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URGENT HELP for a dead mac, I'm stranded in Panama!

Hey, I know some stuff about computers but this site had forums and seems really popular so Im hoping one of you guys on this site can help me out since Im so stressed i havent the time nor patience to try and figure out the mac website so heres the deal.

I just moved to panama, im working in a tiny little fishing village 5 or 6 hours from panama city and 45 min to the closest (very small) town so i cant get to a lifesaving genius bar and my computer has all my photos and documents for my company's website and advertising along with all my music and stuff. All but the media in the last 3 weeks has been backed up but theres been a ton in that time plus my computer is the only way i can talk to my ex'wife and kid.

I was on facebook earlier today and the harddrive (i think) made some weird clicks ive never heard (the harddrive has been replaced in thes notebook once already 2 years ago) i kept getting the rainbow pinwheel loading nothing for a sort of long time and id type a chat message and the pinwheel would come up for a minute then id type a couple words then it happened again. so i (probably a bad idea.. im ********) just held the power button down to restart. When i booted up again i get the "bdrahhh" but then it goes to just the grey screen. Last time the hard drive went it did that but there was a folder with a question mark in it so I am super frustrated and stressed but I have a sliver of hope cuz that little question folder icon isnt there. I looked on a few sites online and they say to start it up with an external hard drive and hold down C and put in the mac os X cd but the problem with being a scuba instructor, kiteboarder and photographer is i have so much heavy **** to travel with I ditch anything not nessicary to survival or work so i dont have any of the cds or start up discs except for an ilife 06 burnt copy cd.

thats my situation, If someone can help me out youll be a ******* hero to me forever, hope all my **** isnt lost, thanks

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I wouldn't hold out much hope that your machine

In reply to: URGENT HELP for a dead mac, I'm stranded in Panama!

will miraculously come back to life.
The weird clicks and the grey screen to not bode well for the health of your hard drive.

Given that you have nothing to boot this machine from, other than the external drive, I would suggest that you pack it away and deal with it when you get back to home base.
At the very least, I would suspect that you will need a new hard drive.

Extracting the data from the old hard drive is another matter. It "might" mount if it were attached to another computer but there is no guarantee.
All is not lost though. There are a number of excellent companies that specialize in retrieving data from crashed hard drives but, brace yourself, the cost is very high.
It is at this point that you make the decision as to what the missing data is actually worth.


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I'd concur

In reply to: URGENT HELP for a dead mac, I'm stranded in Panama!

I'd concur, what you describe is classic failing HDD symptoms.

If you get an external enclosure you MIGHT be able to get SOME of the data off the old drive, but I wouldn't go getting my hopes up, and then you need to contend with the fact that you would need a new drive with a copy of Mac OS X on it.

As said, there are companies that deal with data recovery, but we're talking about $500 for them to just look at the drive and see whether or not they can do anything with it. Grand total you will probably be looking at something in the neighborhood of $2,000 or more, depending on how much effort they have to go to in order to retrieve data.

May not be much consolation, but the drive was going to die no matter what you did. Even if you had it in an Apple store at the time it started acting up, there's probably nothing they could have done. Truth be told, Apple's odd hiring practices often leads to some pretty clueless "geniuses".

At this point, you're going to need a new drive and copy of Mac OS X just to get back up and running without any data retrieval. Data retrieval will be expensive, and will also likely be a couple of weeks minimum for them to get it back to you, so you may just be better off starting from scratch. And this time, make sure you get a SECOND drive to use as a time machine backup drive. Help avoid these kinds of things in the future.

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Don't use time machine for backup

In reply to: I'd concur

Use Carbon Copy Cloner for backups. It's a free app, and unlike time machine, you can also boot from the cloned drive.

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They're two different programs

In reply to: Don't use time machine for backup

They're two different programs, and server very different purposes. CCC would be incredibly inefficient for doing the kinds of regular, incremental, backups that Time Machine does quite well. However, you are correct in that Time Machine doesn't make bootable drives.

By all means use both. Create a bootable clone of the drive every so often using CCC, then Time Machine for the intermediate backups. Time Machine is good for those times when you only need to restore a small number of files, CCC is a great way to recovery quickly from a catastrophic failure. Considering how complimentary they are to one another, recommending one to the exclusion of the other is pointless and idiotic.

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Your right

In reply to: They're two different programs

I was thinking about how how often I need to do a backup. The OP needs to backup more often than I do. Still, there is no reason for you being an *** about it.

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Mac help in Panama

In reply to: URGENT HELP for a dead mac, I'm stranded in Panama!

Talk to Carlos at Macpower on Avenida Brazil in Panama City. He is great!! Better service than most Apple stores in the US.

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