I am finally getting my iMac working again after the system crash. Though I do have backups, there was some recent data that I wanted to retrieve, and as I do manual backups of the data (I know)my preference was to restore the drive as is, rather than rebuild from scratch. The simple way would have been format and then resinstall my apps and data.
Initially I was able to get the drive to “appear” using Firewire Target Disk Mode using another Mac. So my first approach was to “fix” the drive using the OS X Drive Utiity. This failed and the error message wasn’t that helpful, which was format and reinstall! I could mount the drive and read the files on the iMac, but couldn’t write to the drive or delete files.
My second approach was then to clone the drive onto an external Firewire drive, however this just didn’t work, in the main as I have a large full 1TB hard drive. So I went with manually copying over the files, but as I was copying from Firewire to Firewire through an old Mac, this was slow. When Finder said it was going to take 720 days (yes days not hours) to coop over 200GB of data, I knew that this approach wasn’t going to work.
So I created a boot drive using a spare external Firewire drive and installed OS X onto that. I then booted the iMac using the external Firewire drive as the startup drive. Success, however, though when using another Mac I could see the internal drive, when booting the iMac from an external drive the OS wouldn’t let me mount or see the internal drive.
Using the Google I searched on the Disk Utility Error Messages and the response across the web was to use DiskWarrior. I was a little hesitant as I suspected now that the drive problem wasn’t file system or OS based, but was a hardware problem (based on my previous experience).
In the end I did decide to buy DiskWarrior and once installed I got it going to let it do its work.
It took a fair few minutes to get going, but alas it couldn’t fix the directory problems and confirmed that there was a hardware issue with the drive and it would need to be replaced. However it also created a temporary file structure, which allowed me to copy files off the drive onto the replacement external hard drive and importantly do this quite quickly.
I was unable to clone the drive, but as I could copy files I was able to confirm I had the most recent copies, as well as checking system files.
So at the moment I am using an external drive, I will be taking the iMac to the Apple Store as I am disappointed that the replacement drive didn’t last very long, even though I am out of AppleCare.