Data recovery- need to get files off bad hard drive

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by iKwick7, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. iKwick7 macrumors 65816


    Dec 29, 2004
    The Wood of Spots, NJ
    Wirelessly posted

    I have a hard drive that I pulled from my old iMac that has my entire iPhoto library on it. It's living in a FireWire/USB external enclosure.

    The hard drive failed during a power surge of sorts. I don't care about any of the data on it except for that iPhoto library.

    I used to be able to get the drive to mount but now it won't even do that.

    Any thoughts or anyone know anyone in NJ that's good with recovery?
  2. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    You could try one of the data recovery apps, such as:
    - DataRescue 3
    - Disk Drill
    - Stellar Phoenix Data Recovery
    - Nice To Recover

    How these apps work:
    - You download the app for free
    - You run the free app on your problem drive
    - The app scans the problem drive, and if it finds recoverable files, it will present a list to you, but only permit you to recover ONE file
    - If you get this far, and further recovery looks possible, you then pay the registration fee, get a number, enter the registration, and then the program "goes to work" on the problem drive.

    ONE PROBLEM that you may have:
    If the drive is "unmountable" in the Finder, the data recovery app may not be able to "see" it. If it can't "see" it, it can't "get to" the drive to begin its work.

    There -is- a "workaround", but it's not for the feint-of-heart. It HAS worked for me personally when I thought all was lost.

    That solution is:
    RE-INITIALIZE the drive into a single partition (yes, you are reading that correctly).
    Then, "attack" the drive with your data recovery software.

    Why this works:
    If you re-initialize the drive, you "wipe out" the old (corrupted) directory and replace it with a "fresh" one. The drive will now mount on the desktop, even if it looks "empty". That's because the directory -is- empty. BUT....
    .... when you re-initialize a drive, ONLY the directory gets replaced. The actual DATA is left "untouched" out on the sectors of the drive.
    WARNING: do not, repeat DO NOT choose to "zero out" the drive when you re-initialize -- this WILL "wipe the sectors clean" and there will be nothing left to recover.

    What happens next:
    The data recovery software is designed to "look around" the directory, and go right to the drive's sectors where it scavenges and then re-constructs the data it finds.
    This is why -- even with a re-initialized and empty directory -- the data recovery software will still "find" your old data on the drive.

    I can personally attest that this worked for me when nothing else would. In my case, it was a partition full of mp3 files. I got nearly all my old files back.

    You WILL lose all previous folder hierarchies, and you may lose many filenames as well. This is standard operating procedure with data recovery software -- remember that folder hierarchies and file names are constructs of the old directory, which is either corrupted or in this case gone altogether.

    Your consolation is that you got the files back!

Share This Page