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How to Restore from recovered data from a dead hard drive

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Mark GVA

Member Since: Apr 03, 2009
Posts: 6
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Right...story started just over a week ago when I dropped it...only from about a foot off the floor, but it killed the hard drive. Took it to Apple & got a new one fitted, but they weren't willing to try & extract the data off of the old one.

Did a restore from the back-up on an external drive, last one was end of lost loads of stuff Top it off my jailbroken iPhone froze up, so had to restore that, again from the January back-up off of the laptop.

Been out over the weekend & picked up a SATA to USB adaptor & managed to get the old hard drive working - just about. The external hard drive with the back-ups was almost full, so dumped the data onto another external drive. Hard to do it folder by folder, when I tried the whole Macintosh HD folder I got errors bout certain files not being able to copy.

Tried to do a restore from this external hard drive, but as it wasn't set up as the Time Machine back up location it wouldn't find the back-up. So thought ok, I'll replace the 'latest' back-up folder on the other hard drive, as it's mapped as the Time Machine back up drive. Managed to get it done, but now the disk will not mount. Managed to find it in Disk Utilities, & when I tried to verify the disk it was having a problem because the expected data volume was above the actual.

Managed to get the external hard drive to mount now....but how can I do a restore from the Macintosh HD folder on the dead hard drive (now on an external drive). Thought about replacing the files in one of my recent back-ups with the files from the dead HD - would that work?

Thanks for any help...
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Corbab's Avatar
Member Since: Oct 13, 2009
Posts: 306
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Mac Specs: MacBook Pro, 2.53 GHz, 4 GB DDR3, 250 GB HDD, 10.6.4

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Let me get this straight...

I'm having a little trouble understanding what exactly you've ended up with. You have an external with your "Macintosh HD" folder on it? That wouldn't be bootable, because it's missing some components of the OS that are needed to boot the computer. If it's not a Time Machine backup, I think the only way to do that would be to simply replace the Macintosh HD folder on the computer with the one on the external backup.

As it is, that could potentially create more problems. Since you got the information from a disk in questionable condition. It's more likely than not that there were damaged sectors, and those could have contained information that is important for your computer to function. Unless you went through and manually checked every file, you can't know what's damaged and not.

I would recommend just moving the files you need manually. Moving the entire Macintosh HD folder, like I said, will create more problems than it's worth. You could try moving your user folder, but that would still carry the potential for damage to necessary files.

Sorry I don't have any happier news, but I think that's the truth.

Just a stupid kid with a computer, so take my advice with a grain of salt if that makes a difference to you.
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Member Since: Jul 21, 2009
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Mac Specs: Late 2008 MBP

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I'm not sure I'm following exactly what you are trying to do... But I know from experience that if when I swapped a HD in a macbook for one in a USB external HD that I was able to then restore everything on the macbook by doing a restore from the old HD in a USB enclosure.... In that case it was was just a simple restore... I think the problem you might have isn't because of what your trying to do, but is because the HD was messed up and some data was lost.

Personally I wouldn't try to restore my computer from a damaged HD because you will never really know what was pulled off the old HD and what wasn't if you don't just do it manually. If you still have all the old software install disks I would just bite the bullet and install all the old software as before and then try to copy over the data folders. Trying to restore from a HD which you think is partially screwed up just sounds like your asking the computer gods to smite you.
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