Trying to recover hard drive files from crashed Mac Mini

Discussion in 'macOS' started by davenet, May 14, 2012.

  1. davenet macrumors newbie

    Oct 6, 2004
    I'm working on a G4 based Mini. The motherboard has failed, video is doing weird things so I can't see the screen to do anything on that computer. The version of OS X is 10.4.8 as I recall.

    I removed the drive and connected it to another Mac via a USB adaptor. I can read the hard drive fine. However the user had a login password on her account. When I look at the user folder it shows 0 bytes size as well as showing nothing in the folder at all. For the brief moment I was able to boot the old Mini, the files were all there in tact. I should have removed the password when I was able to boot the thing.

    I also seem to be unable to boot off this drive from a newer Mac Mini. I have a Core Duo mini that I'm working with to try and recover the files. This Mini is running 10.6.8. When I try to select the external (USB) drive as the boot drive, I am not given that option in System Preferences. Nor when I boot with the Option key held down is the drive shown as available to boot from.

    Does anyone have any tips or tricks I can try?
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    You can't boot from that drive, since it is using a PPC version of Mac OS X, which does not work on Intel Macs.

    As for the access issue, you could try enabling the root user and/or check the "Ignore ownership" checkbox in the GET INFO window of the external HDD.

    Enabling and using the "root" user in Mac OS X
  3. davenet thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 6, 2004
    Thanks for the tip. I did already enable the root user and logged in as root. I got the same problem. Now logged back in as my normal account I checked the "get info" settings for "ignore ownership" and already found it checked.

    My other idea was to put the HD back in the old Mini and then access the computer remotely. Is remote access something enabled by default or would I need to get access to the video output and configure it locally? I was thinking if I could gain remote access to the old Mini I could do everything through a terminal session or VNC remote desktop from my other Mac.
  4. davenet thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 6, 2004
    Thought I'd post an update and resolution for this situation. I ran Data Rescue III on the drive and discovered a weird file in the user's profile folder. Google'd it and found it was a pointer to a hidden folder where a image file was stored. So basically it ended up this user had encrypted their home folder so that is why it was empty. It was located in another place on the hard drive. I had not ever encountered this type of setup before and the user didn't remember how it happened (apparently they chose to setup an encrypted account years ago). anyway using instructions I found via Google was able to mount the image, entered the account password and viola, all the files showed up. I did this on my Mac Mini so didn't need to boot from an external USB like I was originally trying to do.

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