External Hard Drive and Time Machine issue

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Convoy, Nov 5, 2008.

  1. Convoy macrumors newbie

    Mar 23, 2006
    Here's my dilemma:

    I have a 2.4 Intel iMac running 10.5.5. I noticed Sunday the finder was hanging. I couldn't get the finder to restart, so I used my Leopard disk to repair/verify permissions and repair/verify the disk. Both came back fine.

    So, I did an archive and install. When the computer started up, the Finder still hung. After several restarts and PRAM zapping, nothing changed. So, I thought I'd wipe the hard drive, re-install Leopard and use my external USB HD with my Time Machine backups to restore my files.

    I wiped the HD clean and rebooted. Finder still hung. I unplugged the hard drive. Finder booted fine. Plugged it back in. Finder wouldn't respond. I was able to look at the HD in finder before it became unresponsive, and I noticed that the HD looked empty, but only had 4 gb of space (it's a 500 gb WD drive).

    I restarted, and opened the Migration assistant. Migration asssitant couldn't see any Time Machines backups when the Hard Drive was plugged in. When the hard drive was unplugged, Migration Assistant could see Time Machine files for my fiancee's laptop on the network.

    When booting from the Leopard disk, I can see the backups in the migration asssitant, but the computer hangs up when trying to load them.

    Is there anything I can do to recover the files from the disk? What could have caused this problem?

    Thanks for any help.
  2. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Re-installing the OS is something that MS Windows users do. As you have found out doing a re-install on a Unix based computer will only get you right back to exactly the same place you were at. Reinstalls work on Windows becasue the system has a stupid design which allows any application to mess up the entire system. Unix tends to be more compartmentalized.

    When you see a hang like this you should suspect bad hardware, possably disk read errors or the like. If it is software then a re-boot will fix it. It it doesn't then suspect a failed hardware component.

    Re-installs are almost always pointless or worse. Worse because they make data recovery from the drive impossable.

    THere is a good reason peole say you need redundent backups. What you have is an over written primary drive,(over written by the re-install) and a failed TM drive. That's why your backup needs to be on three different media and at two different geographical locations

    What you need to do is attemp to recover the data from your TM drive. There are experts who offer this service. The best option is to pay one of them. The second best option is to buy some data recovery software and attempt to become one of these experts your self. Just remember the mosr you mess with the drive the less chance a real expert will be able to recover the data. So it comes down to money and how much you value the data.

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