iMac HD data recovery

Discussion in 'iMac' started by sqiddster, Jul 8, 2012.

  1. sqiddster macrumors newbie

    Jul 8, 2012

    My neighbor recently had a problem with her iMac. It was extremely sluggish, and software was not opening at all. Apple tech support told her the problem was a corrupted HD, and she got it replaced. They gave her the old hard drive, and said it would cost near $1000 to retrieve the data. The data is important, and I am wondering if there is a way to retrieve the data myself. I have access to a good PC desktop, and this iMac.

    Is there any way to recover this data?

    Thank you very much. If you need any more information, please let me know.

  2. driftless macrumors 65816


    Sep 2, 2011
    I am assuming that she that she did not have the data backed up via Time Machine/Time Capsule or some other back-up system?
  3. sainsburys macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2012
    Yep you can retrieve data by yourself. There are programs to do that. For example kroll ontrack easyrecovery.
    I used it few times.

    But there is a sad news. I'm not sure but most of these programs work with NTFS and FAT32 files systems. I recently tried to find something that would work with ext4 but I was unsuccessful. So, because OS X is using HFS+ file system there could be problem with software. But I can't believe that they don't exist.
    To sum up try to google "recovering HFS+ partition" or find program for recovering data that can work with HFS+ file system.

    Good luck!
  4. sqiddster thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 8, 2012
    Yes, the data was not backed up.

    @sainsburys, are you saying that I will have to open up the computer and replace the old hard drive? The problem with that, is the computer does not work at all with it in - so how can I do this?

  5. AppleNewton macrumors 68000


    Apr 3, 2007
    1 Finite Place
  6. alksion macrumors 68000


    Sep 10, 2010
    Los Angeles County
    There's a fairly cheap software for Windows that I use, it's called Power Data Recovery.
  7. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    The important issue here is, is it a "hardware failure" (broken heads, platters won't spin, bad controller, etc.), or is it a "logical problem" (corrupted directory or partition map)?

    If it's a hardware problem, there's probably not much you can do to get the data -- the drive needs to be sent to data recovery experts, and the cost of recovery will be VERY expensive.

    If it's a software/logical problem, you have a fairly-decent chance of recovering at least -some- of the data on the drive. To do this, you will need:
    1. A "dock" in which to put the problem drive
    2. Recovery software
    3. A "scratch volume" to which you can recover the data

    I suggest you (or her) get a USB/SATA docking station. They are cheap and easy to use:

    For data recovery software, you might choose from:
    - DataRescue3
    - Stellar Phoenix Data Recovery
    - Disk Drill
    - Nice To Recover

    These all work pretty much the same way. That is:
    1. Download the app for free
    2. Run it in "demo mode" to see if it can access the problem drive
    3. Allows you to recover -ONE- file for test purposes
    4. If it can see the drive and recover a file, it can probably do much more for you. Then you pay the registration (typically less than $100), get a code, enter the code, and let the software "go to work" on the problem drive.
    5. The software really needs a "scratch drive" (empty drive) which serves as a receptacle as it scavenges the problem drive and reconstructs the files.

    If you've read this far, and decide to try data recovery on your own, be aware that even with data recovery software the problem drive may not "mount" on the desktop. In that case, the data recovery app may not be able to "see" the drive.

    If that happens, there still remains an alternative. That is, to re-initialize the drive (yes, you read that correctly), and then "attack it" with the data recovery software.

    Remember that re-initializing replaces the drive's -directory-, and normally does not erase the actual data that lies out on the sectors of the drive's surface platters. (IMPORTANT: DO NOT choose to "zero out" the drive -- this WILL erase the data on the drive's sectors. You DO NOT want to choose this option)

    With a new, "fresh" directory, the Mac can now mount the drive, and even though it appears to be "empty", you can use the data recovery software to scavenge the drive and re-construct the data that's on it. You WILL lose all folder hierarchies and probably most of the file names as well. But you can get the actual data back, and that's what's most important.
  8. sqiddster thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 8, 2012
    Thank you very much!

    I am not sure how to tell if it was a hardware/software problem. I will describe the symptoms as best I can:
    -Sluggish computer to the point of insanity
    -Applications won't open
    -Resolution went spastic at the end there...

    That's all I can remember happening.

    Thanks again!
  9. WesCole macrumors 6502a

    Jul 1, 2010
    I agree with the people who say to try an external enclosure for the hard drive and connect it to the iMac. It should show in finder if you can access the files and then you can just copy over the files you need. I hope it goes that smoothly for you, anyway. :)
  10. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    You must be a really happy customer... since your username is the same as the product.

  11. Scotter, Aug 16, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2013

    Scotter macrumors newbie

    Aug 16, 2013
    Data may get lost or deleted from Apple Macintosh partitions. The Mac data recovery software is embedded with QFSCI algorithms and recursively scan the partitions and recovers every file, folder, documents, music files, video files, images or other important items from the disk within minutes from deleted, corrupted, damaged, inaccessible or formatted HFS, HFS+ files. The software recovers data from IDE, EIDE, SCSI, USB and SATA drives and Memory Cards and data lost due to virus attacks.
    For more information you can visit
    Rody Roon
  12. TwoBytes macrumors 68030


    Jun 2, 2008
  13. Judith123 macrumors member

    Aug 13, 2013
    New York
    As a guy said before, since you are not sure whether it is a hardware problem or logical/software problem, you can just use the demo data recovery software to deep scan your hard drive. If it can scan your lost files, it may be the logical problem. Otherwise, it is a hardware problem.

    Logical problem can be easily solved, because you can get some data recovery software. With data recovery program, it will be so easy to recover data, but you need to make sure the data has not been overwritten. However, if it is the hardware problem, I think it will cost too much money.:cool:

    As for the data recovery software, I suggest you to try the demo version firstly. If it can scan your lost files, them purchase it to recover.:)
  14. TwoBytes macrumors 68030


    Jun 2, 2008
    Sometimes the scanning and using of data recovery software or trying to fix it yourself makes it worse. Saying that, if at least stick it in a caddy and try to see if you can access the data. Failing that, send it off.
  15. antonis macrumors 68000


    Jun 10, 2011
    Hope it will work for you. Regardless, use the time machine (free, built-in, extremely easy to use) for your new disk as these are non-existed problems on the mac.
  16. aniruth macrumors newbie

    Aug 18, 2013
    Ah, interesting. Only on the 21.5" and 27" though. My experience was with several years before those, and the OP didn't discuss which iMac he has.
  17. sukantha macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2013
    For a nice and looking for this product/service and I ran across this I am unclear about the quality or the foundation of their offering. Has anyone have searched into this before? If you have any other choices you know are worth the time to view, please post them here. Cheers!
  18. Jennifermc macrumors newbie

    Feb 20, 2014

    No it will not cost that much ...Here is the application which can recover almost everything from MAC hard drive. Go through Free trial version to recover data, in free version you can see the preview of recovered data.
  19. xraydoc macrumors demi-god


    Oct 9, 2005
    Zombie thread.

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