One USB - but need to boot OS DVD and attach external drive

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by kavika411, Aug 4, 2011.

  1. kavika411 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 8, 2006
    Thanks for reading. I'm having to draft and post this from my iPhone, so please excuse the brevity and any mistakes. My Air's hard drive is failing. I can not boot from the hard drive at all. I can boot from a snow leopard DVD via the external SuperDrive apple sells. From there, I can see the hard drive, and I have the option to make a disc image. However, to copy or image the hard drive I have to have a destination drive. There is only one USB port, and it is running the snow leopard boot disc. I bought a Kensington powered 4 port USB splitter, but snow leopard won't boot from that intermediary.

    I appreciate any advice. There are things on my hard drive desktop that were not backed up that I need, hence my desire to image or copy the disc. I can even see the names of the documents via Disc Utility when I boot from Snow Leopard. But from there I am stuck.

    Thank you very much for any assistance.
  2. AdrianK macrumors 68020

    Feb 19, 2011
    If you have another Mac:

    • Install Snow Leopard on a USB stick, boot from it, copy files to the usb stick/hard drive, pull the data (simplest method)

    If you have a Windows/Linux machine:
    • Install Linux (Ubuntu?) on a USB stick with a second non-HFS partition, boot from it, copy files to the usb stick/hard drive's non-HFS partition, pull the data
    • Remove the hard drive from the air, whack it in to an enclosure and pull the data (Makes sense if you're replacing the drive yourself)
    • Install Snow Leopard to another partition on the Air, or try reinstalling altogether, high chance of destroying your data though if the HDD is already dodgy
  3. kavika411, Aug 4, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2011

    kavika411 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 8, 2006
    Thank you for your quick response. I'm not the brightest with Macs and computers, so if you don't mind, could you break apart into a couple more sentences your first suggestion about using a second Mac. I can't tell if you are suggesting I somehow tie the two Macs together. Just don't understand. Can't thank you enough.

    Edit: I think I see what you are saying. As opposed to a boot DVD, which is read only, a boot USB drive is both. Will give it a shot. Thanks.
  4. CorvusCamenarum macrumors 65816


    Dec 16, 2004
    Birmingham, AL
    Repeat after me - ALWAYS back up your data.

    If you have a second Mac handy, maybe connect them via FireWire and start up the failing one in Target Disk Mode, then move your data over?

    Other than than, AdrianK's first solution seems best.
  5. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Jul 1, 2004
    It's a MacBook Air. No FireWire. ;)

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