Recovering files from crashed macbook on external drive. How do I do it?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by thefoxes, Jun 2, 2009.

  1. thefoxes macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 17, 2009
    #1
    Hi guys,

    My macbook refuses to boot and freezes with either the blue or grey screen of death. I took my computer to the Genius Bar and the guy said my drive was dead but said I could possibly recover some of my files with an external hard drive. How exactly would I go about doing this? I've searched through posts but haven't really found anything specific. Do I go through Disk Utility or do I need a third party program like Data Rescue? He said to just boot from an external drive and then browse my old hard drive (which does show up in Disk Utility) and move things over. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. misterredman macrumors 6502a

    misterredman

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    #2
    You can install OS X from the DVDs to a external drive. Then boot by holding down the option key, selecting the new external drive as boot device. Once you replaced the internal drive I suggest to use the external as a backup.
    Once the system has loaded you should be able to access the broken HD and copy the data over to the new external one. This will only work if the filesystem can still be mounted. If it's not possible you will need a recovery program like Data rescue.

    Another thing that may not let you get the data back is if the drive doesn't spin anymore. In that case you will have to look for a professional recovery service.

    Try to avoid any unnecessary access to the broken disc, since it may damage it further.
     
  3. thefoxes thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 17, 2009
    #3
    Thank you so much for the help. I installed OS X on my external drive and booted from it, I see my old hard drive mounted so I'm copying over my stuff right now. Wouldn't this mean that the drive is actually fine and would you recommend doing a fresh reinstall of OS X on the hard drive? Thanks again!
     
  4. misterredman macrumors 6502a

    misterredman

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    #4
    Probably worth a try. Best thing would be to do some tests of the drive with a third party utility once you installed (or at least with the Apple hardware diagnostics, found on the original install discs that came with your mac).
     
  5. Jethryn Freyman macrumors 68020

    Jethryn Freyman

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2007
    Location:
    Australia
    #5
    Use Disk Utility to check the SMART status of the hard drive. Tech Tool Pro also does this, but with more detail.

    For future reference, Data Rescue 2 and Testdisk/Photorec are the best utilities for data recovery.
     
  6. misterredman macrumors 6502a

    misterredman

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    #6

    Right, just keep in mind that Disk Utility SMART check doesn't actually do any active testing, just reads the data from the SMART system on the HD. The problem often isn't recognized without active testing and the drive is erroneously reported as Verified. Is nevertheless a good starting point to determine the status of the hard drive.
    It should be better to install something like Smartmontools:

    http://smartmontools.sourceforge.net/

    although it requires a bit of terminal knowledge to use it.


    Do you know if TechTool Pro can start the SMART test (short and long)?
     
  7. Jethryn Freyman macrumors 68020

    Jethryn Freyman

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2007
    Location:
    Australia
    #7
    I think it just reads the SMART data from the hard drive. It's got quite a bit of detail though, with about 15 different fields, like spin up time, read errors, internal temperature.
     

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