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Accessing start-up disk via an external enclosure

#1 User is offline   Vulch 

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 11:24 AM

Hi All,
Wonder if someone can help me with this. I would like to access an old start-up disk, which was removed from a PPC G5 a few years ago during an HD upgrade (I'm looking for some lost photos in iPhoto which appear to have not been backed up to Time Machine prior to the switch). The MAC OS on it would be whatever the last version of Mac OS was for the non-Intel chipset.

I installed the drive into an external enclosure, and it appears to spin up fine, for when connected to my current Mac running Mac 10.6.7 I get the attached message saying the drive is unreadable, and would I like to re-initialize it.

Now I expected this, as it’s a start-up disk. But I thought if I hold down the Option key at start-up I would get the option of starting up from the external drive, thereby accessing the old iPhoto library and hopefully my missing photos. But the drive doesn’t appear as an option when I do this.

I have tried on my Mac Pro and a Mac Mini, but get the same result. I cant get either PC to start-up from it but both can 'see' it as both ask me would I like to re-initialize it.

Is the older OS on the drive the problem, and not compatible with the new motherboards, or something? Does anyone know how I might start-up from this drive on my current hardware, or access the files on it by any other means?

Cheers
Vulch
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#2 User is offline   mickdevlin 

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 04:13 PM

It should just connect as per any other external drive. I'm surprised that it didn't work. You won't be able to get it to boot your Macs as it is set up to look for PPC/G5 hardware that (obviously) isn't present.

A possible solution is to find someone with the same version of the OS that you had on the G5 and see if it connects to their machine. It's a long shot, but it may be your only solution.
Mick
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#3 User is offline   Vulch 

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 04:24 PM

Thanks, you probably confirmed what I suspected, which is that the disk is looking for the pre-intel processor hardware to start-up, and not finding it. The only option the current OS is giving me is eject, erase, or initialize.

I may post the question more widely, as there must be some way of accessing the files which still reside on the disk, hiding behind the old OS.

cheers
Vince
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#4 User is offline   Dylstra 

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 05:46 PM

Have you investigated the disk through Disk Utility? It might give you more information about how your Mac is seeing it.
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#5 User is offline   speedy 

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 09:02 PM

It should mount fine on an intel Mac. The only difference would be the partition layout would be the older default Apple Partition Map used for PPC and not the new default GUID Partition Table used on intel macs.

Some suggestions.

Connect the disk to a Mac running tiger.
Boot from a tiger DVD & see if you can use disk utility to make an image of the drive which you should then be able to mount on leopard.
A utility like SuperDuper or Carbon Copy Cloner may be able to read the disk.
Google for "mount apple partition map drive on snow leopard"

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#6 User is offline   Vulch 

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 12:15 AM

Thanks all. Having a look at Disk U was a good thought. I did that, and the disk appeared in the list but under the name of the enclosure it is in (not 'Macintosh HD' as I would
expect). It showed the capacity but not much else. I also couldn't do anything to the drive: couldn't mount or run disk first aid. The only option not greyed out was erase.

I'll try Speedy's suggestions, though i don't have access to any Mac running Tiger. That's the key barrier to accessing this drive for me.
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#7 User is offline   Dylstra 

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 06:01 AM

Good luck! :)
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#8 User is offline   Ben_ 

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 01:20 PM

Snow Leopard should definitely mount the Apple Partition Map partition without any problems. Some sites even say that you can in fact boot from them but I was under the impression that you couldn't from an intel mac.

So you say that the drive itself appears in Disk Utility but your Macintosh HD partition is not visible; if you click on the drive, can you click the repair button? What about repair permissions? It is possible that there is some corruption or permissions problem that is preventing your Snow Leopard mac from seeing the partition.
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#9 User is offline   Vulch 

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 02:36 PM

View PostBen_, on 23 May 2011 - 01:20 PM, said:

Snow Leopard should definitely mount the Apple Partition Map partition without any problems. Some sites even say that you can in fact boot from them but I was under the impression that you couldn't from an intel mac.

So you say that the drive itself appears in Disk Utility but your Macintosh HD partition is not visible; if you click on the drive, can you click the repair button? What about repair permissions? It is possible that there is some corruption or permissions problem that is preventing your Snow Leopard mac from seeing the partition.


Thanks Ben. Yep i reckon I cant boot into an intel machine from a start-up disk that was written on a PPC.

When I was viewing it in Disk Ut the repair disk permissions and repair buttons were greyed out. So I suspect there is no way of accessing the disk unless i can find a PPC mac to boot the disk into to.

cheers Vulch.
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#10 User is offline   Ben_ 

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 02:27 PM

Yeah, if the options are greyed out then Disk Utility has determined that it can't repair the volume. As you say, your best bet would be to try to find a PPC mac, running the newest os you can find and try to repair the disk from Disk Utility on that machine. Failing that, you could try something more hardcore like Disk Warrior or TechTool but it probably isn't worth buying one of these just to do this.
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