My MacBook Pro froze today. When the system is restarted, it goes directly to the OS X Utilities window. None of the alternatives seem to work. I don't have a Time Machine backup, so there is no use running that program. When trying to reinstall OS X I get stuck, because I don't get access to the HD, only the Recovery HD. I also get an error message when running the Disk Utility repair program. Unfortunately, there are important files I haven't backed up? I have two questions?

  1. Is there any hope of restoring the computer with the files and programs intact?
  2. If not, is there a way to access the files and make backups before erasing the disk?

Question 1. see this link for how to.

1- Try a Safe Boot (hold Shift during start up)- (it does do some level of repairs).

2- You can try repairing the disk, using the Disk Utility, start with cmd-r.

3- If that does not work you can try to repair the disk using the Command fsck- fy

To get there start in single user mode (cmd-s) and enter that command fsck -fy to find out if it can repair the disk.

Question 2-

you can use Target disk mode to recover files (you will need second Mac for that)

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    Thanks for the suggestions. Unfortunately, my problem seems too serious for steps 1-3. My computer won't safe boot or enter single user mode. – Harold Jun 23 '14 at 4:26
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    that is difficult to say up front, but hope you can use the target disk mode to recover files. – Ruskes Jun 23 '14 at 7:45

I had the same problem with my 2011 macbook pro. Booting in target disk mode wasn't an option for me so I took my mac to an apple service center. They replaced the HDD since it was broken and installed osx on the new drive. After that I put the original broken HDD in an external casing and I was able to recover all my data.

I would advise you to take it to a service center too or if you know what you are doing replace the HDD yourself and try recovering the data later.

  • I've now taken my Mac to the service center. Since this happened yesterday I've discovered that a lot of MacBook Pro users have had similar experiences and that the problem often is a faulty cable, not the HD itself. I'm hoping ... – Harold Jun 23 '14 at 12:40
  • a new HDD isn't the end of the world, 99% of the time almost all of the data can be saved. It would be nice if a broken cable fell under some extended warranty. – dennismuijs Jun 23 '14 at 13:16

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