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  1. #1
    Intended Boot USB creation wiped storage HD - Recovery possible?
    Hi,

    Earlier this week I used my Mac Pro to create a Boot USB so I could reinstall the OS on a separate Macbook.

    My Mac Pro has two harddrives in it. One for the OS and one for storage.

    I'm not quite sure how/where the error occurred but the result is that it seems that the storage harddrive is the one that became the boot disk.

    The storage drive has gone from the Finder favourites/devices list. It's visible in Disk Utility but named as a boot disk.

    I do have a Time Machine backup on a separate external harddrive but it's a couple of weeks old. If there's a method to recover files from my storage harddrive I may as well try it first because it would save some time.

    Is it likely to be recoverable? I'm hoping I'm not going to hear that recovery from a drive that's been made into a OS Boot disk is impossible for some reason by comparison to deleted files/failing HDs.

    I'm assuming the only approach is to find a 3rd party piece of software to do the recovery? Nothing free or pre-installed on the Mac will work?

    Thanks for the help!

  2. #2
    Intended Boot USB creation wiped storage HD - Recovery possible?
    MacInWin's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 01, 2009
    Location
    Winchester, VA
    Posts
    4,964
    Your Mac's Specs
    MBP 15" Mid 2015, iPhone XS, an iMac, plus ATVs, AWatch, MacMini
    Welcome to the forum.

    Not sure from your post exactly what is happening, but let me ask a few questions:

    What Mac, what version of the OS, what exactly did you do to create this boot USB (that apparently ended up on a different drive)? Will the storage drive mount from Disk Utility (it should, even if it's boot disk). If it will mount, you can look to see if your files are there, get them off before anything else goes on.

    At this point, the outlook for recovery isn't good, but it depends on what you actually did.
    Jake

  3. #3
    Intended Boot USB creation wiped storage HD - Recovery possible?
    ferrarr's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 21, 2012
    Location
    Pawtucket, RI, US
    Posts
    5,356
    Your Mac's Specs
    L2014 Mac mini macOS Mojave, iPhone 8+ iOS 12, 12.9" iPad Pro 1 iOS 12, Pencil 1
    You may have to erase the "storage" drive, then you might be able to restore from Time Machine.

    You should create the bootable USB drive, before proceeding. Get that out of the way.
    -- Bob --
    Please backup. Everything has a life cycle, unexpected and warning free. Nothing will last as long as you want it to.

  4. #4
    It's a 2010 Mac Pro. High Sierra.

    Exact details of the current situation are a little hazy because I'm not present with the Mac itself. The issue has been reported to me and I'm heading to its location tomorrow to take a look. I've began a thread now because I'm hoping I can go in tomorrow with a few different things planned to check.

    I've created boot disks without issue before, but it's years between each, so to create this one I followed instruction online.

    - I went down the route of downloading a version of High Sierra from the Mac Store, but cancelling the actual installation.
    - I then used a Terminal command like this = "sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Sierra.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/Untitled --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Sierra.app --nointeraction &&say Done"

    Now I find it unlikely that I've manually written the incorrect volume name. The ready-and-waiting USB was formatted and called 'Boot' so that's what I am likely to have typed in.

    - I will check the terminal history when I get in tomorrow to see whether I've managed to specify the Storage drive somehow.

    What I do know is that this attempt at creating the Boot Disk didn't work as it got stuck 'thinking' for longer than should be necessary. So I cancelled it.

    I used DiskMakerX to create the boot disk in the end.


    What I'm left with is this missing storage drive that's no longer accessible. In the Disk Utility we can see a reference to a boot disk. Which is perhaps what the Storage HD has been turned into.

    If nothing can be said or planned in response to the information above then I'll have to wait until I get in there tomorrow and can check it myself and report back.

  5. #5
    Intended Boot USB creation wiped storage HD - Recovery possible?
    MacInWin's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 01, 2009
    Location
    Winchester, VA
    Posts
    4,964
    Your Mac's Specs
    MBP 15" Mid 2015, iPhone XS, an iMac, plus ATVs, AWatch, MacMini
    OK, now I'm totally confused. You said you have worked on the machine, but that now you don't have it nearby, that the issue has been reported to you. Based on the terminal commands and from what I know about making the bootable installer drive, the USB should have been formatted and named "Untitled." That is what your Terminal command referenced. I don't know what the command does when it doesn't find the right drive, but getting hung up may well be one of the outcomes. Ditto for DiskmakerX. As I recall (It's been a while) it also expects the installer to be name "Untitled."

    Anyway, when you get closer to the system, post again what you can see with Disk Utility and if the former-Storage drive can be mounted.
    Last edited by MacInWin; 12-05-2018 at 08:09 PM.
    Jake

  6. #6
    OK, I'm actually with the Mac Pro now.

    My Terminal history looks fine. I directed the commands correctly to the USB drive.

    Regardless of how it's happened then, my storage hard drive is currently named 'Install MacOS High Sierra'. It is mountable in Disk Utility. It's not visible in the Finder Devices tab. It's only got 6gb data on it. So it is acting as a boot disk now.

    What I need to work out is whether I am able to treat this as a formatted disk and can use a recovery method to rescue files from it.

    My last Time Machine save point (to an external Harddrive which is fine) is a couple of weeks ago, so unless there's a utility in it that I don't know about, my standard rollback point isn't the first thing I'd like to try.

    It's worth spending a few hours looking at rescue options before admitting I have to go back a couple of weeks.

  7. #7
    Intended Boot USB creation wiped storage HD - Recovery possible?
    MacInWin's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 01, 2009
    Location
    Winchester, VA
    Posts
    4,964
    Your Mac's Specs
    MBP 15" Mid 2015, iPhone XS, an iMac, plus ATVs, AWatch, MacMini
    OK, the fact it has been written to, and 6GB of installer put on it is going to make rescue challenging. At this point, if you want to try, there are utilities (none cheap) to try. You can look at Data Rescue to see if it's worth trying to recover. Bear in mind that even if you recover the data, it's going to have generic names, not the names of the original files. In addition, you are likely to get lots of partial files, particularly of image files with just part of the image. That was my experience when I tried to rescue a drive. It was totally frustrating because of the lost filenames. As I recall, you also need a secondary drive because what DR does is to try to recover the files by copying what it finds to a different drive. That way the damaged drive is left intact and unchanged just in case DR doesn't work.

    And not to rub salt in the wound, but a backup plan should be frequent enough that you can "afford" to lose the files since the last backup. I do TM backups once daily, plus a clone backup twice a day. I have software that makes it automatic and happens without manual intervention, so I don't even have to think about it.

    https://www.prosofteng.com/mac-data-recovery/ is where to get Data Rescue
    Jake

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