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Rian... Level 1 Level 1



I turned on my macbook pro yesterday to discover that it wouldn't boot past the grey screen with the apple logo.

I understand that i can re-install from the install dvd but obviously need to get a back-up of my drive before i do so. (i know, im an idiot for not backing up!! )

There are no peripheral devices and network cables connected.

Safe boot wont work.

Tryed resetting the NVRAM / PRAM.

Connecting my external hardrive and using the install DVD to access disk utility to do a back-up and restore my files hasn't worked. I firstly had to re-formatted the external hardrive to 'mac-os extended journaled' as trying to save an image of the Machintosh HD resulted in an error msg saying 'not enough' free space.

Once formatted and with 1TB free space another attempt at saving the drive as an image to my external drive resulted in an error messgae after 10 mins saying 'Input/output error. This keeps happening.

I've also tried to 'verfify disk' on both external and enternal drives and all is coming back fine.

Is there anything else i can do to retrive the contents of my macbook? The information on there is extremely important to me and i'm gutted and worn out at this point. I'm tempted to bring it for a repair at my local mac shop but worried it will cost a fortune.


Also it mite be worth mentioning that a few weeks ago i got a message saying 'start-up disk almost full' so i began clearing about 20 gig from my HD. Didn't recieve that message again. At the current time there is 6 gig free.

Also the day before this problem began, the music making software i use gave a warning saying something along the lines of 'Cannot reload from save undo history'. This program crashes on me quite frequently but always returns to where it was when it crashed after i reopen the project, but it was now saying it could no longer do that. Alarm bells were obviously ringing but i didnt have time to investigate at that time. Full of regret now!!


Any help on the matter is greatly appreciated.

Many thanks


MacBook Pro
  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10

    Hi Rian,


    Did you try Repair Disk on the Internal drive?


    I'd erase the external drive again, Install OSX on it, boot from the external by holding alt Key at bootup, then see how much data Migration Assistant can pull from the internal Drive.

  • Rian... Level 1 Level 1

    Thanks for the quick response BDAqua.

    Yeah tried the repair disk on the internal drive. I'll try installing osx to the external and trying migration assistant now.

    Mite be worth mentioning that my girlfriend has a working macbook pro, would it be a better option for me to connect to her laptop via firewire and use migration assistant that way? Is it possible this could cause any damage to her computer? Or furthur damage to my data?

    Also If this does retrive my data and i can put it on an external HD is reinstalling osx on my macbook likely to get it back up and running?


  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10

    Firewire would be better, not much chance of danger, but trying the external install & MA may be better.

  • Rian... Level 1 Level 1

    I've spoken with a guy at apple and he said it was best to 'reinstall OS X, this will not erase any data as long as you do not format the drive'.


    How do i best go about this? Really worried i will wipe my data.

  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10

    Well, eith the troubles with the internal drive, I can't really recommend reinstalling the OS to it, I'd install the OS on an external drive & see what we can recover.

  • Neville Hillyer Level 4 Level 4

    I agree with BDAqua - don't do more with the internal drive than you have to at this stage - it may be about to fail.


    I advise using Target Disk Mode (look it up on Google if necessary) so that your internal disk appears as an external disk on your girlfriend's Mac and then:


    1. copy your Users folder to either your girlfriend's Mac or the reformatted external drive
    2. copy any other data files (eg photos music etc) from elsewhere if there are any
    3. use Carbon Copy Cloner to copy your whole Mac to a disk image on the external drive


    The purpose of item 1 is to get most data quickly in case the disk fails.

  • Rian... Level 1 Level 1

    Thanks for your help everyone! Bought a firewire cable from ebay and it finally arrived today. I've connected my laptop to my Gf's and i'm able to access the harddrive using target disk mode.

    Unfortunately i cannot copy my files to my external drive thats plugged in. The files begin copying then after a few minutes i get a pop-up saying 'the finder can't complete the operation because some data in (names a file) cannot be read or written. Error code -36.

    Once i delete the file named and try again it pops up saying the same thing about a different file. Have tried to copy some importand files, mainly Wavs and i get the error code again


    Is there a way i can fix this without having to go through and delete every file that cant be read or written?

  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10

    Is the working one the same OS or higher than the Target one? If so, have you tried Repair Disk for the Target one using Disk Utility?

  • Neville Hillyer Level 4 Level 4

    Error code -36 is not good. It is an input/output error and could indicate a failing drive:



    It is a while since I used a dd command to copy a drive byte by byte to a disk image - the result was not good although I was lucky in that within the 1% of recovered files I found the few which had not been backed up.


    A better solution is to use a free utility such as ddrescue which makes several attempts to copy bad data. It is very slow but may be worth a try unless somebody has a better solution. Perhaps start by reading a few items at the following Google search:


  • Rian... Level 1 Level 1

    Thanks again BDaqua. Yeah have tried the disk repair, said all is ok.

    My gf's OS is 0.3, or .4 lower than mine. Could this be causing any problem?

    Some files are copying successfully, I've managed to copy some family photos to the external Hd. Although I still get the error message at the end.

    Any of my large folders I try copy give me the error message too although no files copy unlike my photo folder.

    I could try copy each file manually but with a music sample library that's 70 gig and has about 200,000 samples I would be there forever. Should I try a different external Hd?


    Thanks Neville I will look into ddrescue as soon as I get back from work. Hopefully that will work

  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10

    If the one doing the repairing is higher, then no problem.


    Might try the demo of Tri-Backup...



    Usually it'll copy what it can & not error out, but will show you a log at the end of what didn't happen.

  • Neville Hillyer Level 4 Level 4

    The best advice I can give is to copy what you can with the Finder as soon as possible but remember that the disk could stop working at any time.


    Work in this order:


    1. Important data not stored elsewhere - files, photos etc
    2. Important email not on a mail server
    4. Expensive software not stored elsewhere - applications, music etc
    5. User folders
    6. Free software installers
    7. Free applications and music
    8. Whole hard disk
  • Rian... Level 1 Level 1

    Managed to pull some files from the harddrive using Tri-backup. But it suddenly stopped working so i disconnected everything and went to work. I"ve just arrived home and now cannot access the hard drive at all using target disk mode. My harddrive does not show up on my gf's mac. Although the mac install dvd shows up, but no drive. I have still loads of stuff left to pull from the drive.

    Does this now mean its failed completely?

    When i turn it on and hold down T i get the target disk mode logo.

    When i turn it on and hold nothing its just a blank white screen, no apple logo.

    Holding down ALT, Command R just leaves it on the white screen

    Is there anything left i can do? Will re-installing osx mean i can use the HD again?

    Will waiting a few days and trying again increse the chance of it being accessable?

    This is a nightmare!

  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10

    It doesn't sound good at all, most likely it's dead for good, have you let it cool down when it quit & tried again?

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