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  1. #1


    Member Since
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    Time Machine backup goes POOF, gone
    Hi, all. I'm not a Mac owner, I'm attempting to help a computer-timid neighbor who is. (Though in case it gets me any points here, my first computer was an Apple ][+. Which still works fine, btw, though now it's serving as a Linux terminal courtesy of App][ Kermit's VT200 emulation and a crossover serial cable, so it displays a $ prompt instead of a >.) Neighbor has a newish iMac with Lion.

    Anyway, Rebecca the neighbor has a daughter who downloaded all kinds of internet trash onto her nice clean mac and she wanted to set it back to out-of-the-box condition. Since I wanted to help Rebecca but not p.o. the daughter unnecessarily I made a major effort to preserve her files. I am not exactly a computer noob--my first Linux distro was Slackware kernel version 1.0.13 circa 1992, and I was running SysV R3.2 Unix at home before that; also I have an MCSE cert for what that's worth--but not being a Mac guy I had an Apple helpdesk tech talking to me while doing all the following. With the tech instructing me I made a full Time Machine backup of the 500 GB internal drive to a new bought-for-the-purpose 1 TB external USB HD. I verified this backup, browsed down into it, opened some of the backed-up files, etc. etc. Everything looked fine. Then I rebooted, stopped the boot before login, started up Disk Utility, reformatted the internal drive HFS+, then reinstalled OSX from some server in Apple-land. That all went successfully too. Rebecca put the USB Time Machine HD back in its box in a locked drawer of her desk. (A wooden desk btw, not much chance for random static discharges there.)

    So now it's a week later and daughter wants some of her files. The Mac now finds nothing on the Time Machine drive. Plug its power supply into 110v, connect its USB cable to the Mac, and System Information sees a HitachiGST Touro Desk 3.0 drive connected to the system. But neither Finder nor Disk Utility sees anything on it.

    Can anyone suggest anything I can try that might help locate the HFS+ filesystem I created and filled with data such a short time ago? Please be as technical as you like, if I don't understand your reply I'll RTFM until I do.

    Thanks very much!
    Jim

  2. #2

    Lifeisabeach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ysave_equ_$34 View Post
    So now it's a week later and daughter wants some of her files. The Mac now finds nothing on the Time Machine drive. Plug its power supply into 110v, connect its USB cable to the Mac, and System Information sees a HitachiGST Touro Desk 3.0 drive connected to the system. But neither Finder nor Disk Utility sees anything on it.

    Can anyone suggest anything I can try that might help locate the HSF+ filesystem I created and filled with data such a short time ago? Please be as technical as you like, if I don't understand your reply I'll RTFM until I do.
    Run Disk Utility. What does it say about the drive? Any partitions? How are they formatted? Can you post a screen cap? See link below for guide on how to take screen shots in OS X.
    Capture a Screen Shot with Mac OS X

    Using Time Machine requires an HFS+ formatted drive, so there's simply no realistic chance the Mac is just failing to see it for some reason. HFS+ is OS X's native file system. Best guess is the drive has failed, or somehow you removed the partition.

    Please verify and include the exact model/year of your Mac and OS X version number (available from "About This Mac", then "More Info" on the Apple menu).
    ------
    Links: Onyx | EasyFind | Apple Hardware Test | How to test your hard drive | The Safe Mac Adware Removal Guide | Uninstall MacKeeper
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    Lifeisabeach - Mac-Forums Member of the Month June 2009, Feb 2012, and March 2013.

  3. #3

    newscribe's Avatar
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    Hi Jim,

    That all went successfully too. Rebecca put the USB Time Machine HD back in its box in a locked drawer of her desk.
    Did you unmount the TM disk correctly prior to the above?

  4. #4


    Member Since
    Jun 26, 2013
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    Located!
    newscribe, thanks very much for your replies. Couldn't get access to this particular Mac for a couple of days, owner was away. But I did have the external drive to poke at. You were right, hardware failure. Not irrecoverable, luckily. It was not the drive itself but the external wall-wart-style power supply. Rated at 12v 1.5a (and the same info is stamped on the drive enclosure so I think they mean it) but the multimeter says it's not supplying even 1 amp, quite. Picked up a replacement supply and tried it out and there's the partition and the Time Machine backup right where it should be. I'm very glad this particular drive had an external, hence replaceable, PS and was not internally powered from the usb port. Thanks again!
    Jim

  5. #5


    Member Since
    Jun 26, 2013
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    additional thankyou
    Ahem. Thanks for your reply also, lifeisabeach. Hardware failure was your suggestion.
    Jim

  6. #6

    newscribe's Avatar
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    Hi Jim,

    That's good news pleased all is ok now

  7. #7

    dtravis7's Avatar
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    Well that was an easy fix! Some of those Wal Warts are pretty poorly made. Glad you got that sorted!

  8. #8

    Lifeisabeach's Avatar
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    Interesting. It never would have occurred to me that the power supply would be the culprit. Definitely gonna have to keep this one in mind.

    Please verify and include the exact model/year of your Mac and OS X version number (available from "About This Mac", then "More Info" on the Apple menu).
    ------
    Links: Onyx | EasyFind | Apple Hardware Test | How to test your hard drive | The Safe Mac Adware Removal Guide | Uninstall MacKeeper
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    Lifeisabeach - Mac-Forums Member of the Month June 2009, Feb 2012, and March 2013.

  9. #9

    dtravis7's Avatar
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    LB I have a Firewire/USB Western Digital external. The drive is perfect after a few years of use but one day it would not show up and the power light seemed dim. I got suspicious and checked the voltages (this one has a 5 and 12VDC Split very heavy duty looking power adapter with a 3-Wire cord). Well one voltage was WAY down so I hooked up another power supply just to test and sure enough, the drive was great again. Got another PS on Ebay and it's been running fine for 2 years now. So it does happen.

  10. #10

    Slydude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lifeisabeach View Post
    Interesting. It never would have occurred to me that the power supply would be the culprit. Definitely gonna have to keep this one in mind.
    Same here. Maybe I have a use for that multimeter after all.
    "Got Time to breathe. You got time for music." Denver Pyle as Briscoe Darling

  11. #11

    Lifeisabeach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dtravis7 View Post
    LB I have a Firewire/USB Western Digital external. The drive is perfect after a few years of use but one day it would not show up and the power light seemed dim. I got suspicious and checked the voltages (this one has a 5 and 12VDC Split very heavy duty looking power adapter with a 3-Wire cord). Well one voltage was WAY down so I hooked up another power supply just to test and sure enough, the drive was great again. Got another PS on Ebay and it's been running fine for 2 years now. So it does happen.
    That reminds me of the time a buddy of mine had recently moved into a new house. He was setting up his office and was having trouble with his flatbed scanner. It'd "try" to scan, but the wand moved very slowly. I thought it looked like it something that had a low battery, then suggested that he may have plugged in the wrong power supply. He rooted through another box and sure enough, there was what turned out to be the right one.

    Please verify and include the exact model/year of your Mac and OS X version number (available from "About This Mac", then "More Info" on the Apple menu).
    ------
    Links: Onyx | EasyFind | Apple Hardware Test | How to test your hard drive | The Safe Mac Adware Removal Guide | Uninstall MacKeeper
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    Lifeisabeach - Mac-Forums Member of the Month June 2009, Feb 2012, and March 2013.

  12. #12

    dtravis7's Avatar
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    I was in a hurry one day! I grabbed the wrong AC Adapter but it was the reverse of your friends and within a few minutes smoke started from the scanner! Oops. It was a way higher voltage but looked similar from the outside. Lesson learned!

  13. #13

    Slydude's Avatar
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    Apparently you have been to my house before Dennis. When I was in High School a neighbor brought over one of those "shoebox" cassette recorders. The cord had a short wight where the wire meets the power "brick".

    At that point I had fixed several things by cutting the cord below the break and replacing the plug. As I am sure you have guessed that was a complete failure. Complete with the obligatory small flame and puff of smoke.
    "Got Time to breathe. You got time for music." Denver Pyle as Briscoe Darling

  14. #14

    chscag's Avatar
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    That reminds me of when I was in the military... we had just deployed to Bangkok, Thailand from a US base and had all our equipment with us. We began to setup and really never checked the mains... so we plugged everything in, fans, power supplies, radios, etc. Within about 5 minutes we had major smoke everywhere. The doggone AC main power plugs in Bangkok at that time looked exactly like ours at home except... they were 220 V 50 Hz. Of course all our equipment at that time was US power only.

  15. #15

    Slydude's Avatar
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    ROTFL. That's got me beat hands down.
    "Got Time to breathe. You got time for music." Denver Pyle as Briscoe Darling

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