Years ago I set up a Linux-based multimedia PC for my parents to store all their music and movies on, as that's the OS I use on my home computers and so if/when things went pear-shaped I'd be able to guide them through fixing it over the phone, as they live overseas. Recently that computer died of a hardware failure, and they'd like to access their library of multimedia from their MacBook.

The problem is that the filesystem on the multimedia drive was set up as a Linux one (probably BTRFS or ext4), and I don't remember what I formatted it as. They have a SATA-to-USB bay that they can plug the multimedia drive into, but OS X doesn't recognise the filesystem and we don't want it to attempt to "repair" or reformat the drive and risk losing everything (the backup drive also used a Linux filesystem). I'm unable to visit them and fix it myself, and at any rate I'm not sure what tools there are to use, being totally unfamiliar with what's available for OS X.

How would they go about determining the filesystem on the drive, and/or mounting it from their MacBook?

  • You should stuff be able to access it even if it's "unknown file system". Try mounting it, and then accessing it through terminal using diskutil – Sam Dec 3 '18 at 4:32
  • If you don't know how to use diskutil, type diskutil in terminal and it'll tell you what commands there are and how to use them – Sam Dec 3 '18 at 4:33
  • Not bing a Linux guy I can't guide you through this but FUSE for MacOS is designed to do just this: read "foreign" file systems on your Mac: osxfuse.github.io – Steve Chambers Dec 3 '18 at 15:01

The simplest solution that would not require altering the software on the MacBook would be to create a USB live flash drive of a linux operating system such as Ubuntu. You could then boot from the flash drive and then access the multimedia drive through the SATA-to-USB bay.

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