How Boot Camp saved my life! (well.. my data)

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by MacsRgr8, Feb 7, 2010.

  1. MacsRgr8 macrumors 604

    MacsRgr8

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2002
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #1
    Unbelievable story really, but I am happy to be able to share my experience with a failing hard drive in my MacBook Pro.

    A few days back I was at a client with my work's MacBook Pro (Unibody), when suddenly this Mac became unresponsive and it was hurling the dreaded Spinning Beachballs of Death™ left, right and centre.
    After giving it a few minutes (hoping the slowdown was due to network failure as I had Apple Remote Desktop active, and a sudden drop of DNS server can cause slowdowns), I had to resort to the good ol' force turn off.
    I waited 30 seconds, and turned my beloved MacBook Pro back on again.... hmm... no dice. Go the "no entry" sign.
    I reset PRAM and tried to boot into Single User Mode. After waiting for about 2 minutes I finally got some sort of prompt: Disk I/O failure.

    I switched it back off, and headed for home. Luckily I was done with my work at my client, but I had a bad feeling in my stomach... I hadn't done a proper backup for weeks! :(
    I always tell everybody to make backups, as hard drives will always fail. The only question is when. But, me... do I listen to my own advice..? No, idiot that I am.

    Since Friday I have been trying to get my data off this disk. My first move was simple: boot MBP into FireWire Target Disk mode, hook it to my Mac Pro and see if the partition mounts: nope.
    Run Disk Utility and try to Repair Disk: "Disk Utility is unable to repair this disk". It told me to make a backup and re-format. Nice. :eek:

    Next steps, keeping it in FireWire Target Disk mode, hooked to the Mac Pro:
    1) Use Data Rescue 3.0.1
    Gr8! This little app has shown its capabilities on many a client's Macs. But, after letting it scan the volume for about half a day, it was getting clear that it wouldn't help me out....

    2) DiskWarrior 4.1
    Okay, so Data Rescue 3 couldn't "see" my files on this broken File System, so I gave DiskWarrior 4.1 a try to "replace" the damaged File System, and see if it will become readable again. No, sir. Again after a very long time (16 hours) it became apparent that I could wait forever before DiskWarrior got through the process.
    At this time that bad little feeling I had in my stomach turned into a slight panic as it became more and more logical I probably would never see my latest data again... and yes there were quite a few documents I really, really wanted back..! :eek:

    3) Drive Genius 2.3
    Okay... my collection of software tools is now running out... I gave Drive Genius 2.3 a whirl. But same old story. Took half a day to find out nothing will happen.

    By this time it was Sunday morning. And, TBO... I had almost given up.
    Until... I had one idiotic idea....
    This MacBook Pro had two operating systems on it... Mac OS X 10.6.2 and Windows 7 via Boot Camp 3.1.
    My panicking brain told me that Boot Camp 3.x has one new feature: HFS+ read support in Windows. So, I booted this MacBook Pro into Windows 7, logged into my account and browsed "My Computer".
    The partition named "Macintosh HD" appeared in the Window. Okay.... dare I try open the volume? Yes.. and it listed all the Mac stuff... and yes /Users/<myname>/ too!!! :cool:

    Luckily I always have a couple of Mac OS X Servers around @ home where I could create a sharepoint to be shared via SMB. Got this Windows MacBook Pro connected via ethernet (Gb), and tried to copy my whole Mac-homedirectory.
    That didn't work (predictably) as it got too many errors while trying to access the data on the Mac partition.
    So, I resorted to manual copying of the files and folders I needed most, followed by whole directories I wanted, until i got to the inevitable errors.

    But, to my surprise, I got most of my beloved data copied to the server!!! Not everything, but I think I got all that I really needed back, and most of what I wanted too!! :)

    Who would have thought it.... no "usual" software tool could help me out, but the HFS+ read feature of Boot Camp 3.1 on Windows made it easy.

    I have learned two lessons here:
    1) Next time try Boot Camp earlier ;)
    2) Back the F*** Up like I tell everyone else to do!! :p:apple:

    I hope someone reading this learns from my mistakes.

    Cheers,

    -MacsRgr8
     
  2. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #2
    You may also have been able to access your files using Terminal run from your OS X restore disks. Why they don't include Finder in the installer's utilities I'll never know, but you can still access and copy files from the command line if you know what you're doing.

    Glad to hear all's well that ends well, anyway.

    Personally, I think the Time Capsule is a waste of money, but it might not be a bad investment in your case.
     
  3. MacsRgr8 thread starter macrumors 604

    MacsRgr8

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2002
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #3
    IMHO, it seems the FileSystem is so damaged that no other Mac (either via NetBoot, DVD boot or Target Disk mode) could access this partition due to the nature Mac OS X wants to mount the volume. So I doubt that would have worked.

    It seems the HFS+ read feature in Windows does this "mounting" very differently :confused:... and I got lucky.

    BTW, after doing the copying to a server I re-formatted the Mac partition and installed Snow Leopard again.
    During iLife '09 install.... the Beachballs wanted to pay me a visit again. :p

    Rebooting a couple of times (as it now doesn't matter anymore) and trying to install more stuff, this HD made the known defective noises.
    This disk is gone.

    Tnx 4 your reaction BlueRevolution.
     
  4. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
  5. MacsRgr8 thread starter macrumors 604

    MacsRgr8

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2002
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #5
    LOL, yep I noticed it too!

    I hope everyone gets as lucky as I was....
     

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