Macintosh OS/External hard drive


QUESTION: I am a Mac user and had a 1 TB hard drive. It seemed to crash, but finally after buying a new cord it is working again. However, here is the weird part. It was partitioned, and the smaller partition is still working. The bigger partition does not have any of the files there, only the main folder names with a .lnk after it. The drive shows that it is completely full, although the .lnk only takes up a few kb worth. I looked online to try to determine what this was and found it was a Microsoft shortcut, but my question is, where are my files? It shows they are still taking up disk space, but I have no idea where and how to find them. I tried to verify and repair this partition, but no change. Any thoughts?"

ANSWER: Easiest - copy data off hard drive, repartition, move data back (losing data from missing | broken partition)
Backups are important.

Has it been plugged into windows computer? If so, plug into Windows computer and test.
Who partitioned it? The default is ONE partition.

The hard drive could be partitioned in one of three choices.
GUID (bootable partition boots new Macs - data readable on Macs)
APM  (bootable partition boots old Macs - data readable on Macs)
MBR  (Windows format - data readable with Macs and Win)
The two partitions can be formatted
HTFS+ Journaled (Mac formatted data or bootable NOT windows readable)
FAT32 (windows format - read and write on Mac or Windows)
NTSF (formatted on a Windows computer - Read only on Mac)
IF the partition map is damaged the map needs repair or repartitioning.
Repair is not easy or obvious, repartitioning will loose all data
Opening Disk Utility in Utilities Folder is first step
Highlighting the DEVICE (HD) not the partitions indented under the device and clicking the Partition tab will show the current partitions and format

Video about Disk Utility
How to use Disk Utility Videos (I WOULD WATCH SEVERAL OF THESE)

Repair partition map (difficult)
TestDisk CAN repair OSX partition maps

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for your response, but it doesn't exactly relate to my problem. The thing is, I can't find the data anywhere! I did some internet searches for my problems, and it seems that the data is "invisible," but I couldn't follow what I have to do to make it seen. You see, the drive itself shows that 800 GB are being used, but the data is nowhere to be seen or found. The only thing that one can see are the .lnk files which take 0 kb. So what I'm wondering is what I have to do, and how I can do it, to make these files accessible again.

To answer your two questions, first, I partitioned it a while back. And no, I haven't tried it on a Windows. It seems that somehow using it in a Windows may be what corrupted it in the first place. Also, if it had a virus, I didn't want to infect another Windows computer. But do you suggest I try this?

ANSWER: You have a problem with a partitioned external drive, the tools that can be used depend on the partition type and formatting of the hard drive.
Assuming the Partition Type is GUID or APM and the problem partition is formatted HFS+ Journaled
the best first choice is DiskWarrior by Alsoft $100
It may bring back the files or give you the ability to copy them to another device or show that there are no files in the Catalog.

If no files are in the Catalog, a file recovery program is the next step Data Rescue 4 by Prosoft ($100) would be my first choice. The recovery may take 1 to 2 days and you need another hard drive to recover the files onto.

NOTE if it is not the Partition Map and Formatting assumed, these will NOT work.

How is the drive partitioned and formatted???

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Ok, I understand and thanks for your follow up. I guess the key question is, this can only be done with the paid product? It is probably not worth spending money to try to recover these, especially if I don't know if it can work. There is no way to recover them any other way without this software?

THE QUESTION REMAINS, how is it partitioned and formatted???

I think you said that you ran Disk Utility Repair on the problem partition and it finished and did not report errors? Or did it fail with a message.
Data Rescue 4 can be downloaded and ran, if it shows files that can be recovered, you can recover one file, test it, and decide if $100 is worth it, pay for the activation code, activate it and recover files if you have enough room on another disk.

This is a Mac Data recovery comparison READ THE INFO ABOUT RECOVERY.

Unless you open Disk Utility and determine the partition type and format, THIS SHOULD TAKE 3 MINUTES, you should seek advice elsewhere.

External drives typically come partitioned for Windows (MBR partitioning) thus knowing the partitioning and formatting is the MOST basic fact to know.

Macintosh OS

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David Anders


Seattle - The Computer Guy - 15 yr veteran Mac/PC/network problem solving. Clients are design firms, artists, freelancers and photographers. PLEASE PLEASE provide EXACT info for Mac Model and OS Version. RAM installed - added cards - external devices - recent changes. Do you do MONTHLY MAINTENANCE? With what Utility? What you have tried and what result do you want.


First computer experience 1969. Worked in 3 computer stores. Setup First Mac and First IBM-PC.

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