HELP! Wife dropped HD and now isn't "readable"

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Duty Guy, Sep 18, 2009.

  1. Duty Guy macrumors newbie

    Feb 14, 2009
    So, yesterday I moved my wife's iPhoto library to her WD external HD so she could install Snow Leopard on her iMac. Today I get home and she meets me in the driveway telling me that her HD fell of her filing cabinet and the computer won't recognize it. I take a look at it and here's the message I get when I plug it into the computer:

    <Red Stop Sign w/ "!" in the middle>

    The disk you inserted was not readable by this computer.

    (Initialize...) (Ignore) (Eject)

    I am hesitant to click the (Initialize) button for fear of an accidental formatting which would subsequently erase our iPhoto library (ALL OF OUR PHOTOS -> 90GB of photos).

    Because Mac enthusiasts are the ultimate community and are very resourceful on the whole, I felt it would be most prudent to put this query to the monitors of these boards.

    What do I do?
  2. BlueRevolution macrumors 603


    Jul 26, 2004
    Montreal, QC
    You can try Data Rescue, which might be able to recover some data from your drive. However, since the drive appears to be physically damaged, I can't make any promises.
  3. MacBH928 macrumors 68030


    May 17, 2008
    if you are serious about this, i hear there are little repair shops that fix HD. They might be able to transfer the information.
  4. BlueRevolution macrumors 603


    Jul 26, 2004
    Montreal, QC
    True. Data recovery services are ridiculously expensive, though.
  5. markfrautschi macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2004
    Rockville, MD
    You have options

    Sorry to hear of your drive's mishap.

    First, a question. I was not clear whether the photos in question were copied from your Mac prior to the Snow Leopard upgrade as a safety measure, or copied and then deleted from that Mac. It sounds like it's the latter. But if it's the former, the photos should still be there after the SL upgrade and wiping and reformatting the drive and then restoring the photos (providing a backup) is viable.

    Assuming the photos were deleted from the SL drive, let's talk about getting them restored from the drive that fell.

    The UNIX dd command, which is available from the Mac OS X terminal in SL is a way to get everything that is recoverable onto a disk image. It requires another drive with free space greater that the damaged drive's total capacity, since it recovers used as well as empty space. It also takes a lot of time. So the Mac that does the recovery should be left alone for the day(s) it takes to do this job. If you have an uninterruptible power supply to keep the power on in case of a blip, an undisturbed place to set-up and work, and so on, use those. If the recovery computer is a portable, make sure it is well ventilated. Here is an article I have followed several times with good luck. It does not always work, but it works when other means fail, and it does not make changes to your disk, so it's a good first step:

    You can use that extra hard drive for a Time Machine backup when you are done, and protect yourself against a similar mishap in the future.

    Good luck.
  6. Duty Guy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 14, 2009

    I got a lot of responses from here, the Apple support boards, and various friends, ranging from the extreme to the simple (and no, I don't want to put my HD in the freezer, sheesh.). After much research I decided to take it to our local Mac repair shop and they said they would try to do a software rescue. It is looking promising. Meanwhile, I got my 4TB Drobo in the mail and I'm setting it up right now. Thanks guys.

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