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  1. #1


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    Need complete re-install... Can I recover files before wiping?
    I have a 13" MacBook 120G hard drive, 2G memory, running Snow Leopard.

    My computer randomly took a crap the other day and I have tried everything. I can't boot in safe mode. Sometimes I can get to the login screen which will loop a few times and eventually take me to my desktop. Problem is, my entire desktop doesn't load and I can't get into finder windows. Also, the status indicator tool bar (or whatever you call it) doesn't show up at all, so I can't see things like my battery indicator, WiFi, time, etc., in case this helps figure out what the problem is.

    I booted from the Install DVD and tried to repair and it told me that I needed to backup my files and completely re-install.

    So my question is, is there any way that I can access my files from the Install DVD area that I was in when I ran the disk utility? I cannot get to them by booting my hard drive.

    I'm a moron and didn't have my files backed up. I don't care about the music and whatnot but I have design files and pictures that would be devastating to lose.

    Any help is forever appreciated.

    p.s. I'm also going out to buy a Time Machine once I have this all cleaned up.

  2. #2

    RavingMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lindsay View Post
    I have a 13" MacBook 120G hard drive, 2G memory, running Snow Leopard.

    My computer randomly took a crap the other day and I have tried everything. I can't boot in safe mode. Sometimes I can get to the login screen which will loop a few times and eventually take me to my desktop. Problem is, my entire desktop doesn't load and I can't get into finder windows. Also, the status indicator tool bar (or whatever you call it) doesn't show up at all, so I can't see things like my battery indicator, WiFi, time, etc., in case this helps figure out what the problem is.

    I booted from the Install DVD and tried to repair and it told me that I needed to backup my files and completely re-install.

    So my question is, is there any way that I can access my files from the Install DVD area that I was in when I ran the disk utility? I cannot get to them by booting my hard drive.

    I'm a moron and didn't have my files backed up. I don't care about the music and whatnot but I have design files and pictures that would be devastating to lose.

    Any help is forever appreciated.

    p.s. I'm also going out to buy a Time Machine once I have this all cleaned up.
    I won't go into the obvious that you should already have a backup. You say you cannot get to your files when booting from the HD, can you access them when booting from your Snow Leopard DVD?

    EDIT: It's early and my coffee hasn't totally kicked in yet. Just reread your post. You can install/reinstall the OS without Erase your files shouldn't be touched. Best to backup first anyway if you can.
    I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .

  3. #3


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    That's what I'm asking... I don't know how to do that.

  4. #4

    RavingMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lindsay View Post
    That's what I'm asking... I don't know how to do that.
    Do you have access to another Mac?
    If so, you can connect the two by FireWire cable and boot the MacBook in Target mode.
    I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .

  5. #5


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    I do have an external hard drive. So it seems to me that this is possible, I just didn't know the actual steps involved to complete the task. I think I have it figured out now.

    Thanks.

  6. #6

    RavingMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lindsay View Post
    I do have an external hard drive. So it seems to me that this is possible, I just didn't know the actual steps involved to complete the task. I think I have it figured out now.

    Thanks.
    Great, glad it worked out. Sorry for being slow on the uptake but my brain doesn't adjust well to DST any more and the coffee doesn't seem to be helping much this morning.

    BTW: reccommend you take a look at Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper. Both are highly recommended for backup with advantage you can make your backup fully bootable.
    I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .

  7. #7


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    Well I kept getting errors in everything I tried (figures) so ultimately I went out and bought a new external hard drive (didn't want to have to format the boyfriend's) and loaded OS X to it, worked perfectly. Now I can copy all of my files over and then do a clean install of OS X on my MacBook. And on the plus side, I went from 120G hard drive space to 1.5 T

    Thanks for the help!

  8. #8

    RavingMac's Avatar
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    You're welcome. And, welcome to the Forums BTW
    I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .

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