I think I erased my hard drive, how to get it back.

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by one finger john, Jan 7, 2015.

  1. one finger john macrumors newbie

    Aug 31, 2012
    Was doing an overlay refresh on one of the two hard drives in my G4. It appears that I erased that hard drive (possibly an erase/install). How do I get everything back to before I tried the install?

  2. chabig macrumors 601

    Sep 6, 2002
    I don't know what an "overlay refresh" is but you're probably going to have to restore from backup.
  3. one finger john thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 31, 2012
  4. eyoungren macrumors Core


    Aug 31, 2011
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    If you actually erased the drive then there is no UNDO.

    Your only option is restoring from a backup (doesn't seem like you had one) or data recovery.

    DataRescue is one OS X PowerPC app that can help. There are others. If you use them you may get your files back but nothing will be in order and nothing will be named as it was. It will be one big jumble you'll have to sort through.

    If your data is truly important to you then it's off to a data rescue/forensic service where you will be charged out the wazoo for retrieval of your data.
  5. Cox Orange macrumors 68000

    Jan 1, 2010
    I tried Stellar Phoenix Mac recovery.

    It shows you deleted files after you have accidentally erased files or even formatted/partitioned the whole drive. So you can look, what you actually lost. If you want to recover the files, then you have to buy the licence for 99USD.

    Finding the files from a formatted drive, which I even formatted in another Mac worked. But since I was to cheap on buying it I couldn't test, if recovering the data works good enough. But at least it is good to see, what one has lost.

    1.8TB via USB2 (read speed of 8MB/s) took me 4 days, till I stopped it and had a look, what it had found till then. It went through 290.000.000 sectors (of 390.000.000 total) and found 1.5TB.

    Too bad it costs 99,-USD.
  6. poiihy macrumors 68020


    Aug 22, 2014
    Which could've been invested into a backup drive :rolleyes:
  7. Cox Orange macrumors 68000

    Jan 1, 2010
    Of course and I have several backup drives (I even keep vital data 3x), but there are other reasons.

    Well, I have the files, but as DV files and on the lost drive they were already edited (only cutting). Nothing special other than cutting off the crap of black and white at the beginning and end of VHS tape-captures. But the time invested is a pity. I have the files, but the working time is lost.

    In my case it happened, when I had the data-drive connected and made a run of formatting several drives. After the 8th drive I chose the wrong one in disk utility.

    Also there is Data Rescue 2 or 3, which two other members of this forum sugguest in another thread and use themselves, so me and the OP are not the only once who loose data... :D
  8. one finger john thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 31, 2012
    I want to thank all that responded. Yeah I know I should use a back up, but .... there didn't seem to be any problems. Every once in a while I would reinstall the operating system when the o.s. would get slow or a little buggy.
    This time, I tried to do a reinstall and it never finished the reinstall. You know, the "one minute left" that lasted an hour. So I tried again, the system went to the end of the install and shut down, rebooted and nothing was the same. No home page, no bookmarks, no history, no nada.
    But there are, in the "previous systems" folder, the previous systems by date. It's like the computer has gotten the o.s. "lost" some where in the hard drive. This happened before and over a thousand pictures were "lost".
    Is this possible and does having the "previous system" available help any? It's like they have become ghosts in the machine. I just need to call them back.

    Again, thanks to all who have tried to help. My terminology and way of thinking, both the problem and explaining it, are from a 65 yr. old novice who sees the problem and doesn't know how to deal with it.

    Thanks again, John
  9. poiihy macrumors 68020


    Aug 22, 2014
    Oh so your old OS is stored in the "Previous System" folder?

    You can restore your User account by following this:

  10. one finger john, Jan 9, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2015

    one finger john thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 31, 2012
    Thank you poiihhy, this is very encouraging news. Could you put the recovery repairs in plain language? I'm having a hard time putting all of this together.


    Another thought. Is there a way of reverting to the previous system by a simple command? Ha Ha I know, wishful thinking. If they (Apple) have the complete system available in the folder, how come there is no restore command. Venting right now. This is getting more frustrating by the moment.

    Thanks for listening, John
  11. Cox Orange, Jan 9, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2015

    Cox Orange macrumors 68000

    Jan 1, 2010
    @ John

    Once Poiihy has helped you and you have everything back, download the trial version of Volitan SMART utility (don't use an app called SMART Reporter), to find out, if you hard drive is dieing!
    (can you start from DVD and install the OS to an external Firewire drive and then start from the firewire-drive? Then you could install SMART Utility there).

    Almost everytime I wasn't able to install a system, the hard drive itself had problems.
    Also did you try using the OS DVD and use "test and repair", maybe a catalogue-header got lost and this makes the system search for a file that it can't find during start-up, because the catalogue-structure is broken (or tree-structure. Usually you will read something about "B-tree" or something).

    But maybe first try poiihy's advice.

    Maybe, it isn't interesting for you, but as I mentioned I tested a demo of Stellar Phoenix Mac Data Recovery and was impressed. After first employing other strategies of getting it, I hunted down versions of it on German Ebay from a trusted vendor. They seem to be cleaning there shelf from older versions.
    I found
    Version 4 for Mac OS X 10.4-10.6 (minimum PPC G3 or Intel) for up to 2TB for data = 15,-EUR (about 18 USD, without shipping)
    Version 5 for 10.4-10.7 and newer (min. G4 / Intel) + over 2TB data = 30,-EUR (about 36USD)
    Version 6 = 10.4-10.8 and newer + over 2TB recovery + NTFS via BootCamp for 75,-EUR (90 USD).

    6 is the recent version. I am considering, weather to buy Vers. 4 and once I need a newer version I could gamble on the newer version having dropped in price, but I am not sure.
  12. poiihy macrumors 68020


    Aug 22, 2014
    The instructions there are for restoring your home folder. If you want to restore the entire system then... Well I don't know if you can do that. I've searched the internet but they all say the Previous System folder cannot be "reblessed"

    If you just want your personal stuff back, but in the new OS, then follow that tutorial to restore your home folder. The home folder is the folder with your name in the Users folder, and it contains all your personal data (if you put it there).

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