Opening iTunes library from an unrepairable HD

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by Cavara34, Nov 26, 2016.

  1. Cavara34 macrumors member

    Aug 14, 2012
    (1) I have a MyBook which, when mounted, generates a 'macOS can't repair the disk' message. I think this is from age and/or disconnecting improperly too often. The message goes on to say that it should be backed up and reformated as soon as possible, which I intend to do, but before doing so I'm wondering if it is possible and not inadvisable to open my iTunes library which is saved to it.

    I realize no changes to iTunes can be saved to the disk, but I want to view it if possible, unless this would further damage the disk, causing me to lose data on it.

    (2) [I'll repost this elsewhere on the forum if that's better]

    Another MyBook flashes the indicator light when connected, sounds to be powering up, and then goes offline. It's evidently not dead, but is there a way to be it to mount, if only to backup the data?

    Thanks in advance for any guidance.
  2. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Feb 20, 2009
    Here are the tools you need and what to do with them:

    1. You'll need data recovery software such as DataRescue. DR is FREE to download. You then run it on the problem drive, and it will give you an estimation on whether or not it can recover the files. You then pay the registration fee, get a code, enter it, and then DR will "go to work" on the drive.
    2. You'll also need ANOTHER hard drive to serve as a "scratch drive" to receive recovered files.

    The fact that the drive seems damaged and can't be repaired may complicate things.

    I myself had a problem trying to access mp3 files on a drive partition that would no longer mount.

    This is what I did:

    First, I RE-INITIALIZED the entire drive into one partition.
    I DID NOT choose to "secure erase" the drive (i.e., "zero it out").
    Instead, just do a simple re-initialization (MAKE SURE you have UN-selected any option to secure erase).

    The reason you DO NOT want to do a secure erase is that you want ONLY to replace the drive's directory, at the same time leaving any data "out on the platters" UNtouched.

    Unless there is hardware damage, the drive should now mount back up on the desktop, but "show up" as being empty.
    This is because the directory (and ONLY the directory) has been wiped out and replaced with a fresh one.
    The data, however, is "still out there", as-yet untouched.

    The next thing to do is launch DR and "aim it" at the problem drive.
    Let DR do a "deep scan" -- it may take a while (even hours).
    TIP: Since you're looking to recover music files, you might set up DR to look only for those file types. May make things go faster.

    DR will "go around" the directory, and "go right to the platters" of the drive, scavenging and re-building what it finds.
    It will then save the recovered files to the scratch disk.

    BE AWARE that you will probably lose any previous "folder hierarchies" that existed on the drive. Also be aware that you'll probably lose all the file names.

    When DR is done, what you have won't look anything like what you may have had before. You'll probably just see a long list of "recovered file 1", etc.

    What I did (looking for recovered mp3's) was to boot from a completely new OS, open iTunes, and then "point" iTunes at the recovered files and ask it to create a COMPLETELY NEW music library from them.
    iTunes did this, and was able to read the metadata in most of the files, and recreate file names and playlists (i.e., group songs in their respective albums).

    A considerable amount of work involved.
    But it got the files back for me, when nothing else would.
  3. Cavara34 thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 14, 2012

    I appreciate this a lot, thanks. Will refer back to it when I have time to look at the drive again.

    One other question - I have another MyBook which, probably through too many improper disconnections, simply spins when connected now, but won't mount. In the past, I could get it to do so by positioning the drive in a million different ways, or manipulated the cord just so, and it would eventually connect. I can't seem to do so at all now. Is there any way to try to get it to mount just long enough to transfer the data?
  4. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Feb 20, 2009
    "In the past, I could get it to do so by positioning the drive in a million different ways, or manipulated the cord just so, and it would eventually connect. I can't seem to do so at all now."

    Sounds like a hardware problem, either with the enclosure or with the drive itself.

    Can the enclosure be opened?
    Can you get the drive out of it?
    What kind of connector does it use?
  5. Cavara34 thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 14, 2012
    Sorry for the delay in replying.

    I don't know how to properly open the enclosure or exact the drive, so I couldn't say. The connector is a USB 3.0. I just hoped there might be some way to establish a connection long enough to move the data, but I fear it will never mount again now and just continue to spin briefly before powering off.

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