Recovering from a mechanical HDD failure

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by TaterSalad, Apr 25, 2011.

  1. TaterSalad macrumors member

    Aug 7, 2007
    My sister's Macbook HDD is failing. Unfortunately, she has no redundancy whatsoever. I haven't been able to run any S.M.A.R.T tests or other diagnostics just yet. I have only been able to remote into it breifly. In the short time I was in, I did see several I/O errors in the console among sporatic problems. She has had this Macbook for about 3.5 years and tots this thing around everywhere. I'd say there is a 90% chance that she's having a mechanical problem in her HDD. I've told her to turn it off until I can get to it. Some how the computer still boots up, but accessing certain (often large) files will give you I/O errors.

    So I guess my question is, what do you guys think the best approach to recovery? There are a few high priority files like documents, photos, and an iPhone backup image. (Her iPhone also died the same week. When she tried to restore her phone from the iPhone backup file, she got I/O errors and couldn't restore her iPhone data. But that's another issue.) Everything is else not a big loss.

    Because her hard drive is still bootable, I assume it will be mountable in a Linux environment. Macs use the HFS filesystem, which shouldnt be a problem to handle.

    I'm thinking I should probably mount the drive in my linux box, and try to copy the data to a good drive. Then when certain data cannot be read, possibliy use a data recovery software to retry the read until it gets a good read?

    Any recommendations for data recovery software? Or pointers on good practice and methodology for mechanical hard drive failures?

  2. JRoDDz macrumors 68000


    Jul 2, 2009
    Remove the drive, and use a sata to usb or ide to usb (depending on the drive) adapter. Then try to read it on another mac or your linux box and backup the data files.
  3. TaterSalad thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 7, 2007
    I realize I can do that. I even mentioned that was part of my plan. But the problem arises when you run into unreadable data. These mechanical failures will be present despite the OS or hardware adapters. So I am wondering if anyone has any software recommendations? Or other recommendations to try?

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