Mac HD Data Recovery
February 7, 2008 1:38 PM   Subscribe

Ahhh! My Mac crapped out! Can anyone recommend a good data recovery company that is dependable but won't charge me an arm and a leg to retrieve my files? I really hope so. I have a lot of photos and files that I would be SO distraught over losing. MY MORALE IS IN YOUR HANDS!!!

The computer itself is working fine, but it no longer recognizes the hard drive. I tried placing the hard-disk into several different machines,but they all gave to same result: no disk detected. I also used a different hard drive on my machine and it worked fine, so the hard drive is definitely the problem.
posted by lukeklein to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Where are you?
posted by lpsguy at 1:39 PM on February 7, 2008

Response by poster: Riverside, California. East of Orange County and South of L.A.
posted by lukeklein at 1:42 PM on February 7, 2008

first thing i would do is STOP trying to power up the drive. most data recovery places tell you not to mess with it because if the drive is spinning up and the head is touching a platter it'll ruin any chance of recovering the data.

unfortunately data recovery isn't cheap. ive known a few people to have excellent luck with Drive Savers but they're not cheap.

good luck.
posted by hummercash at 1:51 PM on February 7, 2008

I can't speak to their data recovery services, since I didn't need that, but MacService is in San Jose, and they're speedy and nice. They ship you a box, you send them your computer, they fix it, and send it back. The ground shipping is free.
posted by rtha at 1:53 PM on February 7, 2008


I have used CBL in the past. 'No Data, No Charge Guarantee'

web link: CBL
posted by pildor at 1:55 PM on February 7, 2008

When you say no longer recognizes, do you mean it no longer shows up on the desktop? Or that it doesn't even show up in disk utility? What about in System Profiler?
posted by NucleophilicAttack at 2:00 PM on February 7, 2008

Gillware. See my post here.
posted by matildaben at 2:10 PM on February 7, 2008

Pete Laubach, professional Mac genius: (949) 951-1159. Nicest guy you'll ever meet.
posted by Brocktoon at 2:13 PM on February 7, 2008

Response by poster: NucleophilicAttack: Whenever I power up, the only screen I get is a gray screen and a computer icon with a question mark in it. It's as if i took out the hard drive all together and tried to start it up. Nada.
posted by lukeklein at 2:36 PM on February 7, 2008

For DIY data recovery, Data Rescue II has a good reputation for dealing with dead drives. But my Macbook suffered a similar fate last week (after only 6 months, and ironically on the same day that I ordered an external HD for backups). But in my case, Disk Utility did not even see the internal HD, and so neither did Data Resue II.

Also after reading this, I'm wondering if Apple didn't take enough care in newer intel macbook design in order to prevent HD overheating or to insulate from movement/shock. I still have a fully functional 7 year old G3 powerbook, but my new one crapped out in 6 months :(
posted by p3t3 at 2:53 PM on February 7, 2008

Two thoughts: #1 - When I faced a similar situation and thought my HD was beyond hope, I bought a copy of Disk Warrior and was shocked that it managed to find the drive and repair it. Disk Warrior comes on a bootable CD. If Disk Warrior can't fix your HD, then yeah, you'll need to hire someone for a serious recovery job. On the other hand, ten minutes with Disk Warrior had my HD good as new.

#2: since I never wanted to experience that sort of fear again, I bought an external drive and an awesome piece of automatic backup software called SuperDuper! Every night, SuperDuper clones either my Mac HD or my iTunes HD. It's pretty much set it and forget it software.

Best of luck to you!
posted by 2oh1 at 3:00 PM on February 7, 2008

I've always had great success with FileSalvage. I've used it to recover both my own data and customer data. They provide a free demo of the software that will show you what can be recovered before buying. If you find what you need, purchase the program and recover your lost data. In many cases it's been able to recover data from hard drives other programs can't recognize (drives that won't mount or are starting to die).

FileSalvage Data Recovery Software
posted by MacJunkie at 12:01 PM on February 8, 2008

Check out this Lifehacker article I mentioned to you earlier, though I'm not sure if the directions therein pertain to all computers, or exclusively to PCs. At any rate, there's some info in this comment that seems to suggest a solution for macs.

More to the point, however, are these links1:
Macworld: Use your Ipod as a Startup Drive
Lifehacker's Top 10 Free Computer System Recovery Tools
DasBoot! [via]

After you've solved your current hard-drive issues, you should:
• Buy an external hard-drive (I have a LaCie 320G external, and it works really well.)
• Check out SuperDuper! to clone your hard-drive onto your external hard-drive (You can find detailed directions on how to accomplish this here).

1 Most, if not all, of these links are via Lifehacker, so my apologies in advance - I am working with a very limited knowledge of technology, and tend to frequent that site for advice.

Also, If any of these work for you, I expect a full home-cooked meal with all the trimmings, and much prostration on your part.

posted by numinous at 3:00 PM on February 12, 2008

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