I'm trying to retrieve data from an old MacBook.

I've removed the hard drive, put it into an external enclosure, and connected it to my current MacBook.

This is the structure of the drive in Disk Utility:

enter image description here

I'm trying to access Macintosh HD, but when I turn the hard drive on only Recovery HD mounts. (Although I'm not able to eject it.)

I've tried mounting it manually and running First Aid.

Disk Utility sees how big the drive is, and how much of it is used, which gives me some confidence, but other than that I'm stumped.


2 Answers 2


One thing to look for is macOS wants to decide if a disk is OK before mounting it. Look for a fsck process in Activity Monitor - be sure you show all processes.

If that is running, Disk Utility and Finder won’t do anything, so you may need to wait until that finished (hours or more in some cases) to be presented with the data in read-only mode or read-write mode.

If you just care about reading the data, use a tool that interrupts this mount and just lets you see the disk in read only mode.

The free demo of Data Rescue by Prosoft Engineering is the perfect tool for this job - no need to pay for it unless you decide it has failed and that tool will get you the files back pronto.

I have no ties with Prosoft - just every time I’ve spend money with them, the value has been amazing. You could also choose a good vendor like Drive Savers and just send them the drive for a free quote if you see IO errors in the console log while the filesystem check is running or you hear sounds it’s failing.


I do a quick test before doing anything drastic. The app Mountain has a free trial. I'd load it and see if that will mount your drive. I had problems in the past with external drives not mounting. Mountain has been able to mount them.

Mountain is not a free app but they do offer a free trial. No subscriptions required.

Mountain is a menubar app. When you click on Mountain it should show you a list of all volumes connected to your mac. From there you can click on the Mount/Dismount button.

  • Thanks, I gave this a shot but unfortunately no luck.
    – Sebastian
    Apr 29, 2020 at 19:59

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