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macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 22, 2010
United Kingdom
So, 2011 MacBook Pro with SSD and mechanical drives fitted, OSX on SSD and random dump of files on the mechanical drive. Main board has failed so can no longer boot. I’m awaiting delivery of a new M1 Air so on arrival what will be the best way to retrieve files from the dead machine?

if I buy an external hard drive caddy will I be able to access the files for my user on the old drive or will they be locked?


macrumors 68030
Dec 10, 2002
Was file vault enabled? Otherwise any SATA drive should work without trouble with the correct adapter.


macrumors 68010
Aug 27, 2015
on the land line mr. smith.
You should be able to grab data with any external SATA dock as mentioned, assuming you have the password. Go ahead and pull the drive. If the logic board is dead, no reason not to pull the drive. Instructions here, be sure you get the right one for your model (there are several 2011 MBP models).

Lots of docks available, one like this is very flexible.
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macrumors 6502
Apr 8, 2020
Remove them from the dead MBP and put them in enclosures, then when you have the data moved to where you want it you will have extra data storage or for backups.

I like this one:
because it has a full size USB-A connector on the enclosure, does not accidentally unplug like some of the others. You can get a USB-A to USB-C cord. I've bought these to put the drive in when unpgrading MBP's to an SSD.

I have one of these:
Aluminum case with plastic insert and a USB-C cable. I bit more expensive but ready to plug into your new MBA.
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macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
Agree with justashooter above.

Get the Sabrent USB3 enclosure.
You can also find it here:

Did you install any of the internal drives yourself?
Then, you know how to remove them.

If you DIDN'T install them, it's easy to remove them.
You'll need a Phillips #00 driver and a TORX T-6 drive to "take the bosses" off the side of the drive after you take it out. Go to to see the replacement guide.

Then, when you have your new MB, put the drives into the enclosure, connect it to the USBc port, and see what happens next.

TIP for moving files from an old account to a new one:
1. Connect drive and let icon appear on the desktop
2. Click ONE TIME on the icon to select it and bring up "get info" (command-i)
3. At the bottom of get info click the lock icon and enter your NEW password (that you're using on the new MB)
4. Put a checkmark into "ignore ownership on this volume" (sharing & permissions)
5. Close get info.
Now you can copy stuff from the external drive, and whatever you copy will "come under the ownership" of your NEW account. This avoids "permissions problems".
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macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 22, 2010
United Kingdom
Cheers all. I did install them myself so no bother removing them, I just wasn’t sure about the permissions. Once the new machine arrives I’ll give it a go!
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