DIY Hard Drive Repair?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by 2A Batterie, May 7, 2008.

  1. 2A Batterie macrumors 6502a

    2A Batterie

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    #1
    I have a 500GB WD My Book Triple Interface HD that's crapping out on me after only 6 months. Unfortunately, there's some important information on there that I haven't had a chance to back up yet. I simply can't get the info off of that hard drive using my Mac, or have yet to find a way. Is there any DIY hard dive repair software and/or method I could use? Really, all I need is to get this information off of the drive once. After that, the drive is going to become a bookend or a target for shooting pracitce.
     
  2. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5

    wrldwzrd89

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    #2
    What method you should use depends on if the Mac recognizes the drive. Does the Mac recognize the drive over USB? FireWire 400? FireWire 800? If it is recognized over any or all of these interfaces then you can use software to recover the drive's information. If none of them work, the only options left are hardware methods... and, to be completely honest, this approach is best NOT done yourself - hard drives are rather fragile on the inside, and if not handled with utmost care, can easily be damaged beyond recoverability.
     
  3. 2A Batterie thread starter macrumors 6502a

    2A Batterie

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    #3
    It always recognizes the drive over both USB and FW400. The thing is that the AMOUNT of information it recognizes varies. For example, if I boot connect via USB 2.0, it will recognize only one of three partitions (the bootable one). However, if I boot in safe mode it will recognize all three partitions and more of the information withing them.


    Here's an interesting situation. I've booted in safe mode on my parents' G4 Powerbook running 10.4 and it seems to recognize ALL of the info. I want to copy the one bootable partition (a clone from my old computer's HD) so that I can get all of my apps and the corresponding licenses to them onto my new MacBook.

    How would I go about doing that?

    EDIT: While trying to drag and drop from the external onto the PB G4 desktop, it stops and gives the error message "The Finder cannot complete the operation because some of the data could not be read or written."
     
  4. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5

    wrldwzrd89

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    #4
    The easiest way is to network your computer and the PowerBook G4 via file sharing, then send the information from the drive that you want over the network, to your computer. Identifying exactly what needs to be copied, however, is a bit of a pain. At the very least, you'll need to copy the application and its corresponding preference file(s). What else is needed changes from application to application - some require nothing additional besides that, while, at the other extreme, some will refuse to work after being copied until you reinstall them.

    EDIT: Well, that's discouraging. In that case, your best bet for recovering that drive is using software that can fix broken file systems - something you generally have to pay for (unless you already have such a program), and cannot do yourself.
     
  5. 2A Batterie thread starter macrumors 6502a

    2A Batterie

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    #5
    Yea, that's what I'm worried about. Some applications like MS Office, ProTools and Reason may be a pain to drag over... I figure there are some many things stuffed away in the library or other places that require them to run cohesively.

    How would I network the G4 and MB?

    Should I use disk warrior or something? I guess Disk Utility won't do anything since I've already tried.
     
  6. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5

    wrldwzrd89

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    #6
    The simplest way is to use a spare Ethernet cable - bring the two computers into the same room, and connect one end of the cable to the port on the PBG4, and the other end to the MB. Don't worry about whether or not it's a crossover cable - Macs are smart enough to dynamically adapt to the cable's configuration.

    Yes, use DiskWarrior or a similar program - but MAKE SURE that it is compatible with whichever version of Mac OS X you're running on the MB. Oh, and if you use DiskWarrior on the MB you don't need to bother with networking. If, however, you run it on the PBG4, then my networking advice applies.
     
  7. ElectricSheep macrumors 6502

    ElectricSheep

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    #7
    If the priority is recovering information, you attempt to use dd to create a block-level image of the drive. This is a command-line tool, and you'll be doing the work in Terminal.

    You'll need an additional drive with enough space to accommodate all of the device your are imaging. This also works best if the drive you are recovering from remains unmounted.

    First, get the device specifier for the drive (its /dev/disk... signature). The command diskutil info will give this to you. You have the choice of imaging the entire disk, or just a slice (which is another word for a partition). A device signature would be something like /dev/disk7 (the seventh disk device). A partition signature would be something like /dev/disk7s3 (the third slice on the seventh disk device).

    When you have the signature, you can run the dd command in an attempt to extract information:

    dd if=/dev/disk... of=/Path/to/recovery/point/image.img conv=sync,noerror

    Where /dev/disk... is the device signature you got above, and /Path/to/recovery/point/image.img is a pathname to the image file you want to create. The option conv=sync,noerror will tell dd to keep imaging even if it encounters a read error. The block that errored out will instead be padded with zeros.

    The imaging will likely take a very long time. Let it run overnight. The result will be a disk image that you can mount with Disk Utility to search for useable information.

    This process is a standard forward image. It starts from block zero and reads all the way to the highest block. There is another process called a reverse image which can have better results, depending on the nature of the disk failure. To perform a reverse image, however, you need a non-standard variant of dd called dd_rescue.
     
  8. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

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    #8
    Disk Warrior *might* be able to correct the issue if it's software based (corrput b-tree), but sounds like hardware failure.

    Does the harddrive make clicking sound when you are trying to use it?

    If it's just software issue, copying OS would need something like Carbon Copy Cloner.
     
  9. 2A Batterie thread starter macrumors 6502a

    2A Batterie

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    #9
    I heard it clicking or maybe stalling for the first time today I think. It was not even plugged into any computer.

    The thing is that I have super duper and CCC on the drive that I'm trying to salvage!

    I'm not worried about copying the OS though, because the clone is of a 10.4 maching and my new MB is a 10.5
     
  10. 2A Batterie thread starter macrumors 6502a

    2A Batterie

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    #10
    Whoa, quite a health serving of instructions. Thanks and I'll look into it.

    I don't have a spare HD lying around, but I do have plenty of space on My new MB, as I just got it and haven't put anything on it. Could I use that? My parents also just got a time capsule and haven't put anything on it, so wouldit be better to use that?
     
  11. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5

    wrldwzrd89

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    #11
    Define plenty of space. For this command to work, you need as much free space on the destination drive as there is capacity on the source drive - i.e. if the troublesome drive is a 500 GB external you'll need enough space for a 500 GB image file.
     
  12. 2A Batterie thread starter macrumors 6502a

    2A Batterie

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    #12
    I need about 100gb of free space for all the apps and docs I want to transfer. The other partitions are just backups of other external drives.
     
  13. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5

    wrldwzrd89

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    #13
    How big is the partition with the data you want on it? If it is a 100GB partition, then you'll need 100GB of free space on the drive you put the image file on. I'd recommend using the Time Capsule for this purpose, but make sure you have a wired connection to it. If your connection is wireless at any point, you may experience extremely slow transfer rates, failures due to connection dropouts, or both.
     
  14. 2A Batterie thread starter macrumors 6502a

    2A Batterie

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    #14
    Hmm... ok. I'm going to sound like a total 'tard asking this, but what's the best way to go about doing that? Connect external to the PB G4 via USB and then connect the G4 to the time capsule?

    EDIT: Should I connect the external HD to the time capsule and the G4 to the external instead?

    EDIT AGAIN: Obviously that can't work. Should I connect the time capsule and G4 via ethernet? If so, should I connect the external via USB to the Time Capsule or the the G4?
     
  15. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5

    wrldwzrd89

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    #15
    I suggest connecting the external drive to either the MB or the PBG4 via USB or FireWire (FireWire will be faster, if you use that), then connect whichever computer you connected the external drive to to the Time Capsule via Ethernet. Once that's set up and you're connected to the Time Capsule, you can run that command, substituting the appropriate volume names where indicated.
     
  16. 2A Batterie thread starter macrumors 6502a

    2A Batterie

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    #16
    I've done that now, but I'm not familiar with Time Capsule. How can I access the Time Capsule via the PB?
     
  17. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5

    wrldwzrd89

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    #17
    Have you installed the software that came with the Time Capsule? (Assuming it's compatible with 10.4, of course) If not, you'll need to do that. Then, set up the Time Capsule in disk sharing mode with whatever settings you prefer (disable wireless, just to be safe). Once that's set up and the Time Capsule reboots, you'll see a new icon in the top of the menu bar listing available shared disks. Find the Time Capsule, select it, log in (if you set it up to use a password), and you'll be connected.

    In the event that the software doesn't work with the version of Mac OS X on that PBG4 you'll need to use your MB to do this, instead.
     
  18. 2A Batterie thread starter macrumors 6502a

    2A Batterie

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    #18
    I believe that the software is installed. Am I looking for the Airport disk utility app?
     
  19. 2A Batterie thread starter macrumors 6502a

    2A Batterie

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    #19
    Does this mean that I have the Time Capsule set up? If so, should I make a disk image and send it to the Time Capsule using Disk Utility?
     

    Attached Files:

  20. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5

    wrldwzrd89

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    #20
    That does mean that the Time Capsule is set up, yes. However, Disk Utility will almost certainly fail - you need to use dd, as ElectricSheep mentioned, to make a block-level clone image, and put that image on the Time Capsule directly, i.e. substitute /Path/to/recovery/point/ with the path to the Time Capsule.
     
  21. 2A Batterie thread starter macrumors 6502a

    2A Batterie

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    #21
    So should I unmount the external drive first before starting dd in the Terminal? Will my disk still copy?
     
  22. 2A Batterie thread starter macrumors 6502a

    2A Batterie

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    #22
    I accessed the Terminal and typed in diskutil info and received this response:
    Disk Utility Tool
    Usage: diskutil [list|information|info] [Mount Point|Disk Identifier
    |Device Node]
    Display partition or disk information. Root access is not required


    Why didn't I get the device specifier? I am in safe boot mode, as the computer is more likely to be able to recognize and mount/unmount the external drive in this mode.
     
  23. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5

    wrldwzrd89

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    #23
    You need to include a disk identifier. For example, try:
    Code:
    diskutil info /
    - you'll get info about the boot volume. For info about other disks, use /Volumes/VolumeName as the identifier. If the volume name has spaces in it, those will need to be escaped with a backslash. For example:
    Code:
    diskutil info /Volumes/Mac\ Clone
    will give info for the "Mac Clone" volume, if one exists.
     
  24. 2A Batterie thread starter macrumors 6502a

    2A Batterie

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    #24
    Ok, after going back and forth with Terminal (I rarely ever use it), I think I may have entered the proper command:
    dd if=/dev/disk2s3 of=/Volumes/Time\ Capsule\ Disk/image.img conv=sync,noerror

    After I did that, Terminal showed no response and my external HD starting making some noise. Now when I check my Time Capsule, an image.img is there. I check it's info every minute or so and the size is growing, meaning that it must be working properly.

    I unmounted the specific partition that I'm making the image of, but nor the entire external HD that the partition is found on. Is this ok?

    What should I do after the image is complete?
     
  25. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5

    wrldwzrd89

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    #25
    Double-click the image file, and open it. Look for usable data. Some files may not open properly.
     

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