How do you remove hard drive or transfer info when computer won't start

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by scenn, Nov 9, 2011.

  1. scenn macrumors newbie

    Oct 12, 2011
    Hi Everyone

    My macbook recently died (not sure what the problem is but it won't start up). My IT guy seems to think it's not the hard drive but the logic board.

    Most importantly, I want to get all of my files off of it and transfer them to my new iMac. Not that worried about fixing the macbook at this point.

    My question is: how (exactly) do I do this if the macbook won't start up at all? I've tried doing my own research online and found so many different (conflicting) responses. Some say I can use a cable to transfer the files between the 2 machines using Time Machine, others say that won't work if computer is not turned on. Another thing I read is to take the hard drive out and put it in a separate enclosure. And yet another response is that there are software programs that can extract the information.

    Anyone out there know what the correct (or best) answer is? Just remember I am not an IT person by any means, just a regular girl :)

  2. bmcgonag macrumors 65816


    Mar 20, 2007
    If the macbook is not under warranty, you can find some very detailed step by step instructions on how to remove the macbook hard drive on

    They have great guides. Once removed, you'll need an external enclosure, or at the very least a SATA to USB or SATA to Firewire cable to connect it to your new computer.

    When (if) the drive mounts, you'll be able to use migration assistant to get documents, photos, music, applications, etc moved over. Or you can just copy them from the old drive to the new (though applications won't always work from a straight copy).
  3. spacedrabbit macrumors member

    Nov 7, 2011

    That link is how to use Migration Assistant once you actually take the drive out, put it into an enclosure, and plug it into the iMac. You specifically want the sub-heading called "Time Machine or Other Disk Migration"

    *edit* It does not matter that the link is for Lion OS, it works basically the same from any OS
  4. Sc00tr macrumors regular

    May 28, 2011
    A SATA to USB cable would be the cheapest. You can find them for about $5. You don't need a full enclosure.

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