Drive failing how do I get to my user data.

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by slowtreme, Jul 2, 2004.

  1. slowtreme macrumors 6502

    May 27, 2003
    Tampa FL
    My iBook HD is failing, it scrapes and crunches when I use it. I hooked up an external FW drive, installed OSX on that and used DiskWarrior to repair the drive to a state that I can see data on it. So I'd like to backup the data and install a new disk. Should be cake compared to upgrading the dvd/cdrw from cdrom.

    First off, I can't even backup my user folders, everything has the donotenter icon on it. Is there a way to get this data?

    2nd, if I can get the data, is there a way to completely restore my user settings to a clean install of the OS on a new HD. Specifically my wife's account has a slew (ok 3) of email accounts and passwords that I dont know. If I wanted to set them up again, I'd have no idea what they are.

    3rd, is there any reason why I could not install a 60gb drive in here, assuming the physical disk height does not exceed the required 9.5mm? I really don't want to put another 20gb drive in here.
  2. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    To get to the folders, this should work:

    • Enable the root account (Applications->Utilities->NetInfo Manager, then, within that, Security->Enable Root User).
    • Log out.
    • Log in as 'root' with whatever password you just set up for it.
    • Your all-seeing eye should now be able to copy all folders.
    • Be very, very careful as root! You can seriously muck up your system.

    Once done - and others, feel free to correct me - you should just be able to copy those folders back onto a clean install assuming you first add those users (same user name, same long name - go to System Preferences->Accounts and write down 'Name' and 'Short Name' for each user so you can recreate them); you'll then be replacing user folders with ones of the same name. Of course, other users (i.e., your wife) will need to reenter her password for keychain and stuff to work. Again, you'll need to do most of the copying as root, which you'll need to enable - again - when you reinstall the OS.

    When done, go back into NetInfo Manager and disable root. It's too powerful to leave on unless you really need it.

    And, yes, you should be able to install a larger disk.
  3. slowtreme thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 27, 2003
    Tampa FL
    Well if we are going to have to re-enter passwords anyway (and I think that will affect preferances and other user level settings), I think I got an easy solution. root the system then copy these files to a network share on windows, They won't be locked to a user account. Then when I setup replacement accounts on the clean install on the new HD, I just have to copy them back. This stuff isn't confidential, I'm just talking about photos, documents, and some music.

    I'm not worried about running as root, since Windows runs that way anyway, and this is just a temp install on an external disk that will get wiped off in a few days. I didn't know how to unable the user, I just usually bust out a terminal, but this is a lot of files.

    Wish me luck :)

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