Advice on Failing HDD

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The HDD of my Macbook is on its last limbs, and it absolutely will not boot. It had been embarrassingly long since my last backup, so there are quite a few things I really need to get off of it.

I managed to boot up to an external boot drive. Turns out the internal HDD mounts fine, but my system hangs every time i try to access any files/folders on it. I then run every test that DiskWarrior will offer and the hard drive passes with flying colors (although it does take 3+ hours to complete some tests). Now, I'm finally able to somewhat navigate through the file system (takes a good 20 secs to open a folder), and I can occasionally grab some data off of it very easily and quickly. Unfortunately, most of the time it copies excruciatingly slowly (a folder w/ 200mb may take 30-45 min if its not complete with normal speed). Many times it also progresses slowly for about a half an hour and just gives up and fails to copy. Trying to move large folders universally fails to copy, and I can't get SuperDuper to initiate a clone of the entire drive so that I can walk away for a long time.

At the moment I'm stuck with: copy a single moderately sized folder, walk away, check on it every 10 min or so, make sure it hasn't failed, hope it works, repeat. I'm pretty convinced that whatever damage has occurred has spared the data, but is just keeping me from pulling it off easily. DiskWarrior claims there are no significant files were damaged, and I can navigate fairly fully - so the folder structure is intact.

Does anyone have any words of wisdom or suggestions to offer? At this point, I'll try just about anything.

(Disk Utility repair disk and repair permissions all run and check out clean as well. I also ran fsck -fy, and the first time it failed w/ an I/O Error, and the second time it ran fine w/ no errors found - but trying to exit single user mode spat out a series of errors I didn't record.)
 

chscag

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The more you mess with that drive, the more likely it will fail completely. You need to get the data off there without incurring any further damage.

What I suggest is remove the drive, place it in a USB or firewire external carrier or use an adapter and extract the data that way. Of course that means you'll need a new hard drive for your machine first - or, use another working machine.

You might also be to use target mode (FW to FW from another Mac) to extract the data but that requires another Mac with FW.

Regards.
 
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Back to my old 2.2GHz C2D MB after selling my MBP and wondering what my next Mac will be :)
If your external disk that you are booting from is just USB, this is where the issue is with time copying files, esp of a near dead drive.
Booting in Firewire Target Disk Mode and using another Mac to retrieve the files is your best bet.
 
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I tried using target disk mode, but for some reason the HDD seemed to be less responsive. I plugged it into my iMac, and it does mount there, but strangely I can't navigate the file system there at all. Finder beach balls endlessly. I end up relaunching finder from the Force Quit menu, and it actually doesn't relaunch. I end up having to restart. I have no idea why it acts so differently - I would think its mounting the same either way.

I've been stuck with the external over firewire.
 
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Back to my old 2.2GHz C2D MB after selling my MBP and wondering what my next Mac will be :)
Well, I don't have any more suggestions, but I'd stop trying until someone comes up with a better solution that you may try.
If you must keep trying, start with the most crucial items that you want to move, and work your way down to least important until it totally kicks the bucket.
 

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