Hard Drive Failure - Loss 13,000 Photos!

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by onemacmini, Apr 6, 2011.

  1. onemacmini macrumors 6502

    Oct 19, 2005
    Ladies and Gentlemen, after my harddrive started clicking a few weeks ago it became vital for me to create the latest back up. Time machine failed as disk was full so decided to wipe the disk and start afresh, Not a good idea!

    Upon clearing the disk my macbook pro would then stagger and beachball. i managed to get all of my music and videos off however iPhoto had an error : Cannot copy or read or write -36. I then tried the following:

    Copy files to an external hard drive
    Repair disk and permissions to keep getting errors and failures
    Copy items to disk
    Repair permissions on iPhoto and rebuild library
    Boot in Target Firewire disk mode - Managed to get 1,000 photos before error code -36
    use btchmod to modify permissions on iphoto
    copy hard drive using carbon copy/superduper

    Basically im now stuck with a computer with data on i need, Have been quoted £500 to retrieve my data from the people that do apples data recovery and said they should be able to get the data. i can still turn the computer on and see iphoto pics but as soon as i try and do anything else bam freeezes!

    Any ideas on any methods i can have a go at?

    Trying and failing and is becoming devastating!!!!:(

    Thanks in advance,

  2. Tumbleweed666 macrumors 68000


    Mar 20, 2009
    Near London, UK.
    Isn't TM the latest backup anyway (apart from anything that happened in the past hour? What were you thinking when wiping your only backup? :eek:

    You are likely going to need to take the failing disk out and run a recovery app on it, which will write to another disk drive. That means you need two drives, one to write to, one to reinstall the OS on. Unfortunately sounds like you have also managed to overwrite the data on the TM drive by writing to that, however there may still be photos on that so worth running the data recpvery app on that also, so I suggest you dont use it anymore.

    Sounds like a truly excellent clusterf***

    Data Rescue gets good write ups here.
  3. SandboxGeneral, Apr 6, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2011

    SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus


    Sep 8, 2010
    Wirelessly posted (iPhone 3GS: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8G4 Safari/6533.18.5)

    If you can take your HDD out and connect it to an IBM PC, purchase a copy of SpinRite (https://www.grc.com/sr/spinrite.htm) and it may be able to repair the drive so you can get your data from it.

    I used it just today to recover two bad sectors on a Windows XP client which was preventing it from logging into the domain.
  4. onemacmini thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 19, 2005
    Thanks for the speedy response, and god knows! Just thought "arh it will be ok" lol, Little did i know!

    And thanks for the link! think im going to have to try that way! I did have a copy of disk warrior but didnt seem to want to boot from it. Will get the data rescue software tomorrow hopefully! Does it do it all by booting from the disk rather than booting on the hard drive?

    Hopefully, Hopefully, Hopefully, there not lost for eternity or i wont be best pleased. Think a time capsule is in need now :rolleyes:
  5. strandedinnz macrumors newbie

    Apr 6, 2011

    First up, DO NOT run any more "repair" tools on it, turn your computer off, find yourself a data recovery company (GBP500 sounds a tad excessive to me), you probably don't need an "Apple" specialist recovery company, just someone reputable they all use the same tools. And let them get your stuff back for you!

    That is of course if you value the photos.

    Next up a telling off! Hold you hand out! *SLAP*

    Don't wipe your backups! And don''t rely on one level of backups for your important stuff!
    Time Machine is an excellent first level backup that you keep at home, but it's pointless if you have a house fire, flood .. or you wipe it! :)

    Get registered with an online backup company, and set it up to send all your important stuff offsite (ie. don;t backup your whole computer, just documents and photos, stuff you can;t replace)
    I use Mozy (since I work for EMC who own them it's free so no brainer for me) but it is honestly good, just lurks in the background and sends your data to the Mozy servers .. if you ever need to recover you can either download over the web or have them make you some DVDs.

    Lecture over! ;-)

    Seriously though, good luck in getting the files back and get the proffessionals to do it .. you might accidently make it worse if you don't know what you are doing.


  6. onemacmini thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 19, 2005
    Thanks for the responses, In time of crisis its much appreciated!

    And don't worry i haven't forgiven myself on this one! Think there's a good chance im going to try the Data rescue software and chance my luck, should this not work im going to put it to one side untill pay day and then send it off to get properly done!

    the photo's are worth alot and paying upto £500 means roughly 26p per photo which is not to dissimilar to getting them all printed.

    Most frustrating thing of all is I can start the computer and see the photo's but cant get them off!

    Last night I rang a company 2 miles from my house, a guy who works from home who said that he's done many and would charge £100 only if he succeded. I dropped it round and he text me at 9:00pm last night conveying 20gb had been copied so far, havent had a text since. Hopefully he's in luck, if not a data specialist is a must lol!

    If anyone has any further guidance I'd appreciate it!
  7. Sirolway macrumors 6502

    Jun 13, 2009
    Data recovery is typically fairly straightforward as long as the disk still spins, so I have confidence your £100 guy will sort you out. That's impressively cheap - care to post a link?

    So now you need a new disk for your MBP...
    Perhaps also go to Maplin & get one of those disk caddies you just drop disks into vertically (they take both size disks). Once you have everything restored to the new disk in your MBP, take a copy on your old disk in the caddy & just put that disk on a shelf. I do this annually as an end of year backup ritual
  8. onemacmini thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 19, 2005
  9. Heilage macrumors 68030


    May 1, 2009
    Not recommended. If his hard drive has a mechanical error, using any type of software on the drive will further destroy it. What needs to be done is for professionals to dismantle the drive and transfer the platters in a sterile environment and try to get data from them that way.

    Please people. If you hear clicking noises and get beachballs, don't do anything with the drive.
  10. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    "If anyone has any further guidance I'd appreciate it!"

    OK, you asked, so I'll answer.

    1. Only ONE backup isn't enough. You need AT LEAST _two_ backup drives, three would be better. That's if you value what's on the drives.

    2. You should consider something like this:
    (many items shown, pick the one you like best)

    3. Once you have a USB/SATA dock, get 2 or 3 "bare" hard drives. Now you have a solution that makes backing up to multiple external drives EASY. And you're not going to have problems if an enclosure fails on you -- just get another dock and keep on going.

    4. DO NOT use Time Machine as your backup format. You want to keep those pic files stored in POFF (plain old finder format), so they are instantly accessible by any Mac using only the finder. I would suggest using CarbonCopyCloner instead.

    5. Keep at least ONE of your backups "off-site". That means in a building separate from the one the computer (and regular backup drive) is located in. It could be a home, office, etc.

    6. If you don't have an "off-site" solution available, get a "data chest" that is BOTH fire-resistant AND waterproof and keep a backup drive inside it. Put it down in the basement (elevated off the floor), if you have a basement. In the case of a fire, it is likely to survive heat damage, and if it's waterproof, will survive the water sprayed to put out the fire. I've seen chests like this available for under $100 US.

    Finally -- again -- DO NOT use Time Machine for your most important stuff. You've already seen how much it "helped" in a moment of extreme need. Use CarbonCopyCloner instead, and do an incremental backup at least weekly. Twice weekly is better.
  11. Tumbleweed666 macrumors 68000


    Mar 20, 2009
    Near London, UK.
    It would have helped fine if he hadn't wiped it, it would already have been up to date within the past hour.

    And how is an incremental once a week (or twice) better than hourly?

    I agree with offsite as well, and thats more easily, smoothly, timely achieved by an online backup rather than the faff of taking a drive somewhere which most people will just forget to do.
  12. onemacmini thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 19, 2005
    thanks for your responses!

    I spoke to the guy looking into my hard drive problems and he said he's managed to copy 80gb of 120gb which isnt too bad. Only thing is he said its started struggling around the pictures bit and was debating stopping. Haven't heard since but hopefully all is well!

    if not i will just send it to a data recoverist. Found one today that will do it for £300.00 which seems much more realistic and will take the harddrive completely apart!

    Fingers Crossed, Will keep you updated :rolleyes:
  13. onemacmini thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 19, 2005
    Well, went and collected my mac today as he has taken out the hard drive and so far its at 89gb.

    Being very slow and seems to of slowed up around the photo's. Only 3 were copied over whilst I was there!

    best part of 20gb remaining :(
  14. onemacmini thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 19, 2005
    Had a phone call Saturday morning, Hard drive had failed to copy but managed to get 90 odd gig off of it.

    I got myself a copy of Data Rescue 3 and plugged the hard drive in myself. Managed to get 12% of the photos up to yesterday at 4pm and haven't looked at it since.

    Fingers crossed its managed more but probably have rescued about 2,000 up to date.

    Will continue with Data Rescue and if that fails will send it off to be recovered.

    Fingers Crossed.
  15. Rowf macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2011
    This is just a suggestion, and a rather tentative one at that, but I've managed to recover photo's, files and music from failed windows pc's using a Ubuntu live disk.
    Boot up from the live disk and mount the drive and then copy photo's etc. over to an external drive.
    Don't know if it would work for mac but, as mentioned above, it worked o.k for windows.
  16. onemacmini thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 19, 2005
    Update ; 07/06/11

    So, my hard drive is still sitting in an enclosure broken.

    I've tried to find a Respectable Data Recovery Company that isnt riddled with bad reviews on the internet.

    If anyone has any idea's let me know! Based in the UK near london.

    I have been told that the Hard Drive Head is broken hence why any software etc. isnt working

  17. ishel21 macrumors newbie

    Jun 7, 2011
    I'm having the same problem with error-36 with my external hdd. I was wondering how can I transfer my .avi movie files to my mac without having error-36. I've tried reading other threads but it doesn't work. I even tried inserting it on a windows but it can't read my external hdd. Btw, it is formatted in exFAT.
  18. monokakata macrumors 68000


    May 8, 2008
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    Interesting that you mention this. I had to do it last week, when an old PC that I built for a friend wouldn't boot. The system disk was a SCSI disk and I no longer have PCs with SCSI controllers lying around. So I downloaded Ubuntu and burned a CD and that let me boot the PC and copy the data from the SCSI disk. Of course my friend had no backups at all.

    I pushed her toward Mac and Time Machine but even a refurbed Mini is out of her price range. So she'll have to be careful to copy important data to an external or use a free online service.

    I'm keeping that Ubuntu CD around because I have the feeling that it might come in handy again.
  19. Blaine macrumors 6502a


    Dec 3, 2007
    Abilene TX
    I would just give up. The fact that you keep trying to use a drive that has a mechanical failure leads me to believe that the data isn't all that important to you. Otherwise, you would have spent the money to have it sent off.

    If the hard drive is slowly destroying itself, you've likely sped it up my orders of magnitude by stressing the drive to keep copying.

    If the platters are now severely damaged, a data recovery company may be unable to help.

  20. rjchubba macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2011
    Data Recovery

    Hi there im in the same boat as you my drive is dead and i desperately need to get the data off the drive.
    I also live in herts and i was wondering if you could send me the detalis of the data recovery company you used please.

  21. onemacmini thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 19, 2005
    I know how you feel!

    And I haven’t sent it off yet. Have narrowed my search down to these guys http://www.datarecoverydirect.co.uk/ who seem reasonable and have good reviews.

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