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If the broken Mac won't run, you'll have to pull the drive and mount it in a Firewire or USB external case. Then, presuming that the drive is good, you should be able to get all the files from it.
(If it's just the screen on the Mac that's bad and it has Firewire you may still be able to start it up in Target Disk Mode and get it to mount the drive on your other Mac.)
Yes it is very possible to do what you want. People do it everyday.
Hopefully you have not allowed the "i" Programs, Photo and tunes, to import all your image and music files into their database file structure and they are saved to separate folders of your choosing on your old drive.
But in any event what you will need is a SATA to USB adapter and you will need to eremove the old drive from the Mac that does not work anymore and connect it to the new Mac with that adapter. Then you can copy over anything and everything you like.
As to cleaning up the your husbands Mac and doing a fresh reinstall of OS X it would be best to know what model year it is as there was 2 models released in 2011, Early or Late 2011, and what version of OS X originally came on it.
Thank you both! I didn't use the i programs to transfer my files so I take it that's a good thing. It's not just the screen unfortunately I think it's the logic board so I assume my hard drive is still ok.
His mac is running 10.6.8 but he'll be buying a new macbook pro that will come with Lion so I'd like to install that OS instead. I searched & found these instructions
They're basically saying the same thing. He has bootcamp on it as well which I would like to delete, I'm assuming it's the same method as above but I'd be erasing the bootcamp hard drive?
Thanks again for your help & for the welcome!
IMHO it is A Very Good Thing you didn't use the "i" programs to transfer, Screw Up, you image and music files. This makes it much simpler to just Copy those over from old drive to new using the same folder/s you originally put them in. Just Copy those Folder over from old to new.
If your husband is buying a New Mac it will come with Mt Lion not Lion and as far as I know the version, the License, for the OS on new Mac's is tied to that Mac and cane not be used on any other. But that does not mean you can't Buy Mt Lion from the Mac App Store for your newly aquired 2011 MBP.
What you need to do is fairly simple.
Boot the system from the Snow Leopard install DVD disc that came with the system, that is if your husband and or you still have the original system discs, and use Disk Utility to Re-Partition the drive as One Partition. That will Wipe out all partitions and data from the drive. Then once that is done exit Disk Utility and select Reinstall Mac OS X.
To boot the system from the original SL install DVD put that disc in the DVD drive and restart the system. You can hold down the C key and it should Auto Boot from that DVD or hold down the Option key and you will get a Boot Menu screen where you would select the DVD drive as the boot source.