Mac Desktops forum


Can I recover data from a Mac hard drive to a PC

by dhweide / November 18, 2011 1:21 PM PST

My mothers iMac (model A1173) recently took a power hit and died (black screen, power button is nonfunctional...dead). She had docs etc. on it that she would prefer not to lose, and I'm sure that the hard drive is still completely operational. She has decided (due to limited $$) not to risk the price of the power supply and so is buying a replacement, either PC (again $$) or a refurbished Mac. Either way I would like to pull her old hard drive and recover the data. Is it possible to hook the drive to my PC and read it? I know Macs have different formatting, but are there programs that would allow this? I think recovery facilities are expensive, so we would greatly appreciate any suggestions for how I can retrieve her data.

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All Answers

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Assuming that the HD is functional,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / November 18, 2011 9:30 PM PST

and it usually is after a case like this, it is fairly straight forward to remove the HD and connect it to another computer.
Depending on the model of iMac, it sounds as though you have an iMac G5 there, it is very easy to remove the drive, only takes three screws to remove the back cover, and then recover the drive.
(while you have the back off, and just out of curiosity, check the capacitors for bulges and leaks. This model was notorious for that and may well have been the cause of the problem)

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Software to read drive
by gpzmike / November 9, 2012 9:10 AM PST

Hi, I know the thread is old, but this just happened to me and I'm traveling abroad so I was completely distraught to not know if my hard drive was fubar'ed with all my pics and such when the motherboard on my macbookpro went pop. Bought tiny Acer netbook and was able to download the HSFExplorer software. The Java stuff was a PITA to download and get right for some reason, but not being completely savvy with peecees likely caused some of that frustration.

I field stripped the macbookpro, slapped the drive in a spare enclosure and did a little good juju dance before plugging it in. It worked and the data survived!

The drive does not automatically pop up in the program's window: you have to tell the program to 'load from device' under the 'file' pulldown.

The other software that worked for me was TransMac ( It's not free by any means at $48 USD, but it's interface is more friendly and intuitive (thought dated looking, but when you are distraught about your data the working/intuitive gui is by far more important than the shiny baubles of the gui) and that might be worth alot to some.

I also tried MacDrive ( but it would not run on my netbook for some reason or another and since it costs a tiny bit more than TransMac I didn't bother pursuing the 'why' of it.
Cheers and good luck out there!

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You may be interested to know that
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / November 9, 2012 10:11 PM PST
In reply to: Software to read drive

the two pieces of software that I recommended do not use any sort of interface.
Once the software is installed, the Mac drive is recognized by Windows and appears just like any other Windows drive.
No messing about with interfaces or Java bits.


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I like the above replies and want to add this.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 5, 2012 1:45 AM PST
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i can't find my post
by Emmawino / March 5, 2012 9:05 AM PST

NOOOOOOOOOOOOO I can't find my post

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mac recovery
by scizaro007 / March 4, 2013 7:42 AM PST

Now you can recover all data from Mac hard drive using Mac drive data recovery software. Once I used it when my Mac system's hard drive was corrupted. It successfully recovered all files in single scan. If your in need of powerful recovery tool means just reply to me. I will provide the link of this software.

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Mac drive data recovery software
by Shanidar / March 19, 2013 5:34 AM PDT
In reply to: mac recovery

Good Afternoon,
Please do post the name and or link to the software that was capable of single pass data recovery from a Mac drive. I was just presented this sort of problem and would like to provide a quick solution.


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Last resort to copy data from dead, frozen Mac HD
by Bunner156 / April 12, 2013 2:32 AM PDT
In reply to: mac recovery

I had my mac HD 10.4.11 removed after clicking started, but the pros couldn't retrieve data. I couldn't backup before that because the OS/formatting was different and the data would not load to my backup device. I've frozen the old external HD in the fridge and the clicking does stop..... until it thaws. I've read that in the frozen state, people can copy some data. Without the clicking sound, the message I get is: "The disk you inserted is not readable by this computer: (initialize...) (ignore) (eject)".

How can I retrieve my data? I know it's a last ditch effort.

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Last resort for this problem is Drive Savers
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / April 12, 2013 6:23 AM PDT

but beware, their service is not cheap


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But they are amazing.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 12, 2013 6:43 AM PDT

Over a decade ago they recovered a Novell HDD that had been from a dos format. Say the word with me -> Proprietary <-

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