My Mac does not start anymore. The hard disk is stranded :-( Macs and gravity are not good friends.

When starting on a backup disk, I manage to see some contents of the internal disk Macintosh HD, but strangely some permissions prevent me to see everything. For example, in Users, I cannot explore all the home folders.


  1. How can I access the internal hard disk with full permissions ?
  2. Why don't I see everything on the internal disk when it is not the boot disk ?

I want to salvage the data. To do this, I intend to do copies with the Finder.

Thank you for your insight on this delicate matter.

The internal disk, and the backup disk, have Mac OS X Snow Leopard.

  • 1
    How familiar are you with the command line interface (Terminal)? Have you tried enabling and using the root user?
    – bernk
    Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 13:02
  • @bernk - I have not enabled the root user. Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 13:29
  • @bernk - What is preventing me from seeing everything on the internal disk Macintosh HD ? For the Mac, it is just a plugged disk, it is not the boot disk. Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 13:39
  • As you've said yourself, permissions. Using a regular admin user are you able to change the permissions of one of those folders to give yourself access? Select the folder and cmd-i to Get Info, at the bottom you'll see the permissions. You can click on the lock to change them, but this'll require an admin account.
    – bernk
    Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 16:30

1 Answer 1


One way to recover files from a "broken disk" without buying software, is to use the Target Disk mode.

You will need a second mac to do that, to which you would transfer the files.

  • You are welcome, hope it works and to have saved you some money.
    – Ruskes
    Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 17:09

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