Macbook pro crashing when external hard drive connected! Helpp

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by pridetech, Jan 5, 2015.

  1. pridetech macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2015
    Everytime I connect my external hard drive and try to enter time machine or click on the device in the finder, the loading wheel appears and doesn't go away, It doesn't open the external hard drive and I can't do any other tasks, the mac basically freezes. I've tried connecting it to a windows pc and it doesnt see it in my pc, it only finds it in the computer management. I have tried using but the program just keeps saying initializing stellar phoenix.

    I've tried for hours and hours to try to fix this with no luck. I have over 20000 photos from about 30 years of my life on there, any help would be amazing.

    The mac was brought in 2012 and has os yosemite.



    It now doesn't freeze when opening the hard drive, but instead now it will not show any files that are on the hard drive, won't let me eject the hard drive and Stellar phoenix data recovery cant find it and neither can disk utility
  2. b0fh666 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 12, 2012
    that looks bad, hope you have backups.

    if not, forensics will be your best bet to recover stuff.
  3. pridetech thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2015
    Sorry, but what is forensics?
  4. b0fh666 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 12, 2012
    companies specialized in retrieving data from dead/broken hard drives
  5. rigormortis, Jan 5, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2015

    rigormortis macrumors 68000


    Jun 11, 2009
    stuff to try

    1. switch usb cables

    2. hold drive to your ear. does it sound like its spinning up?
    -- normal spin up, okay
    -- clicking sound, drive bad
    -- not spinning or beeping -- drive bad or not enough power ( this sometimes happens when you put hybrid hard drives in usb enclosures and the usb enclosure doesn't supply the voltage the hdd needs)
    -- sometimes a drive not laying flat will cause it not to spin up. i have a drive like that.

    3. check serial number of drive with the manufacturer to see if its under warranty, you can get the serial # off the drive or with system report

    4. remove hard drive from enclosure and connect it to the computer's sata port
    and run the manufacturer's hard drive diagnostic to see if the drive has failed
    these programs are called "sea tools" or "hitachi DFT". check s.m.a.r.t. status. to check smart status, drive must be connected to a real sata port and not an enclosure. these diagnostic programs are free to download. they typically need to be burned to a cd and then booted off the cd. you will typically need a windows computer to run the programs

    5. if smart status is VERIFIED , then utilities, like "hard disk drive regenerator", "disk utility" or "disk warrior' might help

    6. if smart status indicates failure or failing, not much can be done without professional data recovery firms.

    7. as long as the drive is in an enclosure you cannot check its smart status

    8. if the hard disk is spinning up and starts to click you might get lucky and be able to retrieve data off hard disk with a BLU ICE or a BLOCK of ICE sitting on top of the hard disk. this actually happened to me when my maxtor hard disk was failing and i was agble to get half of the data off of it, before it got wet and permanently fried

    9. yosemite seems to have taken away letting us read the smart sensor from disk utility. to check the smart sensor of a hard disk, you need to connect it to a sata port, and go to about this mac, system report to read smart sensor.
  6. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    You should realize that professional data recovery firms can be VERY expensive. Expect to pay upwards of $1,000 or more to get the data back.

    Also -- I realize it hurts to find this out now, but this is why one NEVER stores PRECIOUS data in "only one place". If the photos on that drive were important to you, you should have had at least one backup, maybe two. Go forth from this day, and learn, a sadder but wiser man.

    Having said that, I was in a similar situation once, having lost a few thousand mp3 files on a partition that went bad on me. Nothing I tried could get that "lost partition" to mount up again. But I was finally able to get most of the data back, without having to resort to professional-level data recovery.

    Here is how I did it.

    First, I had an empty external drive to serve as my "scratch drive" (drive which would receive recovered files). You will have to buy one, too. I suggest you get a "bare" drive and a USB3/SATA docking station.

    I used "DataRescue" as my recovery app.
    (I see you already have Stellar Phoenix, you could try that first, or do a free download of DataRescue3 and see if that helps).

    Because the partition was corrupted, it would not "mount on the desktop", and DR couldn't "see" it. How could I get DR to recognize its presence?

    I RE-INITIALIZED the entire drive (yes, you're reading that correctly).
    HOWEVER -- and this is VERY important -- I DID NOT select to "zero out" the drive.
    If you zero-out the data, it will be UNRECOVERABLE. DO NOT DO THIS!

    I just re-initialized it, creating a new directory, but leaving the old data "intact" out there on the platters of the drive.

    Now the drive would once again mount on the desktop.
    Of course, to the finder, the drive now shows as "empty" (because it has a new directory).
    BUT -- data recovery apps are able to "bypass" the directory, and "go right to the platters" to find lost data.
    Thus, DR was able to "look around" the "empty" directory, and it spent some time scavenging the drive. It FOUND the old data, and re-assembled it and saved it to the scratch drive. Just about everything.

    Data Recovery software, because of the way it works, can find old data, but in the process of doing so it may not be able to recover file NAMES -- just the data itself. Nor will it recover previous folder hierarchies. You may be left with a pile of un-named files that you have to sort out yourself. This is "par for the course" with data recovery, and you should consider yourself happy just to get the files themselves back.

    Because you are trying to recover old pics, which have "metadata" as well as regular data, you might be able to dump the entire batch of recovered pics into iPhoto (or another photo organizing app). iPhoto will then "read the metadata" (which I believe also contains file names) and you may get some of your previous "organization" back.

    I discovered that by creating an entirely new iTunes library, I could re-organize the "lost files" back to an approximation of where they were. In some cases, I still had to manually rename files using the finder. YES, it's a lot of work. But consider the alternative.

    Finally -
    NO PROMISES regarding the above procedure -- but it worked for me on a corrupted drive when it seemed that all was lost.
    I sense the procedure above parallels what many of the "professional" data recovery outfits try first. That is, a) reinitialize and b) scavenge.
    This is "forensics" on a "software level", before "going to hardware"...

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