Help - emergency backup from install DVD

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by basicmacuser, Mar 4, 2013.

  1. basicmacuser macrumors newbie

    Mar 4, 2013

    today something strange happened. I installed the latest Java update and had to restart my macbook pro 15 (something which I hadn't done in almost a month. Been keeping the laptop on sleep). As soon as I rebooted, the white screen with the apple logo appeared along with the loading wheel and a progress bar. The progress bar reached around 10% then emptied out, then again the same except that this time the laptop turned off on its own. Tried to boot again several times. Same result. It kept turning off at the same point and I couldn't reach my finder. I tried safe mode, but same thing happens. I decided to boot from the install DVD and perform disk utility tasks. So I tried to repair my disk. A message box pops up:

    'Disk Utility stopped repairing Macintosh HD. Disk Utility can't repair this disk. Back up as many of your files as possible, reformat the disk and restore your backed-up files.'

    That started freaking me out since ALL of my work is on this very Macintosh HD. I tried creating an image file of the HD through disk utility but it comes up with an error that says (input/output error).

    And I still can't reach my finder.

    I'm out of ideas and options and my case is pretty desperate. I REALLY need to retrieve my files from the HD before I reformat it. I'm talking years of work here. I know I should have backed up all my files but I didn't have an external device that handled such sizes. Is there any way to use Time Machine via the install DVD ? Or better yet, is there any way for me to access my osx one last time just to take the files I need and put them on an HD ?

    Any help would be extremely appreciated.
  2. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    Put a new HDD inside the MacBook, and buy an external USB enclosure for the wonky one.

    Also consider a Synology NAS for a backup device. Lots of storage options including Time Machine on some.

    People lose there files all the time because they don't backup.
  3. basicmacuser thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 4, 2013
    So that's the only available solution ? Is there no way for me to just access my finder and retrieve all my files from there ? What's so odd is that before the reboot, it was working perfectly with no freezing or anything.
  4. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    An HD crash or OS corruption can come without warning anytime. That's why folks backup.

    You could also format and use an external drive even a 16GB or more SDHC card and install OSX, It'll be slow but you might be able to get at your files.

    You'll still need somewhere to back them up while you rebuild your MacBook.
  5. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    "Any help would be extremely appreciated."

    Suggestion #1:
    Don't be an "I never shut down/restart" snob. Every few days, I suggest you get in the routine of doing a restart just to "clean things out". Quite a few glitches can be "reset" just by shutting down and restarting (or even by just logging out and logging back in).

    Suggestion #2:
    If you had kept a "cloned backup" using either CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper, you wouldn't be posting the message pleading for help that you did above -- because EVERYTHING you had would be backed up and INSTANTLY BOOTABLE on an external volume.

    There is NOTHING that will help you "in a moment of extreme need" (is that not what you're having now?) as will a cloned, bootable backup with all your files "right there" in POFF (plain old finder format).

    I would suggest the following items to help you "get going" again:

    First, you'll need a new hard drive (either HDD or SSD). Get one from the vendor of your choice and install it.

    Take the old drive out and set it aside for the moment. Your files may be intact and recoverable. They may be hopelessly munged. We don't know that yet. But step 1 is to get the MacBook bootable again.

    Get the new drive installed, and get a working system installed onto it. Do you have a DVD of the OS? What are you using to communicate with us now?

    I would get a basic version of the system installed, and create a new account. You can use your old userID and password for now.

    The main thing is to get the Macbook working again.
    You will then need a hardware solution to access the damaged HD.

    I STRONGLY SUGGEST that you spend $28 and get one of these gadgets:

    A USB3/SATA dock will not only be an indispensable tool in "getting at" your old HD, it will serve you well for many years to come as a backup device. And again, it's only $28.

    Assuming that you:
    - Have a fresh drive in the Macbook and
    - Have a bootable OS on it
    … now, connect the USB/SATA dock. Put the damaged drive into it. Power up the dock.

    What happens next?

    Get to this point, advise us as to what you see, and we can go from there….
  6. basicmacuser thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 4, 2013

    mmmmm...yeah. Actually all it took was a computer-savvy friend of mine who knows his way around command line/unix/root. Problem could simply be solved by accessing the osx via unix (cmd-v at boot I reckon) instead of the graphical user interface which I was unable to access, mount an external drive from there and transfer all my files from the native HD to it. Once that's done, format the sucker and re-install osx. All's working like clockwork now and disk utility isn't detecting any issues with the hard drive anymore.

    Process didn't take even too much time (except for the transfer of files from one HD to another and the setting up preferences and updates once you re-install the osx) so I STRONGLY suggest everyone who experiences the same problems I had to consider this way around the issue, instead of being conned into spending hundreds of dollars on a new HDD you don't need, like Fishrrman suggested above.

    Anyway, thank you all for your help !

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