(q) Least destructive way to save this OSX installation?

Discussion in 'OS X Yosemite (10.10)' started by Member2010, Jan 14, 2017.

  1. Member2010 macrumors regular

    Jun 28, 2013
    So, here's the deal. I'm working on this iMac that wasn't booting up all the way for somebody. It had that problem where OSX's loading bar would get about a third of the way full and then completely shut off the machine (although the recovery system boots fine). I performed a hard drive diagnostic and found that the drive was failing, so I took an image of the old drive and restored it to the new one using Macrium Reflect.

    The new hard drive passes a short and long diagnostic test, but I have the feeling that this OSX installation might be hosed, seeing as it is doing the same thing on the new drive. Common advice online says to boot from the recovery wizard and try to verify the disk and volume in the OSX Disk Utility. Predictably enough, it found problems, but the "repair" option fails every time with an error 8 of some kind. After that, I tried the "fsck" utility, but that failed too with basically the same error.

    Finally, I tried clicking the option to reinstall OSX inside of the recovery wizard, but it too always has an excuse, either saying "this disk is locked" or something about it not being "journaled". So at this point, the question is this - is there anything else that can be done at this point short of completely wiping out that disk and starting over with a clean installation? If not, how exactly can I get the documents and whatnot off of it before wiping it out, seeing as they won't mount in Windows and there's no file explorer in the OSX recovery enviroment? If it was my machine, I wouldn't care, but it's not, so I want to keep as much program and personal data intact as possible, within reason.
  2. JohnDS macrumors 65816

    Oct 25, 2015
    Macrium Reflect seems to be Windows software and I don't see anything on their site to suggest that it supports cloning a Mac drive. Certainly the cloned drive will not be bootable if it is formatted in Windows format like FAT or NTFS.

    Assuming you haven't already erased the original drive, the thing to do is to attache a new drive to the Mac by USB and booting into the recovery partition. Then use Disk Utility to format the new drive as Apple Extended Format (Journalled). Check to make sure the partition map is GUID and not MBR. If it is not GUID, click on the Partition Tab, then Options and change the partition map to GUID.

    Once you have done that, hit the Restore tab in Disk Utility and do a Restore with the original internal drive as the source and the new external drive as the target.

    Presuming this completes, you will want to test the clone. To do this, reboot while holding down the option (alt) key to bring up the boot picker and choose the external drive with the USB icon as the boot drive. It will take a long time to boot over USB. Once you are satisfied that the new drive is bootable, you can reboot into the recovery mode. This time re-initialize the internal boot partition as Apple Extended Format (Journalled) and use Restore to clone the external back to the boot partition of the internal.
  3. Member2010 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 28, 2013
    Drives are drives. The disk cloned successfully, but unfortunately, whatever files were missing that prevented the computer from booting up before did not make it over. As far as I can tell, the image is worthless.

    I went ahead and clean installed OSX on the new drive using a USB image. With the old hard drive hooked up to a USB SATA adapter, the old drive gives the same (unrepairable) errors in the disk utility, along with nothing showing up under "available". Clicking "mount" yields a "could not be mounted" error. Given this, I have to assume that the original disk is as worthless as the image. Looks like all of this computer's owner's data is going to be a loss unfortunately.
  4. JohnDS macrumors 65816

    Oct 25, 2015
    If you are getting an error message the disk is not "journaled", it sounds like is not formatted for a Mac. Macs cannot install an OS on or boot from a drive formatted in a windows format like FAT32, ExFat or NTFS. It can only boot from a disk that is formatted as Apple Extended Format (Journalled).

    Did you format the drive to that format before cloning? If not and you not and did a file by file clone, it will not work.

    What does Disk Utility show as being the format of the disk? Also does it show the partition map as "GUID". Again, Macs need a "GUID" partition map. The PC MBR partition map will not work.
  5. SuperKerem macrumors 6502a


    Oct 29, 2012
    United Kingdom
    Install a fresh copy of OS X on a new drive. Mount the filesystem of the drive that won't boot (as an external drive) and copy over all user files to the new installation of OS X.
  6. Member2010 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 28, 2013
    That's just how the original disk was. It's water under the bridge now, as I just steamrolled over the restored content and clean installed OSX. Now, all that remains is the original hard drive and the image of that drive - both outside of the computer, and both seemingly corrupt, (with the exception of the recovery volume - that was still bootable) unless my USB SATA adapter is bad.

    Yeah. It was an image-based clone done in Macrium Reflect. As far as I can tell, it was 100% faithful to the source material, down to the same boot problem on the main volume and the funked-up images in the recovery wizard.

  7. bcave098 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 6, 2015
    Northern British Columbia
    Sounds like professional data recovery is their only option.
  8. JohnDS macrumors 65816

    Oct 25, 2015
    Even if the partition won't mount you may be able to recover the data with DataRescue: https://www.prosofteng.com/data-rescue-recovery-software/

    I believe they have a free trial which will give you a list of recoverable files and allow you to recover one file as proof that it works. Then you have to pay for registration number to recover the rest.

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