2 Replies Latest reply: Mar 27, 2012 3:34 AM by spuntyb
spuntyb Level 1 (0 points)

A couple months ago I had issues installing Lion on my MBP. Upon installing, I was not able to mount the hard drive because of multiple errors. Disk repair eventually worked, I used my Time Machine backup to restore, and got Lion installed. After the installation, I went to make another TM backup and my external hard drive was corrupted to the point where I had to wipe everything on it - not sure what happened with it. Because I had so much trouble getting Lion installed, I didn't mess with creating a new TM backup and wanted to wait until I wasn't so busy at work to attempt it. I did however create a bootable Lion USB drive for emergencies.


Long story short, the MBP froze the other day and would not boot properly. Clearing the PRAM/VRAM did not help, and when I try disk utility with the bootable USB drive, it is able to verify the drive itself, but unable to mount the startup volume. When I try to verify that volume, it stops and says to repair it. When I try to repair it, it stops and tells me the volume cannot be repaired and I need to back up my files.


However, when I go into single user mode (running fsck gives me an invalid key length error), I can see the file structure of the drive, and all of my files in read only mode. My questions is, are those files recoverable? If so, how?


Many thanks for an thoughts

MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.7)
  • Linc Davis Level 10 (192,489 points)

    You have a failing internal hard drive, or some other hardware fault in the mass-storage subsystem. You must replace the drive, or otherwise determine the cause of the fault, immediately. But first you need to back up your data, if it's still possible.


    There are several ways to back up a Mac that is unable to fully boot. You need an external hard drive to hold the backup data.


    1. Boot from your recovery partition (10.7 or later), a local Time Machine backup volume (10.7.2 or later), or your installation disc (10.6.8 or earlier.) Launch Disk Utility and follow the instructions in the support article linked below, under “Instructions for backing up to an external hard disk via Disk Utility.”


    How to back up and restore your files


    2. If you have a working Mac, and both it and the non-working Mac have FireWire ports, boot the non-working Mac in target disk mode by holding down the key combination command-T at the startup chime. Connect the two Macs with a FireWire cable. The internal drive of the machine running in target mode will mount as an external drive on the other machine. Copy the data to another drive.


    How to use and troubleshoot FireWire target disk mode


    3. If the internal drive of the non-working Mac is user-replaceable, remove it and mount it in an external enclosure or drive dock. Use another Mac to copy the data.

  • spuntyb Level 1 (0 points)

    I replaced the hard drive and still couldn't reinstall Lion, so I removed one RAM module at a time and on the second attempt, got Lion installed, so I think I had a failing drive and a bad RAM module.


    I could not make an image of the volume with DU because it kept telling me the volume was corrupt.


    It was time for an upgrade anyways. And I'll keep the old drive and bring it to a local shop for data recovery some time in the future.


    Many thanks,