I have a crashed hard drive. I had no luck with a USB to SATA using MacDrive Pro. I can get the drive to drop into shell with single user mode when I boot the drive.

Can I mount a USB drive or something to copy data off?

I tried /usr/sbin/diskutil mount but I got a framework not being available due to single-user mode.

How can I back the data up?

3 Answers 3


You may also want to consider the Recovery partition if it's accessible. Use CMD+R at boot to launch into Recovery mode. This would let you mount a USB stick or even a network connection to transfer files.

If you do have another computer available, you could boot this Mac into Target Disk Mode by holding the "T" key down at boot when you see the Apple logo. This would allow you to then use the FireWire or Thunderbolt connection to plug your computer into another as a disk drive.


Yes you can manually mount drives while in single user mode. This guy has a pretty good write up. Note that you may have to call some bins via absolute paths (for example /usr/bin/rsync)



Forgive me if I don't fully understand but the drive that has died is the boot drive which contains the data and is what you are using to access single user mode correct?

If that is the case, see if you can get another computer to create a USB boot drive and connect that to your Mac and boot from it by holding the "Option" key when the apple logo appears and selecting the drive (on new systems select "UEFI").

From there you can try some terminal commands to try and recover your data, or if you have an external drive handy you can install Mac onto it and boot from that. From there you have the entire Mac operating system to recover your data from the drive with a fully functioning disk utility with GUI obviously.

Hope this helps and good luck!

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