It's best to stop messing with the mac & take it to a specialist.
You should run off of an external hd. Firewire for ppc.
Boot in safe mode. Hold down the shift key when powering on the machine. This will run a disk repair program. Boot up will take longer as the harddrive is scanned and repaired.
See this article:
Or from mrtotes article :
Boot from the OS X Install disk and from the Menu Bar choose Disk Utility. Then run "Repair Disk" and "Repair Disk Permissions" on your hard disk.
Here the apple article on booting single user mode and using fsck. See the section on Use fsck:
Perhaps Disk Warrior will be of some help:
"Stellar Phoenix Macintosh - Mac data recovery software, recovers data from damaged, deleted, or corrupted volumes and even from initialized disks."
They have a trial version, so I guess you can see if your data can be recovered...
"Data Rescue II is the best data recovery software on the market for recovering files from a problem hard drive. Data Rescue II works when other tools fail. Data Rescue II is also completely safe to use since it does not attempt any risky repairs to the drive while its scanning."
FileSalvage is an extremely powerful Macintosh application for exploring and recovering deleted files from a drive or volume. FileSalvage is designed to restore files that have:
-- been accidentally deleted.
-- become unreadable due to media faults.
-- been stored on a drive before it was re-initialized/formatted.
"TestDisk is a free data recovery utility. It was primarily designed to help recover lost data storage partitions and/or make non-booting disks bootable again when these symptoms are caused by faulty software, certain types of viruses or human error (such as accidentally erasing a partition table)."
"*Hard drive data recovery and warranty implications*
Hard drives that have become non-functional through normal use, and have had data recovery performed on them by DriveSavers or Ontrack Data Recovery can be returned to Apple for warranty service. This includes products covered by the AppleCare Protection Plan. The cost of any data recovery attempts is not covered by the Apple Limited Warranty."
mac data recovery
into Google will list some firms who specialize in recovering data. Data recovery isn't cheap.
1) Ontrack Data Recovery is the world leader in data recovery services and data recovery software offering the fastest, most convenient and cost-effective solutions to clients who have experienced data loss.
2) Enter the world of DriveSavers Data Recovery…
* Data Recovery Tools
* Data Recovery Process
* Data Recovery Cleanroom
"Encryption: DriveSavers engineers have been trained and certified by leading encryption vendors, such as GuardianEdge, Utimaco Safeguard, PGP and PointSec, to safely recover file-level and disk-level encrypted data"
List of recovery software tried:
I also have faced this situation of photo loss while transferring them from my camera to Mac OS. From someone, I heard about Photo recovery software. This tools works very well on Mac system and believe me i got my all pictures back. Demo version of tool is available if you want to make a try...
For refrence http://www.flash-video-soft.com/blog/?p=1331