Is it possible to rescue data from my dead iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by micke1967, Nov 6, 2017.

  1. micke1967 macrumors regular

    Nov 1, 2012
    Hi all
    I have an iMac 2013 with fusion drive.
    Now it can no longer be started with the exception of "command+R" which send into a mode where I can reinstall macOs and can use disk utiolities and such...
    Running diskutility states somethings wrong with the hdd, unclear what though..

    Anway I decided to buy a new iMac.
    And I wonder if there is any way to save any of the data on the dead iMac?? and if so-how exactly??

    I do have a time machine backup but it is one month old so its not total disaster but would be great to be able to save some data if possible.

    By the way to get all my programs on a new it just to open the time machine copy and tell it to bring the "Application" folder or how would I do??
    Would it be better to use some migration assistant?

    best regards Micael
  2. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    its a hard drive death it happened after 4-5 years (that’s about the life of an HDD) you can just get it replaced even with an ssd and create a super fast fusion drive. Even do it yourself.

    Once you have the HDD out you can try and boot it externally from a caddy to get any information off of it however a dead HDD can be very difficult to get information off that is what Apple provides time machine to back up any changes every hour.
  3. tn-xyz macrumors regular


    Sep 13, 2017
    using the search button would be your way to go. try this.
  4. micke1967 thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 1, 2012
    Now I have ordered a new iMAC...when it comes..
    Could I somehow use it to retrieve data from my old Imac with dead HD??
    If so how??

    Because it seems very difficult to get the HD out of my current iMac without ruining it...then again it doesent work so..

    I have a timemachine backup but it was propably taken just before upgrading to High Sierra...
    Would that be a problem when getting it into my new iMac when it arrives??
    And what would best way of bringing that backup into the new mac be?? timemachine folder by folder?? Migration assistant?
  5. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009

    Before you write off the old iMac, try this:
    (You need to work from another bootable Mac to do this)

    1. Get a USB flashdrive 16gb or larger
    2. Get a copy of the Mac OS installer of your choice
    3. Get just ONE of the following free apps:
    - Boot Buddy
    - DiskMaker X
    - Install Disk Creator
    4. Now, format the flashdrive to HFS+ with journaling enabled
    5. Use one of the apps to create a bootable USB flashdrive installer
    6. Boot the old iMac from the installer
    8. Run Disk Utility's "repair disk" on it NOW to check it out.
    9 IF you get "a good report", REPEAT the test 5 times.
    10. IF you get a good report every time, go to the installer and do a completely fresh install.

    This might revive the drive.

    With the new iMac, use your last TM backup during the setup process.
    Assuming it works (one never knows with Time Machine), it should pretty much "get you back to where you once belonged..."
  6. elf69 macrumors 68020


    Jun 2, 2016
    Cornwall UK
    link old and new together, firewire/thunderbolt etc boot old one in target mode.

    new one will see it as an external HDD.

    in theory all good to copy data.
  7. micke1967 thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 1, 2012
    Sounds great so do I need to do something on old imac first?? you mention boot old one in target mode...How exactly do I set it to do that??
    best regards Micael
  8. elf69 macrumors 68020


    Jun 2, 2016
    Cornwall UK
    hold down "T" on boot on old mac.
    do nothing to new mac.

    you will need get link cable first.

    I linked MacBook pro and imac this way, both where 2007 vintage but worked to reinstall the MacBook pro.
  9. dwig macrumors 6502a

    Jan 4, 2015
    Key West FL
    Keep in mind that there is no data in the old iMac except on the HD. If the HD is in truth dead, then all the data and applications are not retrievable without very very great expense (e.g. extracting the HD and sending it to a data recovery firm like Even this won't always work.

    Sometimes a system can't read a drive with damaged data. It might be that the drive is working very poorly and it might be that the formatting is so scrambled, due to some error, that even DiskUtility can't repair the drive, which is a data/format repair and not a physical repair.

    I've occasionally been able to recover some data from a "dead" drive by removing it from the computer, putting it in an external case, and mounting it on another computer or the same computer after installing a new drive into the computer. Sometimes a dying drive can be read. I succeeded in doing this with one of my wife's older MacBooks and, recently, with a Dell Win10 notebook where the drive was so "sick" that the computer couldn't boot to any alternative drive (USB or CD) until the sick drive was physically removed. My wife's old drive could be partially read but couldn't be "healed" by a reformat.

    The drive out of the Dell has, so far, proved full functional have a complete series of reformats. I put it in an external case, but couldn't even read it or reformat it on any Windows machine that I had access to (all Win10). I could read most of the folders when I mounted it on my iMac (macOS 10.12.6) so I copied the critical data and then reformatted it. DiskUtility couldn't properly reformat it, but after letting it attempt a Repair, the Windows machines could now mount it as a blank drive and their DiskManager could partition it and reformat it successfully.

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8 November 6, 2017