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My question is posed at its most brief in bold below. However I was having trouble making it brief. I will edit it as more follow up discussion develops.

I have mid 2012 Mac that is not booting. I was able to boot into ubuntu and back up the data using rsync to a remote server. I was able to access said hard drive from ubuntu while it was in the machine as well as cat files ect.

I was unable to run first aid on the drive while it was in the Mac. From single user mode I ran /sbin/fsck_hfs -drfy /dev/disk0s2 <-- run multiple times however keep getting, volume cannot be repaired /sbin/fsck_hfs -drfy /dev/disk0s2 <-- SATA WARNING: Enable auto-activate failed and enable Drive PHY PM failed

This is where it gets weird. When I took another 2012 Mac and swapped their HDs, our 'malfunctioning' drive was able to boot into the OS, run first aid etc. however the old mac drive that was working would not boot. This would typically point me to a ribbon cable issue.

My question lies here. Could it be possible that, despite a ribbon cable failing, I would still be able to access files in the hard drive while booted into ubuntu?

Is there something Im missing? I would think that a ribbon cable not working would prevent me from accessing the drive entirely but I was able to back it up, but I cannot boot from said drive or run first aid.

  • In my experience, yes. You can have a failing component that works sometimes or in different operating systems. It seems counter intuitive but I have seen this many times. – Steve Chambers Jul 31 '18 at 14:22

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