Macbook cant find my Hard Drive! Please help!

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by leon01, Jan 14, 2014.

  1. leon01 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    #1
    I have a late 2011 15" macbook pro.

    I've recently been using it at work and have windows 7 installed in Bootcamp. Two days ago I went to open my Macbook Partition and it just seemed to not be there. I know I should have backed up, but I haven't in two years. If I can't get at this I've lost two years of family photos. My little ones growing up, all gone. I'll be upset with myself for the rest of my life. So, I've got to fix it.

    The thing is Bootcamp works fine. It actually sees Disk E. But just calls it 'Local Disk (E)' and when I click on it it tells me it's not a valid file format and asks if I want to format, so I leave it well alone.

    If I start the machine it boots automatically into OSX Utilities and from there I can go to DIsk Utility. My macbook hard drive has become a grayed out disk0s2. When I click on 'Mount' nothing happens. When I run DiskWarrior it doesn't see or find the mac hard drive.

    I can open Terminal too, but I have no idea what to tell it.

    My only option seems to be to format. I dont want to loose my data. Arrgh!!

    I'm thinking there must be some basic level software corruption. Everything is still there, it just doesn't want to see it.

    I'm pretty sure I'm running OSX Mavericks.

    Please, any help would be great.
     
  2. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #2
    What happens when you hold the option key when the Mac reboots?
    Had you booted into OSX since loading windows? Is it possible that you install windows on the wrong partition?
     
  3. leon01 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    #3
    Hi, thank you for the reply.

    When I hold down Option I get the choice of Windows or Recovery 10.9.

    I installed Windows quite a while ago and have flipped back and forth between Windows and my Mac hard drive a number of times without it being a problem.

    The windows partition is 200 GB and the Mac partition 550GB. I can see the Mac partition in Disk Utilities, it's just grayed out and renamed to disc0s2.

    Cheers, Tom
     
  4. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #4
    [[ I installed Windows quite a while ago and have flipped back and forth between Windows and my Mac hard drive a number of times without it being a problem.
    The windows partition is 200 GB and the Mac partition 550GB. I can see the Mac partition in Disk Utilities, it's just grayed out and renamed to disc0s2. ]]

    DON'T re-initialize the drive (yet).

    I've seen similar problems reported numerous times here on MR.com -- that is, a user has both the Mac OS and BootCamp installed, then, after a period of time, the computer will boot to Windows but the Mac OS partition is no longer recognized. Which is why I will NEVER install BootCamp on any of my Macs... :)

    Even though the Mac partition won't mount, the data on that partition is probably "still there" -- you just can't get to it, that's all.

    Something important I'll mention right now -- Why don't you have a backup? If the stuff on the Mac partition is that important to you, why did you trust it to only ONE drive?
    Think about this before you do anything else.
    Go forth from this day, and learn from your mistakes (the rest of us learned, as well).

    Here's what I would do if you put your computer into my hands:

    First, I'd get some kind of external drive.
    It can be either an "already-built" drive, or one you put together yourself, or a "bare drive" and a USB3/SATA docking station.

    I would suggest the combination of a bare drive and a USB3/SATA dock. These devices are cheap (less than $25), and VERY easy to use (just plug the drive in like you put bread into a toaster). To see what I'm talking about, go to amazon and enter "usb3 sata dock" into the search box, and you'll see many choices.

    So... order up a dock and drive to go into it. Might be the time to pick up an SSD -- will make a very nice addition to the MacBook. Get something mid-range (180-256gb). Don't spend lots of money.

    When you get this stuff, put the drive into the dock and hook it up to the MacBook, and boot into the Recovery Partition.

    Then, use Disk Utility to intialize the drive.
    I STRONGLY SUGGEST that you DO NOT create a BootCamp partition on it.

    Now, you need to get a fresh copy of the OS installed onto the docked drive.

    You can try to coax the Recovery Partition to download a copy of Mavericks from Apple and install it onto the docked drive. Whether it will do this or not, I'm not sure.
    (Aside -- I don't believe in "recovery partitions" and don't use them -- I ALWAYS work from a bootable clone drive when doing disk repairs/recovery)

    If you can get the RP to install Mavericks onto the docked drive, your next step will be to reboot from the docked drive and get an administrative account set up. To do this, restart, and hold down the option key until the startup manager appears. Then, select the docked drive, and hit return.

    You should now boot from the docked drive.

    If you can get this far, I would consider "swapping out" the docked drive with the internal drive. Check "ifixit.com" for illustrated tutorials on how to do this (I assume your MacBook can be opened and that the drive is indeed "swap-able"). IMPORTANT: you need the RIGHT TOOLS to do the job properly.

    If you can get this done, you will now have a good, working drive installed in the MacBook, and your old drive will be "in your hands". You can protect it this way, so that the important data on it is not over-written during the recovery process...
     
  5. leon01 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    #5
    Yes, I know I should have a backup. All I can do on that point now is the walk of shame, and as you say, learn from my mistake. :(

    I have an external drive, I have a LaCie External Drive which is large enough. I should be able to follow your instructions using that? If you think not, and I should go for a USB3/Sata docking station with a new, fresh hard drive, let me know and I'll head down that route. I'd just rather not spend more cash right now if I can avoid it.
     
  6. anushian macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2013
    #6
    try installing the MacDrive app in Windows. You can get a free trial here: http://www.mediafour.com/products/macdrive

    or you can also try HFSExplorer. Its a free software that works like MacDrive does in case the trial does not let you do what you need to do. you can find it here: http://download.cnet.com/HFSExplorer/9241-2248_4-12777585.html?messageID=10884602

    then see if you can access the mac drive (your Drive E) from windows. if so, great. copy your important data somewhere else and then proceed to fix the mac paritition in recovery.
     
  7. simonsi macrumors 601

    simonsi

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Location:
    Auckland
    #7
    If you already have a drive that is big enough use that but you won't be able to swap it out with the drive in your mac.

    Macdrive app sound's a good option, just don't do anything that even looks like you are formatting (or repartitioning), the drive in your mac.
     
  8. leon01 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    #8
    Alright, thank you guys.

    I'll try the 'MacDrive' App suggested by 'anushian'.

    And then if there's no joy with that I'll try the steps as laid out by 'Fishrrman', using the drive I have as covered by 'simonsi'.

    I'll let you know how it goes.
     
  9. leon01 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    #9
    So, I've tried the MacDrive App and I get the same results I get from DiskWarrior. Neither of them see the mac partition as a mac partition. So, it doesn't see that there is anything to repair.

    So, now I'll proceed with steps laid out by Fishrrman.
     
  10. leon01 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    #10
    So, it seems to be doing it. Disk Utility is happy to go along and Mavericks said it's happy to install on the docked drive. It'll take a couple of hours and I'll report back.

    Thank you so far.

    Cheers, Tom
     
  11. leon01 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    #11
    Hello Fishrrman,

    So, I've now got Mavericks installed on my external hard drive. I have it plugged into my macbook and it's up and running. Could you please let me know the next step in trying to recover this hdd.

    Thank you, Tom
     
  12. Fishrrman, Jan 15, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2014

    Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #12
    [[ I've now got Mavericks installed on my external hard drive. I have it plugged into my macbook and it's up and running. Could you please let me know the next step in trying to recover this hdd. ]]

    OK, here are some things to try.
    Everything that follows assumes you are booting the MacBook from the external drive.
    Also, at this point there may be more than one "direction to go"...

    Before going further, what do you HAVE on the external drive?
    Do you have copies of all the important stuff on it? Or....?

    It's important that as you proceed, you be very careful to avoid anything that could over-write the data on the damaged drive.

    First thing I would try is launch Disk Utility, and run the "repair" option on each of the partitions you see (representing your internal drive).
    The "very topmost" line you see represents the physical drive itself
    All the "sub-lines" underneath (slightly indented) represent the logical partitions ON the drive.

    There's a good chance you tried this already, but it's something that should always be tried first.

    There is an app out there called "Disk Warrior" that is the premier software for repairing Mac drive directories. I'm not sure if it can help you or not, as it appears your [Mac] directory has been damaged to the point where it is un-mountable, and I don't have experience with DW to know whether it can repair a directory that can't be "seen on the desktop". DW is sold by Alsoft, and before you pay for it (costs about $99), you should call Alsoft and ask one of their techs if the app might be usable in such a predicament. The time and effort for the call might be worth it to you.

    What might help more is "data recovery" software. These apps are different in that they are designed to scavenge for and recover DATA rather than "fix the directory".
    Some that come to mind are:
    - DataRescue3 (possibly the best)
    - Disk Drill
    - Stellar Phoenix Data Recovery

    IMPORTANT!
    You should know how these programs work (they ALL work in roughly the same way).

    It's free to download the data recovery apps to try them out. For this reason, I suggest you download more than one (but try DataRescue first).

    Once you have the program, you launch it and "aim at" at your problem drive.
    The app then goes to work, examining the damaged drive.
    If it can find files, folders, etc., it will then present to you a list of what it finds, HOWEVER....
    It will allow you to recover ONLY ONE file.

    The whole point of going through this is, you want to see if the app will work for you before you pay the registration fee and get a code to enter.

    IF it looks like the app has a shot at recovering your data, the next step is to pay the fee, get the code, enter it, and then the app will start doing its recovery thing.

    ALSO IMPORTANT:
    If you're going to recover data, you need a "scratch drive" that will serve as the storage space for the recovery app to save files to.
    For this reason, YOU ABSOLUTELY NEED ANOTHER DRIVE (shouting intentional).
    I know you said you didn't want to spend more money, but if you want those pictures back, you really don't have a choice now.

    I again suggest a USB3/SATA docking station, combined with a bare drive of your choice.
    I would choose a 2.5" platter-based drive, probably 1tb in size.

    You might be able to use the free space that's on your external drive, but you'll need at least as much free space as was on the Mac partition (on your MacBook) that can no longer be read.

    Having written all this, there's no guarantee that even the data recovery apps will be able to see a partition that's un-mountable. They claim to be able to do "failed partition recovery", but that's an "iffy proposition". I'm not saying don't try it, but be prepared that it may or may not work.

    Some other considerations:
    The Boot Camp (Windows) partition of the MacBook is still operable, right?
    I'm wondering if the Windows app called "SpinRite" would be able to see the failed Mac partition?
    SpinRite is supposed to be one of the best "drive apps" in existence, but it's Windows-only.
    I'm thinking that if SpinRite could at least "see" the partition -- even if it couldn't "restore" it -- that you could copy the data from it?
    I have no experience with SpinRite -- I've just heard about it, because I don't do Windows. There's supposedly a Mac version coming, but it's not here yet.

    Another thought about BootCamp:
    Again, I don't use BootCamp and have little experience with how it works.
    Perhaps other users can jump in.
    I'm wondering what could happen if you (booted from the external drive) opened BootCamp and removed the Windows partition from the MacBook? Is that even possible?
    Could this "revive" the "missing" Mac partition?
    Just a thought -- PROCEED WITH EXTREME CAUTION.

    If you can get this far, and nothing has worked, there remain "other alternatives".
    But I won't speak of them until you have "gotten this far".
     
  13. leon01 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    #13
    Thank you for your quick response.

    First, the external drive has an old back up on it from 2011. :(( I know. Apart from that it is a clean install of Mavericks and nothing else. Bootcamp is not on it.

    I open Disk Utility and I see the following hard drives:

    750.16 GB Hitachi

    When I run 'Verify' on this disk I received the following:

    Verifying partition map for “Hitachi HTS547575A9E384 Media”
    Checking prerequisites
    Checking the partition list
    Checking for an EFI system partition
    Checking the EFI system partition’s size
    Checking the EFI system partition’s file system
    Checking all HFS data partition loader spaces
    Checking booter partitions
    Checking booter partition disk0s3
    Checking file system
    Checking Journaled HFS Plus volume.
    Checking extents overflow file.
    Checking catalog file.
    Checking multi-linked files.
    Checking catalog hierarchy.
    Checking extended attributes file.
    Checking volume bitmap.
    Checking volume information.
    The volume Recovery HD appears to be OK.
    Checking Core Storage Physical Volume partitions
    The partition map appears to be OK

    I ran 'Repair' on it too, just in case, but it also said everything was okay. Didn't see any problems.

    Next was the problem drive 'disc0s2'. I ran 'Verify' and received the following:

    Verifying volume “disk0s2”
    Checking file system
    Checking Journaled HFS Plus volume.
    Invalid B-tree node size
    The volume could not be verified completely.
    Error: This disk needs to be repaired. Click Repair Disk.


    Disk Utility soptted verifying "disc0s2"

    This disk needs to be repaired. Click Repair Disk.

    So, I ran 'Repair Disk' and received the following:

    Verify and Repair volume “disk0s2”
    Checking file system
    Checking Journaled HFS Plus volume.
    Invalid B-tree node size
    The volume could not be verified completely.
    Volume repair complete.
    Updating boot support partitions for the volume as required.
    Error: Disk Utility can’t repair this disk. Back up as many of your files as possible, reformat the disk, and restore your backed-up files.

    Disk Utility stopped repairing "disk0s2"

    The bootcamp partition it won't let me verify, I guess as it's windows and so a different operating system Disk Utility doesn't recognise.

    I tried Disk Warrior, I borrowed it from a friend who used it a few months ago and had good results. When I run it it simply doesn't recognise the drive. It doesn't even see it as existing.

    I've downloaded the demo version of DataRescue3 and it will not allow me to do a Quick Scan of the drive as it doesn't recognise it. It suggested I run a Deep Scan. So, I have started running a Deep Scan. It says it will take 4 hours to run. So, I'll have to wait and see what it finds and then I'll take it from there.

    In the meantime I'm taking a look at a new HDD to get.

    I'll get back to you as soon as DataRescue3 finishes.

    Thanks again, Tom
     
  14. leon01 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    #14
    So I ran the demo version of Data Rescue 3 and it seems to have found just about everything. I can't be sure right now. It did a scan and found loads and loads. Which is great news!! But there are so many files it's hard to know where to look.

    So, now I've paid the 99 dollars for it and I'm now cloning the hard drive as the next step. When that's done I'll take a thorough look and see what I can find.

    Thank you again Fishrrman!!! Very much appreciated over here!!

    Cheers, Tom
     
  15. disasterdrone macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2013
    #15
    $99 isn't a bad price to pay for the knowledge that you really need a decent backup strategy. ;)
     
  16. simonsi macrumors 601

    simonsi

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Location:
    Auckland
    #16
    Yep - it could have been much worse...hope the files all come through ok...
     
  17. giffut macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2003
    Location:
    Germany
    #17
    Data Rescue ...

    ... is the best recovery tool for the Mac, it saved me a couple of times already.

    I recommend you use an online backup service like Crashplan, too. It backups your files on the fly, so you always have that last resort handy.

    I also would underline not using bootcamps on Macs. You are much more versatile in using Windows as a virtual machine via software like VMWare, Parallels (both paid apps) or VirtualBox (free).
     
  18. leon01 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 4, 2012
    #18
    So, I left the computer overnight cloning the hard drive just in case. So, that's done.

    Now I've run it to recover the files from the deep scan and from there I'll look and see what I have. It says it will be another 4 to 5 hours to recover them to my hard drive. So, when it's done I'll have a look and see what's there.

    I'm feeling optimistic. Let's hope it's justified. :)

    Thanks everyone!
     
  19. leon01 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    #19
    And I've just ordered a USB/SATA 3 connection and a 1TB SSHD from Seagate. So Fishrrman, you'll be happy that I listened.

    Feeling poor. :(
     
  20. leon01 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    #20
    All done

    So all is good!! The clone of the hard drive worked. The scan of the hard drive worked. Extracting the files from the scan of the hard drive worked. So, now I've reformatted the Mac portion of my HDD and reinstalled OS Mavericks. I downloaded iPhotos, copied and replaced the iPhoto library from the recovered files to the new one. When I launched iPhoto it saw my new library, updated the thumbnails, etc., and was all happy to move ahead. I copied and replaced my iTunes Folder and iTunes is more than happy to accept my old iTunes folder and use that. It's great. I've recovered my documents and now I'm gradually browsing through my old hard drive to recover the bits and pieces which are important to me.

    Thanks go out to Fishrrman for his help! Couldn't have done it without your advice. And Data Rescue 3 was the program which saved me. Thanks again. Now I just need to set up a backup system. :)
     
  21. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #21
    [[ Now I just need to set up a backup system ]]

    Good that you got most everything back.

    My suggestions for a backup system:
    CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper. My preference is CCC but SuperDuper is a good app as well.

    CCC is free to download and use for 30 days. It will create a BOOTABLE cloned backup of your source drive (internal drive). That means if you get into an "I can't boot!" situation, all you do is connect your backup and boot from it, and -- everything will be there in front of you, in "plain ol' finder format", ready to use.

    CCC can even "dupe" the recovery partition for you.
    It has the ability to "archive" old files, preserving older versions (as would "Time Machine"). I've never bothered with this, I want my backup to be nothing more and nothing less than how my "source volume" exists at the moment. But the feature is there if you wish to use it.

    For the most important stuff, such as old pics, you also need some kind of "off-site" backup.
    It could be a "cloud backup" (which I've never tried). I've never really trusted "the cloud", myself.
    It could be a portable external drive that you keep stored "somewhere else" (safe deposit box, home of a friend or relative, etc.).
    I found a weather-resistant flash drive of sufficient size. I've encrypted it and just keep it my car.
    The idea is to protect your data from a house fire, theft, etc. (I realize the car could be stolen, but that's what the encryption is for)

    ANY kind of backup, is better than no backup at all!
     

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