7 Replies Latest reply: Oct 31, 2007 3:18 PM by Jeff Butler
Robert Lindsley Level 1 Level 1 (105 points)

So, I had a 450GB drive that was nearly full (very important data, yada yada). I plugged the drive into my G5 iMac.

Time Machine came up and asked me if I wanted to use the drive. "Sure," I said.

Time Machine then came up and asked me if I wanted to format the drive (it was an MS-DOS partition, and it needed to reformat it). "No thanks," I said.

The drive then temporarily (around 1 second) unmounted, then remounted. Now, I have one directory on the hard drive called "Backups.backupdb" and one directory under that called "iMac"

I spent about 3 hours yesterday on with tech support, who told me that they would make an appointment at the 59th st Apple store who would try to recover the data. I went to the 59th st Apple store and they said "we don't do data recovery. Why would he tell you that?" Why, indeed.

Both the Apple support person and the 'genius' told me that I 'must have hit the format button.' First off, I know I didn't. But, I actually have proof because the drive format is MS-DOS (FAT32). If I did hit format, Time Machine would have converted it to OSX Journaled.

Anyway, I'm now in the position of having to recover my own data. Does anybody have any good tips on recovering data? I'm currently trying to use Data Rescue II.

Secondly, has anybody else had this problem? My Leopard install on my G5 iMac has been a *complete disaster*. Over the weekend I spent a total of 7 hours on the phone with tech support about various problems.

Can anybody help me out?


iMac flat screen, Mac OS X (10.5)
  • BarryXSharp Level 5 Level 5 (7,880 points)
    What's in the iMac folder ?
    What does Disk Utility, for example, report as "Used:" for this 450gig HD ?
  • Robert Lindsley Level 1 Level 1 (105 points)
    There are no files in the iMac folder. Used space: 2MB

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  • PewterPirate40 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Was spotlight indexing the drive? I have an issue with a disappearing backup that Time Machine created. My backup was 79gigs last night, this morning it was about 16gigs. I noticed Spotlight was indexing the external drive all of a sudden after I turned it off two days ago and it worked with no incidents.
  • Adam Getliff Level 3 Level 3 (820 points)

    Not sure about your locality, but my LOCAL mac dealer has been very helpful in recovering data from hard drives and MUCH cheaper (free as a bought a new MacBook, but reasonable anyway) that the commercial concerns you find via Google. There are plenty of companies out there who do it for a fee - but they seem (to me) to be rather expensive.

    Good luck!

  • KurtF Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)
    I've had luck recovering data using Data Rescue II from Prosoft Engineering.


    I believe you can d/l the demo and run it, where it will tell you if it actually found the data and then if you want to buy it you can go from there.
  • Suzanne Kalbag Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Hi Robert,

    I did EXACTLY the same thing about an hour ago with all my uni work on my portable hard drive, so I know your position well!

    After a bit of searching, I found Exif Untrasher (http://www.bluem.net/downloads/exif-untrasher_en/.) It restored my hard drive and for free! (Needless to say, I donated afterwards!)

    It actually said that the procedure wasn't successful, but after running it, my files had miraculously re-appeared. I did do a copy-paste back-up straight after and will never be so quick to hit 'OK' again!

    I really hope this helps you too.
  • Jeff Butler Level 1 Level 1 (60 points)
    I would say that your data is there, and since the drive didn't crash, your chances of recovery are good. Perhaps the best option is a full time recovery service like drivesavers.com - it will cost some serious coin - but they'll get the data.

    However, since it's not a hardware failure, you should be able to find a scavenge program to find the files....Being a Fat32 volume, I'm not sure if Alsoft's Disk Warrior would work. You may try it out on a windows machine; there's got to be a good windows recovery program out there.

    It's there. Just don't mess around tooo much with it. If it's crucial - send it out.