with:

    "Fixing size of logical volume to fill logical volume group.The operation couldnt be completed. (com.apple.DiskManagement.disenter error 49153.) A disk with a mount point is required. Operation failed..."
    4. Reset SMC removing acdc 15 secs then wait 5 secs before start = iMac still closes down without starting
    5. Reset NVRAM by start with Command (⌘), Alternativ (⌥), P and R a number of times = iMac still closes down without starting
    6. Reinstall MacOs via Start with Command (⌘), R = There is NO disc visible to install to at all (show all discs is on) = iMac still closes down without starting
    7. Trying to reinstall to latest version that followed the iMac by Commando (⌘),Shift,Alt,R = iMac still closes down without starting
    8. Trying to reinstall to latest compatible version of macOs by Commando (⌘),Shift,Alt,R = iMac still closes down without starting
    9. Trying to use my timemachine backup Start with Command (⌘), R = There is NO disc visible to install to at all (show all discs is on) = iMac still closes down without starting

    The company I contacted offered to excahnge my hardrive to an 1TB SSD for around 1000 EUR and stated that that could prolong the iMac life 2-3 or even 4 years..so then I thought that it wasnt really worth it so hence IO ordered a new one to get warranty and so on...also full SSD from start to get more reliability...

    I do have a timemachine backup but its likely pre-HighSierra so I hope that doesnt give me issues on a new iMAC...having said that last backup was taken 29 of september...and yes I kneo should take copies more often but I also have most of my files on a seperate external drive so..I propably wont loose much file data..however all applications could be a real issue if the time machine copy dont work...

    Anyway you mentioned doing a diagnostic...how exactly do i do that??
    best regards Micael
     
  9. vkd macrumors 6502a

    vkd

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    #9
    Can't you source a new drive cable and replace the faulty one?
     
  10. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #10
    Micke wrote:
    "question since Im in similar position where my iMac from 2013 with fusion drive that is dead..
    Now I have ordered a new iMAC...when it comes..
    Could I somehow use it to retrieve data from my old Imac with dead HD??
    If so how??"


    Seems to me I answered your post in another thread, but I'll answer it again:
    Actually, read reply #6 in THIS thread (above).

    It's going to cost you LOTS AND LOTS of money to recover data from a failed fusion drive, if it's possible at all.

    I don't believe there are any "software solutions" (such as "Data Rescue") that can handle a fusion drive. You'd have to use a professional data recovery service, and again, they are going to charge a VERY high amount of money to get data from a fusion drive (which is actually TWO drives). And then, you have to first send them the drives.

    You said that "I do have a time machine backup but its likely pre-HighSierra so I hope that doesnt give me issues on a new iMAC"
    THIS is your best option.
    Set up the new iMac and attempt to use the TM backup to migrate from your last backup.
    THIS is your "answer".

    Why do you keep asking the same question over and over again?
     
  11. micke1967 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2012
    #11
    Hi and thakns for the answer..
    Currently Im waiting for my newly ordered iMac to come..
    And until then I want to know as much as possible on all options to regain data. And yes I saw your previous answer and value that answer.
    However what caught my eye in this thread was that someone mentioned 2 things that I have not tried..
    One being that it seems as my broken iMac may be set up via thunderbolt hookup to my new iMac and run as an ordinary drive and then see if I can get anything out of it..propably wont work but still wanna try it so hence I asked how to exactly do that.
    The other thing that caught my eye was that it seems as one can run some sort of diagnostics to know more on what exactly happened to my iMac since in the comments I got previously it was mentioned that there might be more or other errors to my iMac..anyway I am interested to learn how to do that exactly..

    And also I wanted to know what the best way is to get the data from the timemachone backup since I never really brought anything back from the TM before. If it would be via some migration move tool? or by opening the TM and then restore what folder to get the programs?? the application folder?
    Again thanks I hear what you say and appreciate the comments.


    best regards Micael
     

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