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Damaged Harddrive (pro tips only)
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Asterax



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
Posts: 1883
Location: Maine
Damaged Harddrive (pro tips only)  Reply with quote  

I am dealing with an HD in a Apple MacBook 13.3-inch 2GHz (model number: A1181). When I boot up the MacBook, the screen is gray and does not proceed to show the Apple logo. The MacBook continues to show the gray screen for quite a while, presumably not recognizing the HD inside. The incident is actually two months old. The MacBook started do this after he plugged his iPhone into iTunes and it beach-balled and he restarted the computer. After that, the gray screen started to appear and the MacBook did not boot up. This occurred during my friend's four month stay in Habana, Cuba, so there wasn't an Apple Store there and nor could I do anything to help him myself in country either.

This situation sucks, and even though it is not my MacBook, I decided to take this on because I repair/troubleshoot/modify Apple computers on a regular basis. What's on the HD is invaluable to him, so it is invaluable to me.

Here is where I am at now: I have borrowed a 30 GB iPod and installed 10.5 onto after repartitioning the HD as an GUID partition. I am currently typing this on a version of Mac OS X booted from the iPod.

My initial is was that, maybe some of the system files are corrupted or not working, and I could access the rest of the data if I could boot the computer up from a separate source other than my friend's HD. I could circumvent the faulty system files by hitting control on startup and booting into the 30 GB iPod.

Unfortunately, I am writing this post because my friend's HD is NOT showing up on the Desktop nor is it appearing in Disk Utilities. My question: is there any other method or application that can be used to analyze, look or otherwise recover the data on this HD.

Like I said in the title, I am looking for pro tips (I'm looking at you, redbull or Shane) and not interested in responses like "i hear X could help" or "my cousin has a similar situation and i think he/she did X." Since, I am a repairperson, I have probably already thought of the generic or simple explanation. I am looking for plausible and realistic technical advice for this HD, even if that advice is: "you're fucked." My friend has been ready for that answer for the past two months. Like I said, this data is invaluable to my friend, so it is invaluable to me.

Thanks,
Phil
Post Thu Jun 11, 2009 9:11 pm
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Asterax



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
Posts: 1883
Location: Maine
 Reply with quote  

I am currently looking at using AppleJack as a possible program to analyze the HD (if that's even possible) - http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/15667/applejack
Post Thu Jun 11, 2009 9:24 pm
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redball



Joined: 12 May 2006
Posts: 6871
Location: Northern New Jersey
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I'd use a linux live cd and focus more on getting the files off than figuring out how to boot. I don't have a lot of experience recovering files on a Mac, though.
Post Thu Jun 11, 2009 9:44 pm
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box johnson



Joined: 25 Nov 2008
Posts: 1123
Location: Denver
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redball wrote:
I'd use a linux live cd and focus more on getting the files off than figuring out how to boot. I don't have a lot of experience recovering files on a Mac, though.


i've had a ton of success with this method. i would highly recommend it. you can't save the os.
Post Thu Jun 11, 2009 10:44 pm
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poisonfree



Joined: 23 Aug 2002
Posts: 1518
Location: Macramento
 Reply with quote  

redball wrote:
I'd use a linux live cd and focus more on getting the files off than figuring out how to boot. I don't have a lot of experience recovering files on a Mac, though.


knoppix ftw

put your ear to the lappy, if the HD sounds wonky then there isn't going to be much you can do, for free that is.

I have some pro tips if it has physically crashed as well, they are kind of sketchy though, but worked many times in the past.
Post Fri Jun 12, 2009 12:13 am
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Asterax



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
Posts: 1883
Location: Maine
 Reply with quote  

poisonfree wrote:
redball wrote:
I'd use a linux live cd and focus more on getting the files off than figuring out how to boot. I don't have a lot of experience recovering files on a Mac, though.


knoppix ftw

put your ear to the lappy, if the HD sounds wonky then there isn't going to be much you can do, for free that is.

I have some pro tips if it has physically crashed as well, they are kind of sketchy though, but worked many times in the past.


Yes, when I listen to the HD as it starts up, it tries to catch and start spinning, but can't. It keeps making a clicking noise then stops.

Last night I tried this method, to no avail - http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=2006110111270170

It is rather extreme, but I will go a ways to help a friend out.

What are the non-free options? Also, can someone give me a brief guide for compiling and running Live Linux? I do not have much time to mess around with it.
Post Fri Jun 12, 2009 10:15 am
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redball



Joined: 12 May 2006
Posts: 6871
Location: Northern New Jersey
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The first non-free option I would try now is to go to an apple store. I assume that you're home and have access to one.

If the drive starts up and stops it may be that the drive is fine but the controller is hosed. Buy a 2.5" external enclosure and see if you can access it on another computer.

Getting a linux live cd going is cake. Download, burn ISO, put in drive, boot. Using it may be more difficult, but it depends on what's wrong with the drive and the computer.
Post Fri Jun 12, 2009 10:34 am
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Asterax



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
Posts: 1883
Location: Maine
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Here is exactly what happens when the computer boots up: the HD spins, starts clicking for a while then completely stops. I think this is a physical problem with the HD.
Post Fri Jun 12, 2009 10:40 am
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redball



Joined: 12 May 2006
Posts: 6871
Location: Northern New Jersey
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If so then no software you try will do anything for it. I would try to recover the files for free using tools such as the live cd. If that fails then start looking up data recovery services. The platters are probably intact so it may not be that very expensive.
Post Fri Jun 12, 2009 10:43 am
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jakethesnake
guy who cried about wrestling being real


Joined: 03 Feb 2006
Posts: 6311
Location: airstrip one
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Freeze it:

http://geeksaresexy.blogspot.com/2006/01/freeze-your-hard-drive-to-recover-data.html

My boss (IT director for our company) swears by this method.
Post Fri Jun 12, 2009 10:52 am
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redball



Joined: 12 May 2006
Posts: 6871
Location: Northern New Jersey
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The link he posted was about freezing the drive. It's a hit or miss solution.
Post Fri Jun 12, 2009 10:58 am
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jakethesnake
guy who cried about wrestling being real


Joined: 03 Feb 2006
Posts: 6311
Location: airstrip one
 Reply with quote  

redball wrote:
The link he posted was about freezing the drive. It's a hit or miss solution.


Oops, my bad I didn't click it. I've got no other suggestions than what you've already done or the obvious.
Post Fri Jun 12, 2009 10:59 am
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Asterax



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
Posts: 1883
Location: Maine
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Alright, I am going down the Live Linux path right now. I am downloading Slax (http://www.slax.org/get_slax.php) for USB, however I am confused as to how I can then recover the HD booting off Linux from a USB. For example, what are some of the programs/scripts and their commands I can use to recover the HD?

I have not used Linux a few years, so this is going back for me.

Thanks,
Phil
Post Fri Jun 12, 2009 11:33 am
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redball



Joined: 12 May 2006
Posts: 6871
Location: Northern New Jersey
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The idea isn't to recover the HD, it's to get the data off. You should be able to launch an FTP session somewhere, or connect to a network share, or connect a removable drive if you can manage to get the drive to work once you're booted.

I haven't messed with slax but I think the average linux live cd has better diagnosis tools than OSX comes with (although certainly not as user friendly, obviously). The hope is that the linux drivers may recognize the drive where OSX wouldn't. It's just a hope.. but it only costs you some time, so it's not a big deal if it doesn't work.

http://lifehacker.com/192982/geek-to-live--rescue-files-with-a-boot-cd
Post Fri Jun 12, 2009 11:57 am
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Embryo



Joined: 31 Dec 2002
Posts: 6359
Location: http://www.myspace.com/pogopark
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Yeah the hard drive is boned. Step 1 is to get a new drive. The upside of this is you can probably affordably boost the total space for your friend, which will be one consolation prize if the disk and data are truly hosed.

Step 2 is to get an external enclosure or adapter so that you can plug the busted drive into the computer via USB.

Step 3 is to use Data Rescue, which I used to recover a shocking amount of data from a drive that I couldn't boot from:

http://www.prosofteng.com/index.php?datarescue

My one concern for you is that if it does not show up in Disk Utility, the drive may be too boned to recover. OTOH, Data Rescue worked really well for me when I had little hope, so... good luck.
Post Fri Jun 12, 2009 2:12 pm
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