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I'm not very experienced with Macs, so please pardon my mistakes. I'm assisting a coworker with a client of ours who recently let go of one of their employees, and in the resulting meeting the person deleted all their documents & threw the laptop onto the floor, cracking the screen and likely damaging the hard drive.

The Mac appears to boot normally, and boots into a profile like normal, but we have no documents of any kind to access. My worker tried MacKeeper, but after running for over a day it crashed. Edit: MacKeeper disappeared because my coworker uninstalled it & deleted it, so I removed this part of the paragraph.

In any case, for Mac OS all I'm seeing for data recovery is paid software. I was hoping to be able to inspect the file system and/or attempt recovery in Parted Magic, or run TestDisk/PhotoRec on it, but I cannot boot to Hiren's on this computer (which doesn't surprise me). Is there a Mac equivalent to Hiren's I could look into?

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There should be a way of recovering the data if the profile/system can load successfully. I use Data Rescue 3 (tried but NOT affiliated with the company/developer) which recovers files directly from the hard drive and is actually quite good.

I believe Data Rescue 3 (link here) has a free trial and also a paid version, although it is quite expensive.

Can you access system files or any documents you have created at all?

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I'm able to get onto the Mac OS system profile with no issues. It has no documents, but as I discovered the mackeeper program had disappeared due to my coworker uninstalling it, at least there is no longer a concern about the file system losing things at random. So essentially we're going to have to tell our client the only option is paid software? If that's all we can do that's unfortunate. Thanks for the recommendations. – Daniel Jul 27 '12 at 22:34
@Daniel - I believe paid software is the only way, however there might be some free solutions online for data recovery which I have missed. If the hard drive is damaged, the data recovery process might be more difficult. – AruAkise Jul 28 '12 at 6:14

I would take out the HDD, which is quite easy with a Mac laptop and put it into a case to be plugged in to another mac. If you purchased MacKeeper you can re-download it anytime and also you can use it to get advise direct from their techs online 24/7 (see the info on the r/h side of the screen when MacKeeper is running. Also see if Time Machine (an auto backup) program has been running on the Mac. Time machine can take you back to any previous data and re-install it. My reply may be too late to help you, but good luck anyway. Perhaps you could update your post to let peeps know how you got on.

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