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Disk Drill to recover old iMac hard disk files

applemanit

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 27, 2020
57
30
Hi everyone! I have troubles trying to recover old files from an old iMac's HDD with Disk Drill, because most of them are corrupted. I wanted to recover especially my music but all the audio files are incomplete and corrupted. I could not manage to recover the files from the old iMac beacause it did not even boot so I decided to bring it to customer support and they opened it removing the HDD putting it into a external case and giving it to me. When I came home with the old hard disk I plugged it into my iMac (back in the day with Catalina or Mojave I don't remember) but the hard disk couldn't be seen. So I decided to buy disk drill pro to try to recover my files, but I managed to recover only text and picture files and everything else but not the audio files which are all incomplete and corrupted. Any advice? Do I have to give up?
 

mj_

macrumors 65816
May 18, 2017
1,097
686
Austin, TX
Doing what @barbu suggests is probably the single worst possible thing you could do right now save for running your drive over with a tank.

Why did your old iMac not boot? Did it not boot because the hard drive was faulty? Disk Drill, just like testdisk and all other recovery programs, can only recover what's still there. If the sectors are faulty and/or have been overwritten there's no easy way to recover that information.
 
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Bandaman

macrumors 65816
Aug 28, 2019
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Doing what @barbu suggests is probably the single worst possible thing you could do right now save for running your drive over with a tank.
And why is that? I've had Disk Warrior save my bacon numerous times with HFS formatted drives that would no longer even appear. Allowed me to get data from the drives that I otherwise wouldn't have. I keep multiple back ups at a minimum of all my data now, but back when I was less careful, Disk Warrior was indispensable.
 

mj_

macrumors 65816
May 18, 2017
1,097
686
Austin, TX
Because writing to a drive that could be potentially defective might result in information to be overwritten. The very first step in computer forensics is always to mount the drive read-only and make a 1:1 copy. You NEVER attempt to restore, fix, or generally speaking work on or with the potentially defective drive that you are trying to restore from. Simply plugging it in and mounting it read/write can already cause havoc.

Of course if all is lost already anyway then I guess there's no harm in writing to the drive.
 

Bandaman

macrumors 65816
Aug 28, 2019
1,039
1,952
Because writing to a drive that could be potentially defective might result in information to be overwritten. The very first step in computer forensics is always to mount the drive read-only and make a 1:1 copy. You NEVER attempt to restore, fix, or generally speaking work on or with the potentially defective drive that you are trying to restore from. Simply plugging it in and mounting it read/write can already cause havoc.

Of course if all is lost already anyway then I guess there's no harm in writing to the drive.
I’ve used it to recover data when nothing else worked. I’m very aware of how data recovery and forensics works and understand the dangers of overwriting lost data. But you're making it sound like he better do nothing or something might happen, which is ridiculous. As for Disk Warrior, it doesn’t write anything to the drive. It does a non-destructive analysis of the drive and shows you what changes it would do before it does them, the errors it found, etc and it will replace a corrupt drive structure with a new one that usually allows an unmountable drive to become mountable again. It won’t write anything to the drive until you tell it to.
 
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barbu

macrumors 6502a
Jul 8, 2013
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wpg.mb.ca
Because writing to a drive that could be potentially defective might result in information to be overwritten. The very first step in computer forensics is always to mount the drive read-only and make a 1:1 copy. You NEVER attempt to restore, fix, or generally speaking work on or with the potentially defective drive that you are trying to restore from. Simply plugging it in and mounting it read/write can already cause havoc.

Of course if all is lost already anyway then I guess there's no harm in writing to the drive.

while that is true forensically, it’s not really that helpful for data recovery. We aren’t proving things in court, we are trying to solve OP’s problem. DW can repair the hfs directory and make a damaged disk work again. It shows you a preview of the structure so you can verify before committing. I recommend you try it.
 

mj_

macrumors 65816
May 18, 2017
1,097
686
Austin, TX
while that is true forensically, it’s not really that helpful for data recovery.
I respectfully disagree. It very much depends on how exactly we got into the situation we are in right now. If the data was deleted then you want to limit write operations to zero. If the data is at least partially saved on non-readable defective sectors we do not want those to be marked as defective just yet because they might still contain valuable information that might otherwise be lost.

Either way, like I said before I wasn't aware of how Disk Warrior operates. It might thus be worth a shot.
 

applemanit

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 27, 2020
57
30
Why did your old iMac not boot? Did it not boot because the hard drive was faulty? Disk Drill, just like testdisk and all other recovery programs, can only recover what's still there. If the sectors are faulty and/or have been overwritten there's no easy way to recover that information.

because the logic board was gone I guess, this is what the support said. The issue was that it booted but immediately rebooted it again after finder starts up. So it was impossibile to do anything because it rebooted and rebooted in one infinite loop.

The strange thing is that when the support gave me the old hard disk in the external case, he showed me the content on his iMac, fully readable with all the directories, the files but when I came home I plugged it into my windows laptop and then on my mac mini but it could not be recognised so I came back to the shop I said this to the guy, he tried it again on his iMac and this time the drive wasn't there.

He said: "I don't know what it happened, try recovering the files" and he gave me a data recovery service number. After some months I decided to buy Disk Drill Pro to try to recover my data and I managed to recover almost everything except of music and video which were corrupted. Curiosly I also have another old iMac hard drive (the first witch came with that machine) which was also gone, I tried to mount it but it is also unreadable.

I now suspect the problem was the hard drive and not the logic board.

So maybe I have to give up. It's good that now we have SSDs.
 
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