MacBooks forum

General discussion

Help Navigate Single User Mode - Troubled Hard Drive

by wyclef / August 11, 2010 9:01 PM PDT

Hey, I need some help copying files from the desktop of my old iBook G4 1.33ghz laptop to another USB or Firewire drive. The drive recently gave out and I need to recover files. I've tried safe boot, fsck -fy, diskutil repairPermissions... nothing seems to work I just get I/O errors. DiskWarrior gets pretty far but freezes on overlapping files in step 6. Techtool Pro struggles on the drive related functions as well and freezes. I've also tried the fsck_hfs invalid sibling fix as well. Not sure if this drive is salvageable at all but I can get into single user mode and cd Users/username/Desktop and then ls Desktop and see all the Desktop files 2 screens worth (how do I scroll up in SUM?) and can actually navigate the directory listings fairly well, everything appears to be there... so I was hoping there'd be a way I could just copy all the Desktop files to something else but I am not fluent in unix and need help. The drive name is disk0s3... ideas?

Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Help Navigate Single User Mode - Troubled Hard Drive
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Help Navigate Single User Mode - Troubled Hard Drive
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news
by Jimmy Greystone / August 11, 2010 10:55 PM PDT

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but if that many programs all fail to salvage the drive, simply trying to copy files off will not work. I've run into situations similar to this before. You can get a directory listing just fine, but as soon as you start trying to copy files off, it'll fail.

Right now your choice is between recovery services and deciding that those files really weren't that important after all.

But if you need to see it for yourself, you're going to need a crash course in basic Unix command line, which would take quite a bit longer than I want to spend here considering I'd have to get into mount points and all that. So, just look around for some intro to Linux website that focuses on the command line. Linux and Darwin (Mac OS X's Unix core) are close cousins, so probably 99.9% of anything you learn for Linux will translate directly to Darwin. It's just easier to find guides on Linux than any other version of Unix.

I will give you one tip though... There is no method for scrolling up on the command line. So people invented what is known as pagination programs. In the really old days, there were no such things as monitors, all command output was printed, so you didn't need to scroll... But if you run the command (without quotes) "ls | more" then it will automatically pause at every screen full of information. There's a better version of more called less, but I'm not sure if it comes with OS X. You can try it by just replacing more with less. With more, there's no going back, and it's one screen at a time, the end. Whereas less lets you go up or down in the list as you please line by line. When you get to the last screen, more will automatically quit, but less requires you press "q" to quit.

"less" is technically a GNU program, which probably means nothing to you, but Darwin is of the BSD family. And long story short, there are some differences in licenses which often leads to the BSD's not including GNU programs by default. In the Unix world, people go ape **** over stupid little things like that, then they wonder why the rest of the world won't take them seriously.

Collapse -
last words
by wyclef / August 12, 2010 12:06 AM PDT

yea, that's what I was afraid of. i tried the firewire target mode but my working comp won't pick up the drive. i started it up in verbose mode again...

gets hung up on...

[HCIController][configurePM] power parent ready after 1 tries

then it proceeds to just go..

disk0s3: I/0 error .

over and over again and then just shuts down

any last words before i scrap it?

Collapse -
anything else?
by wyclef / August 13, 2010 6:13 AM PDT
In reply to: Try this

Thx Bob, that link just looked like advice about making sure to have backups. Not sure if there was something else there you thought would be helpful?

Collapse -
Just in case you missed it.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 31, 2010 12:18 AM PDT
In reply to: anything else?

The link I gave is titled "problem solved" where they used specific software to recover titles.

If this can't be done I fear the next step is to contact the fine folk at

So, no, it was more than making sure there are backups.

Popular Forums

Computer Newbies 10,686 discussions
Computer Help 54,365 discussions
Laptops 21,181 discussions
Networking & Wireless 16,313 discussions
Phones 17,137 discussions
Security 31,287 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 22,101 discussions
Windows 7 8,164 discussions
Windows 10 2,657 discussions


Your favorite shows are back!

Don’t miss your dramas, sitcoms and reality shows. Find out when and where they’re airing!