Recovering data from a crashed Macbook

Posted on Posted in Stories

Two days ago my Macbook failed to startup and I later realized that the hard disk had seized to function. So, to save time for others, I’m sharing my experience with the steps how to save your previous files.

If you are consistently unable to startup your Macbook after 10 minutes or more, consider doing the suggested steps below:

1.) Restart your Macbook and press Apple-V. This will startup your machine in verify mode where start-up sequence is shown on screen. Alternatively, you can try Apple-S for single user mode. If you see message like “unable to read fs block…”, this means that you have bad sectors on your drive.

2.)  If you are unable to proceed due to read failure, try booting from the installation CD. Insert the OSX installation CD, and use “Disk Utility” to diagnose the problem. You may try the “Repair Disk” option and see if that solves your problem.

3.) If the “Repair Disk” failed, try starting up using Target Mode. You will need an extra machine with a firewire cable to do this. See for more details. Once target mode is setup, try accessing your drive and proceed to step #7 on how to extract corrupted data.

4.) If target mode failed to read your drive, or you simply don’t have the tools (extra machine, or firewire cable), pull out your hard drive and put it into an HDD enclosure. An HDD enclosure will convert your hard drive into an external drive. You can then plug this enclosure on another machine so you can extract files from it. Proceed to step #7 on how to extract corrupted data.

5.) If you don’t have an extra machine, buy another hard drive. If you have reached this point without successfully recovering your system, you most likely encountered a hardware failure already. So, you’ll have to get a new drive anyway.

6.) Install a new copy of OSX on your machine, and configure everything accordingly. This will be your new home. Once completed, your next concern is how to recover the files from the old drive.

7.) If you are able to access the drive from Finder, then simply copy the files to a new drive.

8.) If you are unable to see the drive from Finder, try using “Disk Utility” again. If you are able to see your drive from Disk Utility, try using a data restoration software. In my case, I used “Data Rescue II”. Initial scans on the drive didn’t show any files for restoration. However, after trying the thorough scan, the files appeared. Thorough scan takes a while to finish, it took me about 4 hours to scan an entire drive of 120Gb. Once you have the file, restore them to your desired location.

That’s it. I hope you won’t need these tips but just in case you do, hope you find these recovering data tips useful.

6 thoughts on “Recovering data from a crashed Macbook

  1. Allan, I cannot open a file that I have been working on for months. I’ve saved it the same way, and this morning it says it can’t be opened; may be corrupted, truncated or in the wrong format. How can I even retrieve this document to try and fix the problem? HELP

  2. try to boot an winxp cd then press R to repair… then in cmd mode choose the directory you want to repair then type chkdsk /R then exit to reboot the OS .. just joking lol..

    hope allan will reply here for your concerns:)

  3. Thanks very much for your interesting post. I have been looking for such message for a really long time. Not all your content is completely easy to understand to me, but it is definitely interesting and worth reading.

  4. This is the best article by far about Apple data Recovery I came across, and the way I liked it other users will like it too. Keep up the good writing and sharing your thoughts with us.

  5. Hi, Allan

    The hard drive of your system can crash anytime. And when it is crashed, the data they contain may be gone. Thus backing up the precious information of your system is significant.

    But there are times when it is not crashed entirely. At that time, you can easily perform the PC data recovery or you can simply manage to squeeze enough life out of it in order to extract your data and save it in some other location.

    It is obvious that you will look around to hire professional assistance from experts to get the job done right.

    But you have to pay also according to the damage and time devoted for the recovery of data…

    Well, your post is just like a savior for those who cannot afford much on the data recovery process…

    Thank you for sharing this post and the simple steps to retrieve data by your own efforts…

    Good Share!!

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