A friend came over with her 20″ Imac that did not boot anymore – hard drive problems. Macs can be started up in Target Mode, where you essentially turn the computer into an external Firewire hard drive.
I hooked the broken 20″ Imac up to our 20″ Imac (yes, I have pictures, two of those side by side is a sight!), booted the broken one in Target Mode, and it showed up on the other Imac. Well, almost – only one partition showed up, and unfortunately it was the OS X Install partition, just 5 GB out of the 250GB drive.
I used Disk Utility to try to mount the other 240+GB partition that holds all the data, but it just didn’t do anything. A quick try on the command line showed ‘Incorrect super block’. Uh-oh. The man page for the fsck command shows that you can repair this kind of problem by telling fsck to look at another superblock, for instance like this:
fsck -b 32 /dev/disk2s3
That didn’t work either, I got a nice prompt:
BAD SUPER BLOCK: MAGIC NUMBER WRONG
LOOK FOR ALTERNATE SUPERBLOCKS? [yn]
Telling it to do that yielded nothing.
At this point I was starting to fear the worst. I figured I’d hook the machine up to my trusty Ubuntu laptop to see if I could repair the partition.
So I connected the broken Imac – in target mode – to my Ubuntu laptop. And icons for all three partitions on the drive popped up on the desktop. It just worked. Plug and play. And those are hfs+ partitions!
I copied the data off the drive without problems, and the backup DVDs are being burned as I write this post.
Ubuntu Dapper Drake rocks. I propose a new slogan:
Dapper Drake. It just works.
If you find this post because you have a corrupted hfs+ partition, just download the Dapper Drake live CD, boot a PC or Mac with it (it won’t install anything, it can run off the CD), and see if it helps you recover the corrupted partition. What have you got to loose? Just try it. And have a look at Ubuntu while you’re at it. You might like it