Mac Mini hard drive failing? Steps to recover for a PC guru / Mac novice
Posted on 2011-10-25
Greetings mac gurus!
I have a client with a failed Mac Mini and while I have extensive experience supporting PCs, I have virtually none with Apples (because they never break, right?) :)
Here's what happened: My client fired a disgruntled employee. That person took the Mac Mini home claiming he wanted data off of it. When my client found out he immediately had the unit retrieved utilizing law enforcement. Now the Mini won't boot! My 1st thought was sabotage but apparently the guy who took it has been desperate to access the unit after it was taken back to "retrieve his personal data" so that seems unlikely that he would damage it on purpose (unless his request is to cover his tracks). My client is pretty convinced the guy didn't damage it. However it was moved from place to place several times. Maybe it got dropped or bumped.
Anyway, drama aside, it now just gives the spinning circle or wheel of death. I tried going into recovery or repair mode (following a guide online) and it did load into something where I was able to select an option to check and repair the disk but that didn't do anything. No error messages that I can recall. It just scanned and did nothing.
Normally with a PC I would just rip out the drive and plug it into an external enclosure and see if it is detectable on another PC and then retrieve data off it (if it's failing).
However, since it's a Mac, I have no clue what to do. I did pull the drive (which was not fun) and hook it up to my PC and the BIOS detects it. I then ran MacDrive Standard trial version which also sees the drive but doesn't display. It has a repair option but it just freezes when I try it.
Any ideas? What is the proper procedure on a Mac to diagnose a failed / failing drive and/or retrieve data off it? And to make this extra challenging for the gurus, what is said procedure without having access to another Mac?! Plenty of PC and Linux boxes at my disposal and an iPad2, but alas, no Macs...
I guess in theory I could put a new drive in the Mac Mini and reinstall the Mac OS and then try to hook this drive up externally? Reeeeeeally hoping to avoid that in the short term. I just want to tell the client if his data is pooched or not but I'm not sure how to proceed.
It's a newer model Mac Mini. Maybe a year old? The hard drive is a 320GB Toshiba.
Thanks for your help