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I have a 2.5" SATA hard drive on an employee's MacBook which is in a lot of pain. I can hear it trying to read when I boot and it fails without an error.

If I take this drive out and attach it to another box using a caddy what tools are there for recovering data? The tools can be on Windows or Linux (I don't have another Mac!).

I don't usually work with OSX, is there anything I need to know about the file format before I start the job?



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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Depends on the value of the data. If the data is of low value go with tools such as ddrescue, then export the image back to another mac.

If the data is valuable you should send the disk to a rescue company without trying to read out the data yourself. Additional operations on a failing hd can kill it permanently, which will significantly increase the cost of data rescue.

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+1 Though I'd say sending it to a rescue company is more for your peace of mind so that it's somebody else who breaks it rather than you. Especially if you're not sure what you're doing. – kaerast Jun 4 '10 at 12:45

From Linux you can use ddrescue.

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As Apple uses HFS+, so if your Linux kernel supports it, you can mount the system through mount -t hfsplus /dev/mydisk

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If the hard disk is physically failing then you don't want to be mounting it. You should be creating an image of the disk using low-level copying tools like ddrescue and then mounting (or otherwise working on) the image – kaerast Jun 4 '10 at 12:44
"is there anything I need to know about the file format" << I thought I'd mentioned the standard format Mac OS X is using. I already saw the post of lg where ddrescue is mentioned, so this was more like an additional answer. – Shyam Jun 4 '10 at 19:58

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