I’m normally very good at backing everything up and keeping important files on my fileserver (raid5) but have a few bits (virtual machines, recent images from shoots etc) which only exist on my MacBook Pro.

So I pulled the drive, popped it into a caddy, and plugged it into my Mac Pro to begin the backup…

Click… Click… Click… oh oh!

The drive was not even detected.

I tried a few things but concerned the head may be damaging the platter(s) I decided to start looking at my options for professional data recovery. Ouch! It looks like the cheapest option is around £500 and i’d be without my data for 5-7days (estimated)- ouch!

I was almost ready to admit defeat and started to pack the drive ready for posting! I plugged another drive into the USB caddy and it too made the dreaded clicking sound- could it simply be the caddy failing!?

I bought a new 2.5″ / 3.5″ SATA -> USB dock and popped the drive in… no clicking sound… and detected by the O/S- hooray! But no partition information detected and it wont mount- damn!

I’ve not had much experience with data recovery from OSX (the drive was formatted with MacOS Journalled, which I think is a form of HFS+ file system). I downloaded a few applications which detected the partitions on the drive but wouldn’t let me recover anything without purchasing a license ($99 for most which is certainly a lot better than £500- but I was determined to find a free solution).

Finally I came across Disk Drill from http://www.cleverfiles.com/ whom, although offer a “pro” version upgrade allowed me to save the drive contents to a DMG and mount that image on my Mac Pro. Success! The recovery process took about 12hours for 320GB drive but seems to’ve done the trick!