Topic: Imac data
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Old September 22nd, 2019, 06:56 PM
Buzz Buzz is offline
Cyber Tech Help Moderator
Join Date: Sep 2000
O/S: MacOS
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 4,005
Actually... I've never encountered an HDD that was "rebuildable" without destroying some data. So it really depends on WHAT data you want.

If it's stuff like email or user data, rebuilding anything will most likely destroy that.

If it's files, such as Word docs, photos, etc.. rebuilding typically won't harm those. IF it's done correctly. Of course, wiping the drive to reinstall an OS will destroy everything.

BUT.. being "bootable" and being a viable drive are two entirely separate things on the Mac. Just because a drive is not bootable does not automatically mean the drive is in need of repair. A drive with no OS on it won't be bootable.. but if it's just a data drive, it could still be a good drive. The fact that there IS "recovery Partition" would indicate it has some flavor of OS 10 on the drive.

Since you see the Recovery Partition.. boot to it.....

Hold down the R key when booting up the Mac. It should boot to the Recovery partition and then you can use Disk Utility to try and repair the file structure of the primary partition. (Sometimes you need to hold Command+R .. depends upon the model and keyboard.)

You can also hold down the Option/Alt key when booting.. this will show you all available boot drives/partitions... use teh arrow keys to move to a drive/partitiona dn hit Enter/Return to boot to that drive/partition.

Also.. the "?" could mean something as simple as the OS which is on the drive is not compatible with the firmware of the Mac you are trying to use. i.e. drive has OS 10.4 on it, but the Mac requires OS 10.5 to boot.. or the mac is not capable of supporting OS 10.

In many instances you can reinstall the same OS over the existing OS... i.e. install 10.4.3 over 10.4.3 -- there will generally repair the OS file structure and retain as much as possible.

If you have an old mac around, I'd boot that Mac normally and connect the drive as an external, via USB, a Dock, or something. THAT will tell you far more than anything else. Even if the OS is incompatible, if the drive is good, it'll mount -- and you cna then pull data from it.

I can't really venture into how to salvage anything using a 'Doze/'nix system. it's never been my thing.

On my Macs I've had great success with Stellar Phoenix. I don't know if they offer a free trial or not, I think they might.. at least to scan and see what may recoverable. Be aware, depending upon drive size the scan can take days.. 500GB isn't that bad though. It's when you hit 3+TB that it's sloooooooow.

There are things you can do with a Mac and the drive connected externally if that's a possibility. I don't want to go into all of that if it's simply not an option.
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