A failing or already failed Mac hard drive is a nightmarish however an inevitable course of action. That is why Apple facilitates a built-in Mac backup application called ‘Time Machine’ to keep an updated and exact copy of files from Macintosh internal hard drives.
Course of Action for data recovery on failed hard drive
Method 1: Fix the hard drive with FSCK command
You can repair Macintosh HD using a non – GUI mode on Mac OS X. To do it successfully, follow the below procedure:
(i) Make sure your Mac is turned off
(ii) Press the power button to startup the Mac and press hold the Command and S button (i.e. Command + S)
(iii) This will bring you the Single User Mode from where you can repair the Mac hard drive and access all files from it
(iv) Now, you must enter the command line – /sbin/fsck – fy
(v) Press Return (Enter)
(vi) The command line will begin analyzing your Macintosh HD volume and will return message as per the action performed
(vii) When the Mac HD is healthy, it will display the message: “The Volume (name) appears to be OK”
(viii) When FSCK repairs the damaged volume, it shows the message: “File System Was Modified”. Repeat the FSCK run again, until the file system is corrected and the message in step (vii) is displayed
Method 2: Target Disk Mode and File Recovery
Target Disk Mode is a potent method to mount and access a faulty hard drive using accessories, Tutplus which includes a Firewire or a Thunderbolt cable that connects the 2 Macs (Healthy Mac and Unhealthy Mac) for file transfer. How to connect 2 Macs using the cables?
(i) Make sure uninterrupted power supply is provided to both the Macs
(ii) Use a Firewire 800 or Firewire 400 cable to connect both the Macs through USB ports. You may also use a Thunderbolt for the same.
(iii) Start the Mac with failing/failed hard drive and immediately press the keyboard button “T”
(iv) The Mac should boot into the Firewire mode. Once it does, you will see a large Firewire icon the Mac screen
(v) On a healthy Mac, you will see the troubled hard drive icon showing on the Desktop. The ‘Macintosh HD’ will have a Firewire symbol mounted on its icon. In case of Thunderbolt cable, the Macintosh HD will have the Thunderbolt icon mounted onto it
(vi) Once Macintosh HD is mounted, you can perform disk repair and copy files from the hard drive to a healthy HDD or an external hard drive
Mounting, accessing and copying files from an unhealthy hard drive to a healthy disk seems to be a child’s play with Target Disk Mode facility. However, if the disk is unable to mount on the healthy Mac then it will be an impossible task to copy or recover the files from it.