I know, I know. No summer posts, what was I THINKING? (Lacey, you got some splainin’ to do!) I promise, explanations later, right now I just need to get this out in the open in case anyone ends up having the same problem that I just did. No one should have to work that out on their own if at all possible.
I’ve always had problems with my external hard drive. So many that I don’t know why I still have it, but that’s beside the point. It’s a 1 TB, two drive MyBook Pro formatted by and being run on Mac OSX. Note: This is the second time this has happened in as many summers. Somewhere along the line, the Mac OSX just decides it doesn’t want to freely let go of the drive, and wipes out my partition table, leaving my hard drive feeling incredibly brick-like. My data is still physically there. There was just NO way to get to it.
I found some help from a number of places, the best of which is this website:
So following the instructions, testdisk to the rescue, to an extent. This at LEAST let me see that my data was still there and gave me valuable information about the drive.
But that wasn’t enough.
The drive was non writable. No matter what combination of unmounting, different connections into both Windows and Mac machines, I couldn’t progress through the instructions, as pdisk still claimed that the disk was, in essence, write protected, and that I should go home kid, you got no talent. There was just NO way to rewrite the dead partition table.
After four hours of play time on both Windows and Mac, with my head hung in despair, I decide what the heck, I’ll try it on one of my Ubuntu machines in my workshop.
Lo and behold! It mounts. It’s accessible. In fact, nothing at all seems wrong with it. Strange, I thought. Maybe by plugging it into Ubuntu it repaired the partition table. So I plug it back into my Mac. Again, no dice. But that’s okay, because I have access now through Ubuntu, and can copy the files to a different drive and then reformat, right?
Almost. One of my folders has a different owner from the owner/user ID on the Ubuntu machine. So I’m not allowed to access that folder or its contents in any way. The drive is still non-writeable as a whole, so I can’t change file permissions, and can’t change the owners, throwing chmod and chown out the window.
And here’s the saving grace. What if, I wonder, I created a new user on my Ubuntu machine to match the user ID of the Mac account, which I could see by selecting the inaccessible folder and looking through its properties. This may be a big DUH for some people, but for someone relatively new to *nix, it was a tremendous moment of possible comprehension for me.
Surprise. It worked. Created a new user with an identical UID, logged in, and there are my files, ripe for the transferring.
I sincerely hope that that helps someone. If it just saves ONE person from the headache I just had, it was worth the time writing the experience out. If you need more detailed steps along these lines, comment on the article and I’ll see what I can do.