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Need to open a hard disk on a Mac

Posted on 2016-10-30
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Last Modified: 2016-10-31
I have an old external hard drive where I put the label "password fails" a few years ago. When I enter a password that's clearly wrong, the click Unlock, the window shake side to side. When I enter the probable password, the pw window changes, the vanishes.

The disk could have been formatted with Windows, but I am not sure about that.

The I use Mac El Capitan currently, but have access to a Windows 7 machine.

Do I have any options?

Thanks
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Question by:newbieweb
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Expert Comment

by:Jackie Man
ID: 41866713
Can you post a photo of the hard-disk and give more details on brand and model?

Password can mean software or hardware encryption or just a software lock. If it is hardware one, you are out of luck for sure.
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Expert Comment

by:Davis McCarn
ID: 41866731
How is it listed in DISKMGMT.MSC on the Windows PC?
It should show as having a partition and a partition type.
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Expert Comment

by:dlethe
ID: 41866744
If this is the native SATA security unlock password that locks the drive from the BIOS then you could have a bigger problem.

The unlock mechanism is clearly working, but your HDD could have had a catastrophic media failure that renders all data unreadable.

I would confirm that the disk is even readable by ..
1. unlock the drive.
2. leave power on (because power-off locks the hardware mechanism, as long as unlocked drive stays powered, then it doesn't matter what O/S uses the drive).
3. Boot the system to LINUX, or attach the drive to a LINUX machine, and then run one of the freebie partition managers.  See if it can read the disk and report partitioning information.  If it sees partitions then the TYPE of partition will tell you how it is partitioned.  If you see NTFS then clearly it is windows formatted.  If you see no partitions or read errors, then you are screwed.  (If you move  it to another system, then that is fine, just make sure it stays powered up)
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Author Comment

by:newbieweb
ID: 41866840
I opened Windows to tried to connect the drive, but found every password I tried caused the password window to shake side-to-side.

Attached is the pop-up about the drive...

Seagate GoFlex
Seagate GoFlex
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Accepted Solution

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Jackie Man earned 250 total points
ID: 41866876
I have just read the manual of your hard-disk.

If it is used to be connected to a Mac, the hard-disk should have a docking unit which has a LAN interface and it serves as a time machine for Mac.

So, if you connect the hard-disk to a windows pc, it is unlikely that it will accept any password.

The whole hard-disk can be reset and the password be wiped but all data inside will be gone.
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Author Comment

by:newbieweb
ID: 41866880
I can connect it to the Mac, no problem. But I do not need the drive, I need what's ON the drive.

How do I use the LAN interface?

Will that skip the password check? I do not think I used whole disk encryption at the time...
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Assisted Solution

by:Jackie Man
Jackie Man earned 250 total points
ID: 41866912
SmartWebShortcut

Do you find the app above installed when it connect the hard-disk to a Mac?

If yes, try the following.

Start Finder, browse to Applications > GoFlex Home Desktop Applications, and
then launch SmartWebShortcut.
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Assisted Solution

by:Davis McCarn
Davis McCarn earned 125 total points
ID: 41866913
Can you please run DISKMGMT.MSC and post what shows in disk management? (It will be there even if the password is wrong!)
And, BTW, the password was probably set in the Freeagent software.  If you think that is wrong, what was used to set the password on the drive and on what PC?
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Assisted Solution

by:Jackie Man
Jackie Man earned 250 total points
ID: 41866925
Then, you will be prompted for user name and password.

Have a look of the attached manual for details.

Also do not try to format the hard-disk in windows as it will erase everything on it.
ug-goflex-home-us.pdf
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Author Comment

by:newbieweb
ID: 41867020
I ran DISKMGMT.MSC from Windows and here is the view...

DISKMGMT.MSC
Also, from the Mac, I found no applications folder:

Applications > GoFlex Home Desktop Applications

Could this be the problem?

Shall I install this?
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Assisted Solution

by:dlethe
dlethe earned 125 total points
ID: 41867040
Those are not NTFS, FAT, FAT16, or FAT32 partitions.  So they just aren't going to be readable from windows w/o some special software.

You have established at least that the disk is not dead, and no longer locked.   If you boot your system to linux (you can install linux on a USB stick ... check out pendrive.com) then you can run the partition manager and see what type of partition (i.e. extfs2, extfs3, or whatever) and likely mount it).  

Since you have a mac, you could at least see what the data looks like easily enough.  run the terminal application

sudo mount   [this will show you mount points, let's assume it is /dev/disk2]
strings /dev/disk2 [lists text strings .. CTRL-C after a few secs as data will scroll by quickly, this is a sanity check to see what the data looks like, or if there IS any data on it]

above will let you see ascii strings on the raw device, so you can see what is there.  if you don't see any strings then chances are good it was blown away, or reformatted at one time and doesn't have any data..
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Author Comment

by:newbieweb
ID: 41867050
here is the result of sudo mount:

/dev/disk1 on / (hfs, local, journaled)
devfs on /dev (devfs, local, nobrowse)
map -hosts on /net (autofs, nosuid, automounted, nobrowse)
map auto_home on /home (autofs, automounted, nobrowse)
localhost:/Hb_CjrBq3RM7gPFRGJ_Pjt on /Volumes/MobileBackups (mtmfs, nosuid, read-only, nobrowse)
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Assisted Solution

by:Jackie Man
Jackie Man earned 250 total points
ID: 41867144
the result of sudo mount indicates that the hard-disk has been used as a time machine.
A psssword has been created to use when connecting Time Machine to GoFlex Home. The password
must be at least six characters long and must include one number. Passwords are case-
sensit
Refer to page 26 of the user manual in my previous comment for details.
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LVL 47

Assisted Solution

by:dlethe
dlethe earned 125 total points
ID: 41867153
if you don't know the password for a time machine backup, then you will NEVER be able to get to the backup.
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LVL 43

Assisted Solution

by:Davis McCarn
Davis McCarn earned 125 total points
ID: 41867273
What happened to the original Mac or OS X installation that the Seagate was used on?
In DISKMGMT, if you right-click on the 911GB partition and choose properties, I think it will, at least, show that it is HFS+ which will clearly identify it as formatted for the Mac.
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Author Closing Comment

by:newbieweb
ID: 41867378
thanks
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