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Recover files from a MAC G5 that will not boot

Posted on 2010-11-12
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-10
I have a MAC G5 that will not boot and the user would like to get all the user files recovered from this drive.

If the drive is not physically bad I would like to connect the hard drive up to a USB to SATA harneess that I use all the time when I recover Windows based hard drives that will not boot etc..

My question is:  
I assume I would want to connect this USB to SATA hard drive to another MAC OS X system (I could have access to 10.4 (Tiger) and possibly 10.5 Leopard systems.  Once I do this, how would I go about finding the files and copying them.   Can I see the hard drive attached via USB to SATA cable like I do in my Windows recovery work I do?  Where would I go to view the hard drives files etc.. Can I just copy the files to local MAC (then burn to DVD).

I have done a bit of work on MACs (Leopard to Snow Leopard updates, RAM updgrades etc. but do mostly Windows work in past).

Also, do you know if I were to connect a MAC G5's system hard drive to a windows 7 (XP or Vista System) with a SATA to USB adaptor is there a way to recover files?  I assume I have to conect to MAC system as desribed above but I am not sure...

Question by:rdwolf
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LVL 47

Accepted Solution

David earned 500 total points
ID: 34120040
The file system is not NTFS.   I would get a freebie like clonezilla which can be used to do a bit-level copy of a disk drive to another HDD if you have a desire to have a copy of the data.   Then the clone disk can be used to hook to another mac, and you are free to send the HDD on the broken system back to somebody who can fix the whole thing and not worry about losing data.

If your desire is to have a file-system copy, and not a binary image, then I would just plug the disk into another mac (use the external USB enclosure), mount it, then you could configure that mac to export the entire drive as a NFS share, then you could mount the NFS share from windows as a M:\ drive.

But understand the ACL stuff isn't the same, there are hidden files, you could also have some partitions, so using windows as an intermediate solution will "lose" some data in the translation.    I would personally just do a binary image of that disk and lt them keep that whole disk as the copy and plug it into their replacement mac.

Assisted Solution

by:Parrish Chamberlain
Parrish Chamberlain earned 500 total points
ID: 34120061
Ther are three optins here:

A) using a sata dock with usb on another mac will work (If the drive is not fully corrupted), if it does not mount automatically you will nedd to run disk utility tooll and perform a verify.  What will happen is the disk will mount on the desktop and you can open the disk and copy relevent files and user data by navigating.  The files can be copied either to the host Mac shared folder or to a windows PC/Server on a network by using AFP or SMB to connect using (Apple Key +K) (Ie SMB://microsoft/sharea or AFP://Microsoft/sharea.  If you have a windows shared folder on a PC that is networked you can use the smb option to copy the files over.

B) If the disk was from an intel based OSX mac ghen you can use your dock n a windows PC and the drive should mount, alternativly use a virtual PC program such as virtual box to load Mac OSX then connect the hdd through the virtual PC.

C) This website also offers a program that allows you to open a Mac drive on a Windows based PC

good luck
LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 34120437
For the record, #B is a violation of Apple's licensing.  OSX is only licensed for use on Apple hardware.   However, you can run virtualbox under OSX, or parallels, or vmware, and create a windows VM, and the windows VM will have access to the entire HDD if you set it up, so then you could effectively mount the mac volume and put it on an ActiveDirectory network.

(But you still would not get same permissions, and will lose some things from NTFS side. The only correct thing that insures a proper & complete copy is to make a binary image and use the copy on a Mac.

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LVL 53

Assisted Solution

strung earned 500 total points
ID: 34123193
Trying to recover the drive to a PC is asking for trouble.

If you put the drive into an external USB case and attach it to a Mac, the drive should show up as an additional volume on that Mac's desktop.
LVL 12

Assisted Solution

nxnw earned 500 total points
ID: 34123567
Very often there is a very easy way to access the hard drive from a mac that will not boot. Unless the computer is completely dead, you may be able to start it up in Target Disk mode and have full access to the hard drive from another mac. See the following for simple instructions: http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1661

Further, if the user has a replacement machine, there is an application (part of the standard OS install) called migration assistant that will copy over all of the users files, settings, mail, applications - pretty much everything except for the old OS and older copies of Apple applications that are already on the new machine. You can use migration assistant to do this while in target disk mode.

I will echo the above comments re using a windows machine as an intermediary. Don't do it. The mac uses a different file system and, although many files will copy over fine, many others will lose attributes that NTFS does not support, and will be corrupted.

Finally, since this just takes a second,
- if the computer is turning on but crashing or freezing during bootup, try holding down the shift key during bootup;
- if it seems to be dead, try resetting the SMC: http://support.apple.com/kb/ht3964

Expert Comment

ID: 34126927
Leave the drive in the mac and boot in Target mode by pressing and holding T when you boot up.  Connect a firewire cable to another Mac and copy the files like it were a Firewire LaCie drive.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 34235972
Thanks for all the solutions.  I ended up just using a USB harness to another Mac and just copying the files over.  THis worked fine.

The other solutoins were also helpful as well.

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