External drive dying, can anyone help me salvage the data?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by munckee, Sep 3, 2008.

  1. munckee macrumors 65816

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    Oct 27, 2005
    #1
    I have a 2.5" external USB drive that appears to be dying. The drive doesn't show up on the desktop, but it does show up in disk utility (with all the options greyed out). Is there any way to get the data off the drive before I scrap it?
     
  2. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #2
    Is the drive still spinning up?

    Are there any abnormal sounds like clicking, or the sound of bolts in a tin can?
     
  3. munckee thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #3
    Still spins. No odd sounds...
     
  4. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #4
    Okay, that is good news.

    Now before you do anything, stop using the drive.

    I've used a variety of tools to recover files from HDs over the years.

    The best by far, is SpinRite. Unfortunately, it only works on a PC. So you would need to connect your USB drive to a PC if you choose this option.

    I'll let the others chime in with Mac software solutions. I have yet to find one that works near as well as SpinRite.
     
  5. bankshot macrumors 65816

    bankshot

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    #5
    I've had good success on separate occasions with DiskWarrior and Data Rescue II.

    If the drive is still physically functioning, there is nothing better than DiskWarrior. It will search the entire drive and rebuild the HFS catalog file, preserving as much of the directory structure as possible. This works well if the filesystem is corrupted but the data in the files remains largely intact. I've used this when Apple's disk repair utilities failed, and I ended up with essentially no data loss. :cool:

    When corruption was beyond that level, or when a drive was physically failing (but still working somewhat), I've been able to recover files with Data Rescue II. This works differently from DiskWarrior - where DW rebuilds the directory structure so you can go in and access the files yourself, DR2 simply searches for file data and recovers/copies as many individual files as it can, regardless of directory structure. My one complaint is that it does not always properly preserve filenames and certain HFS metadata, but it does recover the contents of the files it can find, which is the most important thing. It also has a trial mode where it shows you what it found before you have to pay for the full version to recover the files. That's a big plus.

    Hope this helps - good luck!
     
  6. munckee thread starter macrumors 65816

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  7. Dimwhit macrumors 68000

    Dimwhit

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    #7
    DiskWarrior rocks. Data Rescue II is also great if all you want to do is pull the data.
     
  8. srl7741 macrumors 68020

    srl7741

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    #8
  9. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #9
    In the FWIW category, I've had numerous drives that DiskWarrior could not recover, nor get all the files from the drive.

    Enter SpinRite. Drive is like new.

    DiskWarrior is good, no doubt about that. However, if you get stuck and it does not provide the solution that you want, you might want to check out SpinRite.

    Also, SpinRite is great for drive surface maintenance.
     
  10. Amdahl macrumors 65816

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    #10
    SpinRite can sometimes finish a drive off. I had a drive that was mostly readable, but instead of grabbing what I could, I ran SpinRite. That finished it off, and the drive had to be sent to a recovery lab.

    Not really SpinRite's fault, but a tool that can get the drive minimally readable for recovery is better than one that does intensive work.
     
  11. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #11
    Curious.

    Were you running SpinRite in Recovery (#2) or Maintenance (#4) mode/level?
     
  12. Amdahl macrumors 65816

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    #12
    Since I bought it specifically to work on that drive/problem, I would have to say I picked recovery. But I should have been doing a backup of the drive instead.

    Again, I'm not blaming SpinRite; simply observing that when you have a drive that is failing, the best thing to do is get what you can off of it with minimal effort. Anything intensive (like SpinRite) should be done afterwards.

    The lab was able to recover practically 100%, so it worked out, just more expensive than planned.
     
  13. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #13
    Level 2 is much gentler and is for recovering data.

    Level 4 is definitely drive intensive.

    Agree. Getting the data off the drive is the most important.

    I've used SpinRite when nothing else, PC or Mac, would recognize the drive, or if it did, recover the files. I let SpinRite run for about 48 hours and the whole drive was recovered.

    I also use SpinRite on all new drives. It makes them run much better because of the surface test that it does.

    What I find interesting, is how SpinRite will work when nothing else will. Of course if the drive is failing, that is another issue. But usually, the issue is data or FAT type corruption. SpinRite works well in these cases.

    Glad to hear you could recover your files. That's the most important thing to accomplish. :)
     

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