Recover deleted partition on Macbook

Posted on 2014-07-17
Last Modified: 2014-07-19
Hello, one of my customers completely deleted the system partition on his Macbook while trying to create a Windows Dual Boot. He deleted the wrong partition while installing Windows I think.

Since I have very little experience with Apple computers (as in, VERY little), can anybody advise me some possible way (if any) to recover data from that partition, or dare I hope the whole partition? Any software which may help?

Question by:Daniele Brunengo
    LVL 34

    Accepted Solution

    If Windows was installed on the partition that Mac was previously on then recovery may not be 100%
    Mac Undelete Software: EaseUS
    LVL 14

    Assisted Solution

    I haven't used either of these, but I found Disk Drill (

    Also, this blog post outlines a solution using free tools:

    Just a warning, the more that is done to the drive the less your chance of recovery, especially if you're writing or deleting files.

    It looks like accidentally wiping your mac drive when installing boot camp might not be uncommon. I found a couple of forum posts on it including
    LVL 34

    Expert Comment

    I forgot to mention that if the Mac OS has been deleted and overwritten with Windows OS as suggested in the info. given, then the Hard Drive will need to be removed and then connected to another PC to run any recovery softwares...
    The fact that Windows OS has overwritten the Mac partition / OS makes recovery very unlikely...
    You may be able to recover some files that Windows did not overwrite.

    If the Mac had a recovery partition or recovery backup  ??? then recovery that way is recommended.

    Good luck.

    Author Comment

    by:Daniele Brunengo
    Thanks. The partition was partially overwritten by Windows, then he understood the mistake and stopped. I will try some of these methods tomorrow and post back.
    LVL 53

    Assisted Solution

    If he realized his mistake after deleting the partition, but before installing anything on it, you have a good chance of recovering the partition data us DataRescue III:

    If you buy the boxed version, it will come with a bootable CD and you can recover the data to an external USB drive.

    If you cant wait for the boxed version, you need to have a Mac bootable USB external to boot the Mac from and you can download DataRescue to the external drive.

    Your other alternative, if you have a second Mac, is to use Target Disk Mode which allows you to connect two Macs using a firewire or thunderbolt cable and allows the one Mac (the one you erased) to appear as an external drive to the other Mac. You can then use DataRescue from the working Mac to recover data from the other Mac. See Target Disk Mode:
    LVL 34

    Expert Comment

    I need to clarify after your updated post "The partition was partially overwritten by Windows, then he understood the mistake and stopped"

    Depending on how much was overwitten will outcome the recovery results.

    Do not install any recovery software on that drive and also do not write anything onto it as the more you change this drive the more data will be qverwritten.

    Remove the drive and try suggested recovery software from another Mac.
    LVL 39

    Assisted Solution

    Data Rescue or Stellar Phoenix Data Recovery programs which are designed for OSX .. MAY be able to recover some files but reformatting the drive from OSX to NTFS for Windows and commencing the install will have critically overwritten a lot of important sectors on the Hard Drive.

    There is no chance of a full recovery and partial recovery of some documents and images is probably the best you can hope for.  If the data on the drive was highly valuable a commercial data recovery company might have more success recovering more files than using the standard software as outlined above but is will cost several hundred $$ if the drive has tens of GB of data to scan and attempt to recover.

    Author Comment

    by:Daniele Brunengo
    Thanks guys, I've tried most of your suggestions but there was little to do. The customer has reached acceptance I guess, he told me to let it go, didn't want to spend more money. I will share points among you all.

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