MacBooks forum


Transfer data from dead Macbook Pro?

by fes45 / April 14, 2012 1:59 AM PDT


My 4-year-old Macbook Pro has died (Model A1260). The people at the Apple Store have confirmed that it's a dead logic board. I have some important files on the computer that were not backed up. How can I retrieve these files? Preferably, I'd like to be able to access these files on a PC, but if need be, I can borrow my friend's iMac to do the transfer.


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All Answers

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First off
by Jimmy Greystone / April 14, 2012 2:31 AM PDT

First off, if this unit has an nVidia graphics chip, there's a chance you can still get a free MLB replacement for it. Take it back to the store and tell the lazy sods to run the GPT diagnostic on it if it does indeed have the nVidia graphics on it. Otherwise, still might be worth taking it somewhere else for a second opinion. Apple hires people less for their technical competency and more for their willingness to drink the company kool-aid. So just like if you take the thing to best buy, fry's, or plenty of other places, it's a complete crapshoot whether or not you get someone who has any business being within 10ft of a screwdriver, let alone working on someone's computer.

Second, the unit should still be eligible for Apple's flat rate repair, so $300 and change for a 15" MBP isn't an unreasonable fee. That's another option to consider.

Third, you can always pull the HDD and put it in an external enclosure. It's just a 2.5" SATA drive, nothing particularly special about it aside from there being an Apple logo and SN on the label. If you're not interested in repairing this thing, then there are teardown guides on iFixit's website. Those models aren't overly difficult to get open,you just need a PH00 and T6 screwdriver which aren't the most common tools to find in the average person's toolbox. This is a good set of screwdrivers that will have near every bit you could possibly need, and it's fairly cheap:

If the only other computer you have access to is a Windows system, then you'll need a free program like HFSExplorer. It's kind of old and clunky, but it's free and it gets the job done. I just used it to migrate a bunch of stuff off of some external drives connected to my iMac that I'm shelving for a time. Otherwise, any other Mac should be able to pick up on the drive without problem, unless it's a PPC Mac, which might not be able to read GUID partitions.

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Third option gets my vote.
by mojo-a-gogo / April 20, 2012 2:10 PM PDT
In reply to: First off

I'd opt for the external enclosure if you're handy enough to open up the dead Macbook and remove it. Just be careful to get a high rated enclosure, not some cheap piece of imported plastic junk that might fry the drive. Check out the user reviews on tigerdirect or newegg; their customers are probably more savvy than those on amazon.

The reason I'd choose that option is I don't trust the Apple store "geniuses." A friend's computer went down and she took it to her Apple store. They said the hard drive had died and the only option was to replace it with an expensive Apple branded drive. Worse, they wouldn't give her the old drive so she could try to retrieve her data, saying it was not her property but Apple's, and that when she bought the computer she was only buying a "lease" on the enclosed hard drive. This was in Boston, so it may not be the general company policy.

If you live in LA or SF you might find an Apple store that will be more fair and helpful since the employees have probably been into the Mac thing much longer, before it became a corporate megalith and expanded around the country.

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by fes45 / April 21, 2012 11:38 AM PDT

Thanks for both of your input! I'm actually from Toronto, and I'm not sure whether flat rate repair is available here.

I actually ended up opting for the third option as well, just taking the hard drive out and putting it in an enclosure. Unfortunately, I'm pretty handicapped, technologically speaking. Even though there were great instructions online for extracting the hard drive, I really wasn't all that confident in my skills. So what I ended up doing was just bringing it back to the local Apple store, and they just ended up taking it out for me (no cost-I was surprised, as the first guy I spoke to pretty much told me the only options I had for getting my data back were either to repair the logic board or buy a new Mac and they'd transfer the data over for $100). I didn't know much about enclosures, and ended up just buying a cheap Vantec. The build wasn't great, but it got the job done and I was able to access my data on an iMac.

Thanks again!

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Thanks Jimmy
by AppleLover76 / April 26, 2012 8:46 AM PDT
In reply to: First off

Thanks Jimmy for the info. My Mac died as well. I know I should always back up my data but I never do. I never think about it until its to late. I will definitely look into your suggestions and see if I can get back some of my files from my Mac. Thanks again.

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retrieve deleted files back
by Jameslaskk / March 2, 2014 8:35 PM PST
In reply to: First off

Try the following softwares: SpinRite ( or GetDataBack ( Both are great. SpinRite is best for non technical people but can take a while to run. GetDataBack works best if you have anew drive to put recovered data on.

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