Removing Pictures from HDD in dead Mac Mini

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by JDanger, May 25, 2019.

  1. JDanger macrumors newbie

    May 25, 2019
    Hello all, Im not sure if anyone here might be able to help me with this. My uncle had/has a Mac Mini and it died. It just wont power on anymore. He ended up getting a MacBook but asked for my help with something. Hes had the Mac Mini for years and apparently has a bunch of pictures on there and asked if I could help get them off the hard drive. I was going to remove the hard drive and try to connect it to one of my PCs (unfortunately I dont own a Mac) but before I did I asked him if the OS was password protected, and it is. What I want to know, before I even try to open it up and remove the hard drive, is if I were to remove the hard drive and connect it to my pc, would I be able to read the files and extract the pictures from the drive?

    Any help with this would be appreciated.

    If it helps, this appears to be an older model. It says model A1103
  2. casperes1996 macrumors 68040


    Jan 26, 2014
    Horsens, Denmark
    I'm not sure, but I believe there's a tool for Windows that does allow reading password protected HFS+ drives, but you can definitely not do it with just Windows.
  3. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    The "A1103" mini is a G4 model.
    Yes, if you remove the hard drive, you can connect it to a PC and retrieve files from the hard drive.

    It won't be simple...
    1. The mini's hard drive is an IDE one, not SATA, so it will be challenging to find an external case that can take a laptop-type IDE hard drive, and provide connection to a PC.
    2. The hard drive will be in a Mac format, so you will need to install something like "MacDrive" on your PC. Without a tool like that, Windows won't even see the files on the drive.
  4. treekram, May 25, 2019
    Last edited: May 25, 2019

    treekram macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2015
    Honolulu HI
    I don't see that disk-level encryption was available for the latest macOS version that could be run on the latest A1103. So the password should have been the typical login password. If that's the case, I would expect that a Windows computer with the right software would just ignore the disk permissions. But I've never done this so I can't say for sure.

    You might be better off if you connect the disk to your uncle's MacBook and copy off the files that way. Typically, you should be able to read off the tiles then. But if you can get a file listing but it doesn't allow reading of the files because of permission rules, there are ways around that. The problem here is if you want to copy it to another external disk as the MacBook (presuming this 2015 or later) has only a single USB-C port but maybe your uncle already has a USB-C dock/hub that has multiple ports? If you do connect the drive to the MacBook, you'd navigate to /Users/[Uncle's login ID] and his files should be there. (If you uncle has the MacBook Pro, there are more ports.)

    As DeltaMac said, it's not a SATA drive. I just recently bought a couple of the following adapters because I needed a SATA-USB adapter that had a separate SATA data cable and power cable. It has the IDE connectors for both the 3.5" and 2.5" drives. (2.5" drives just need the single connector, no power connector.) I just tried it out on an old HDD that came from my Apple G4 laptop and it works - although I see that I must have formatted the drive to NTFS as some point. Note that this has a USB-A port so in order to connect it to a 2015 or later MacBook, you need a USB-C / USB-A adapter.
  5. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    1. Take the drive OUT of the Mini

    2. Get one of these:,aps,136&sr=8-2-spons&psc=1

    It will enable a connection between the old internal IDE drive and the USB port on the MacBook.

    3. Connect the drive to the MacBook.

    4. Try to mount the drive on the desktop. Does your uncle remember the password?
    (If he doesn't, could be an entirely different problem)
  6. dwig macrumors 6502a

    Jan 4, 2015
    Key West FL
    The device Fishrrman links to will do the job well. It can be connected to either a Windows PC or a Mac. Connecting it to your uncle's MacBook will likely be the easiest approach as it eliminates the need to install software on the Windows PC to enable reading the HFS+ HD format.

    You may need to get a USB-A female <> USB-C adapter (simple adapter or hub) or USB-microB <> USB-C cable if the MacBook is one of the recent models with only USB-C connectors. Your uncle may already have a suitable hub.

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5 May 25, 2019