will not boot even in safe mode

Discussion in 'iMac' started by woodworker, Oct 17, 2012.

  1. woodworker macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2012
    #1
    I cannont start in safe mode, but if I hold the "option" key after the initial noise it gives me four options: I can enter disk utility; I can get basic, non-java internet; I can reinstall the OS through Apple online (is this new in 10.8?) and there is one other option that I forget.

    When I enter Disk Utility here is the basic setup:

    -- 320.07 GB (internal) (this drive mounts and shows no errors if I "verify")
    ------ Macintosh HD (this drive will not mount; will not repair)


    -- 1 TB WD Passport (external) (mounts) (formatted to the same as the external -- journaled)
    ------- Untitled (can mount or unmount)


    both drives are GPT partition

    If I try to reinstall will it reformat my drive and erase my data?

    Since my internal HD seems really corrupted and I cannot even start in safe mode, I am trying to salvage my data.

    should I be trying to create an image with the 320 or should I be trying to restore (copy) the 320 to the 1TB?

    The fact that the Macintosh HD will not mount has me worried. I keep getting error messages trying to do both.

    What are the steps I should take to try to copy my drive? Thank you!!
     
  2. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #2
    A normal Mountain Lion reinstall will not erase data, but you have something else going on. If the Macintosh HD is greyed out that usually indicates the drive is not formatted properly or a bad drive. If it is greyed out and can't be mounted, there is no way (short of disk recovery software) to copy data from the 320GB partition.

    You could try reformatting the Macintosh HD partition and reinstalling the OS, but this will wipe out your data.
     
  3. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #3
    Can you install an OS to the external WD drive and then boot from that? If successful, then let it migrate your data off of the internal drive so that you have a external bootable drive with your apps and data safely stored.

    Now, you can try things to restore your internal drive back to normal operation. Once operational, you can restore your desktop from the external drive, and then use that drive to keep backups from now on. :)


    Good luck...


    .howard
     
  4. woodworker thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2012
    #4
    I just now got through trying to reinstall the OS through Apple's online option, but it wouldn't let me save it to my HD. I tried to save it to the 1TB external. It went through the 2 hour process of downloading and then ran into an error.

    Let's assume the drive in not reparable unless we reformat, what are my options for data recovery before I erase everything?

    Do I pull the harddrive out of my iMac and ship it to someone? Do I bring it to a local computer shop?

    It doesn't seem like software will be of much help. Someone suggested I might try to connect it to my girlfriend's MBP, but I won't see her for a couple of weeks.
     
  5. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

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    Jan 23, 2005
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    California
    #5
    You can try Data Rescue 3 or ship the drive off somewhere like this outfit (it won't be cheap).
     
  6. hfg, Oct 17, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2012

    hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #6
    Do you have another Mac you can use? If so, can you get your iMac into "Target Disk Mode" (I think it is hold "T" on boot). If it will at least go that far, you may be able to get the other Mac to pull your data files over the FireWire cable (go for your whole "user" folder if possible).


    When you tried to install the OS to the external drive, did you format it first to the proper OS X state. If it was not a specific Mac WD drive, it was probably formatted for Windows ... you need to put the GUID and OSX Extended journaled on it before installing OS X.

    Edit: If all that still doesn't work ... I would pull the drive and put it in an enclosure and use another Mac to try to recover your data from the external drive. You might even be able to swap it into your WD drive enclosure if you can get it open easily and avoid buying a cheap enclosure.


    -howard
     
  7. woodworker thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2012
    #7
    Ok. For the hell of it I tried to install the OS on my external again and it worked. After it installed, I went to Finder and it said it could not write to my internal HD, but that I could read from it so I am transferring all of my files now. Looks like it's working.

    My question now is, after I copy my files and reformat my HD, will the recovery HD still be available so that I can access downloading the OS from Apple?

    My Apple disks are several states away in a storage facility. Maybe I should try a linux distro for a few weeks (any suggestions) until I can get my Apple disks up to me.

    Thanks for all of your help.
     
  8. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #8
    If you used the installation migration assistant to pull your files off the internal drive after installing the OS X on the external drive, you should be able to boot from the external and your whole environment should be the same as it was before.

    If it is OK ....

    You can re-format your internal drive and then either use Disk Utility to "restore" your external (running) drive to the freshly formatted internal drive, or use a cloning program like CCC (Carbon Copy Cloner) to duplicate the running external drive back to the internal drive. This will avoid the tedious OS download/install and re-installation of all your apps and data since your external drive now has a working image of what you want.

    Be sure that you correctly identify the "source" and "destination" drives when copying them ... you don't want to clone your fresh empty drive back to your loaded external drive! :)


    -howard

    Oh ... yes I think the recovery partition will still be there after you format the internal drive, if not, CCC will create it for you, and I think Apple update will also create it for you.
     
  9. woodworker thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2012
    #9
    Thanks for the help.

    When I tried to install the OS to the external a second time, everything went smoothly. It was super slow to run the OS from the external, but at least it worked.

    From that point the OS recognized that the internal was damaged and needed to be reformatted, but it let me at least read the drive (it just wouldn't let me write to it) so I was able to transfer everything off.

    Reformatted and the recovery partition was still available so I downloaded the OSX through the online option (but for some reason iPhoto wasn't included)
     
  10. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #10
    Open the App Store app and make sure it is logged in with your AppleID, and you will see the iLife app in your purchases list available for re-download.
     
  11. woodworker thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2012
    #11
    no iLife in app store purchases

    Hmmmm, I logged in, but the only thing in my purchases is "OSX Mountain Lion" purchased Aug 31, 2012
     
  12. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #12
    Okay let me backup... what year is your machine? If it cam with Lion there were no iLife install disks and you had to login to the App Store to get your free copy of iLife apps. If you are logged in to the App Store under the same AppleID your originally did that on, the apps will be listed in purchases.

    If it is a pre-Lion machine the iLife apps come on the second DVD in the box.
     

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