Save files from dead iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Dan999, Jun 30, 2014.

  1. Dan999 macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2012
    I had an iMac 2009
    its dead and i want to access my files from the hdd drive, I have removed HDD from dead mac and am trying to plug into my 2010 iMac but it won't mount, says i need to initialise ignore or eject… I can see it in disk utility but it can't repair or verify the disk…

    so my question is have I lost all data on that disk or can i recover it somehow?


  2. Jambalaya macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2013
    Perhaps the iMac died as it was the HDD which failed ? There are other threads on disk recovery.
  3. khedden macrumors member

    Jun 18, 2014
    Charleston, SC
    Sounds like the disk structure is damaged in some way. You likely need to try a third party disk recovery tool such as DiskWarrior or TechTool Pro. Unfortunately, they are not free. Good luck.
  4. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    How are you connecting it to the iMac?

    The best tool for this is a USB3/SATA docking station. They cost about $25, and will come in handy for all sorts of uses in the future.

    That said, when you connect the drive to the [new] iMac, does the drive "spin up", even though it won't mount? You should hear the platters spin inside, without too much "random noise". Just a smooth "whirrrrr".

    If you believe the drive is good "hardware-wise", there could be corruption with the disk drivers, or problems in the drive's directory that will keep it from being properly recognized and mounted.

    As mentioned above, DiskWarrior can help with damaged directories. DW is very good at what it does, but be aware that DW is a "one-trick pony", in that it works ONLY with directories and doesn't do "data recovery". DW might be able to get the directory fixed, but if that doesn't work, it can't otherwise help you "get at the data".

    For that task, you need "data recovery software" such as DataRescue3, Disk Drill, or Stellar Phoenix Data Recovery (there are a few other apps out there, as well).

    How these apps work:
    1. You download the app from the developer website
    2. You run the app in "demo mode" and "aim it" at the problem drive
    3. The app "scans" the drive sectors, gives you a report, and permits you to recover -ONE FILE- only.
    4. The pupose of step 3 is to ascertain whether the app can "get at" the drive and produce results that look like they will serve your needs.
    5. At this point, you pay the registration fee, get a code, enter it, and the app "goes to work" on the drive by scavenging every sector, re-assembling the data, which gets saved to another "scratch" drive.
    6. Be aware that you WILL lose file names and folder hierarchies. This is "par for the course" with data recovery software, but you do "get the data back".
    6a. If the data involves mp3 files, you may be able to drop them into iTunes, which will read the metadata and actually "re-assemble" the unnamed files into their proper hierarchies. This might work with iPhoto, as well, but I haven't tried that.

    Here's one last thing to try:
    I had a drive partition that went bad on me, wouldn't mount (like in your situation above).
    My solution was to RE-initialize the drive (not a misprint) into HFS+, one partition. After that, the drive mounted on the desktop (though it "showed as empty", because the old directory was completely gone and replaced with a fresh one). However, replacing the directory leaves the actual data UNTOUCHED out on the platters of the drive (see warning below). Thus, DataRescue was able to "look around" the directory, "go to the platters", and I got the files back!

    Do not, repeat DO NOT, choose to "zero out" or "securely erase" the drive. This -WILL- wipe out the drive's sectors, and make the data unrecoverable !!
    You only want to replace the directory, NOT the data !!

    This procedure worked for me when nothing else would.
    I sense this is pretty much what a lot of the professional data recovery firms (which charge big bucks for their services) try first...
  5. Dan999 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2012
    Thank You all, will try them and let you know if i get it to work

    thanks again

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