Repair a Mac OS X HFS+ Partition table

At the time of writing this post I must say that I feel like a hero! That feeling is wonderful you know, when someone has a problem with their computer and not a simple but a HUGE one and you are able to repair em you turn to be that people hero.

Today my friend Avaco12 made a little mistake while installing bootcamp on her iMac, she left her external (200GB) disk connected, and when Windows asked her where to put the new Partition she accidentally selected her preciousus external drive, when she realized it was already too late, windows had already destroyed the partition table on her disk. She had 1 HFS parition and 1 FAT. She was crying because she said she had her entire life on that disk, so she asked me for help and I started researching what could I possibly do to repair the disk or at least retrieve her data.

There are plenty of solutions out there, some of them are really expensive, and people on the forums are not very happy with them so I wanted to look at little more into the issue and I came across this solution called TestDisk which is an Open-Source Multi-platform solution for repairing disk partitions. I gave it a try and awesomely I managed to fix the disk using TestDisk and the pdisk utility.

When I called Avaco12 to tell her that I fixed her data she was so happy she couldn’t stop smiling she told me I was her Hero and so that’s how I felt, the process wasn’t easy specially because noone talks about how pdisk works on Mac OS X.

Here’s how I did it , hope it works for you.

1.- I downloaded TestDisk from their official site :http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk

2.- I opened the terminal and surfed to where I downloaded and unziped TestDisk

3.- I issued the command ‘sudo ./testdisk’ it indetially promped me to make my terminal bigger =P, after doing so It displayed me a simple disclaimer and then a notice telling me that TestDisk could Log all the activity if I wanted to. I selected Yes and continued.

4.- On the screen it will display you all the Disk it detects connected to your Mac select the one that got damaged partition tables and press Enter. Take note of which drive you selected, in my case I chosed /dev/rdisk1 (rather than /dev/disk1)

5.- Next screen select the menu Analize, it will probbly display you and error telling you the block 0 couldn’t be read, just hit enter on the ‘Quick Analize’ option

6.- ATTENTION: TestDisk will quickly search for partitions on the disk and display you information about it on your disk. Take note of the information it will display you, since you’ll need it to repair the disk later on with pdisk.

Here’s a screenshot of what I got:

 

 

Note: if you try to repair your partition table with TestDisk it will fail since that function is not yet implemented.

7.- you can now exit TestDisk. The next steps are what distinguish a child from a Men

8.- Issue the command ‘sudo pdisk /dev/rdisk1′ (where /dev/rdisk1 should be the same name you chosed on step 4). If you type the command ‘c’ and hit enter it will tell you the following:

9.- That’s completely normal. Now type ‘i’ and it will display you some affirmations about block sizes and such, just hit enter:

 

10.- Now we are going to need the info from Step 6. type the command ‘c’ and press enter, it will ask you to type down where your first partition starts, how long it is and how you want to name it. repeat this step for every partition you have.

 

11. Now if you are completely sure you wrote down everything correctly (like I did) just type down ‘w’ and hit Enter, It will prompt you to confirm just say yes (y)

12. type ‘q’ to quit the application and go see for yourself if your disk appears now in Finder. If it does, go to Step 13. else try disconnecting your external hard disk and reconnecting it. After Mac OS X 10.6.7 it is suggested that you restart your machine and reconnect the disk. If this fails try again from step one. Don’t worry about rewriting the partition table it doesn’t harm your data.

13. You are a hero, no matter if it’s your own disk, you just saved your data!

Congratulations, and I hope this information is usefull to you !

You can buy me a drink if you’d like to share your joy :)




cheers !

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241 thoughts on “Repair a Mac OS X HFS+ Partition table

    • I really owe you my life, this blog has saved me a lot of time of formatting, repartitioning and installing all my OS’s again. Although I had to dig in some other blogs as well, because it was on my main hard drive, not external, so after I did the very idiotic mistake by deleting my partition table, I couldn’t do it while I’m booting from it. I was also afraid to reset, because I won’t be able to boot from it again.

      Finally I managed to boot from the CD, but not using its terminal, there was another way, using CMD+S, it took me to another like-terminal environment which I did all your instructions and it finally worked.

      But I still have one small problem, the partition table created is Apple partition map, not GPT, so do you have any idea how to do it?

      Again, Thank you so so so much! I really felt like a hero, but I was like Robin to you as Batman. :)

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  1. This is the sort of advice that should be on late night television- but wait there is MORE! Retrieve ALL of your data NOW- no File Carving- no rebuilding Indexes, no FSCK, simply put- its PDISK and its on a mac near you! :D (Sorry- complete and absolute file recovery can cause extreme excitement and euphoria)

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  2. Hi dog hunter!
    I would kiss you if I can! I’ve just recovered a partition that Partition Magic (from a boot cd) dreaded up! It “fixed” an error, and the driver never worked again. I found that the problem was a wrong Partition Table, and your explanation was quite helpfull. Althouth, I was able to do everything from TestDisk! Yeah, its true. After a QuickSearch, I have set the right Partition Types (which the program have correctly detected) and selected the program to write the partition table. The program told me to reboot, and voila! (using a disk formated as GUID with a unique partition as HFS+)
    Long live the hunt!

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  3. Holy god, you are my hero right now! Bootcamp snuffed my partition table, but the world has been made right again!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!

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  4. I manually fucked up my 500gb backup drive when attempting to make Windows 7 read NFS+ drives, and I thought I had lost it all when OS X didn’t seem to read it.

    Thanks to you, and TestDisk, I got my data back! I have never been this happy in a long time!

    Thank you!

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  5. thanks, this worked great. Windows 7 hosed my HSF partition cause it initiated the disk. I tried various tools nothing worked. Followed your step and everything worked, the only thing that i needed to do was scan for my partition a bit it didnt show up in the first quick scan

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  6. You are da man! My 1T external became unreadable and unrepairable after an app crashed while copying files. Your procedure worked like a charm.

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  7. Thanks for your help. That was excellent. I accidently overwrote my partition table when I connected my osx exernal drive to a XP system and lost all my data. Now it is back …. thanks goodness. Cheers

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  8. Does anyone know how do fix the Mac partition from the Windows partition? I already have the log from TestDisk.

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  9. Hey Randy ! you could try to use your OS X Installation disc, just insert it, when you get the the main menu, on the apple menu go to Utilities> terminal, and from there use pdisk :D ! plz tell me if this worked :) cheers

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    • Hi, I used the installation disk of mac osx after retrieving the data from test disk, booting from dvd. Now the problem is that pdisk gives a “Resource Busy” error. If I try to mount the disk it says “Resource busy” again. I believe there is no partition map (as pdisk says that but he’s unable to write a new one). The fact is that I can’t boot from MacOSX on my macbookpro as it doesn’t see the Machintosh boot drive, but it sees the bootcamp partition (MBR) it start and then Windows sees the Machintosh drive and I can copy the files, but still no luck with booting from it. This is really weird. Any ideas?

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  10. Great info, thanks. I was wondering if it could be done for HFS+.

    One thing though, your first screen shot, 36.png, just takes me to the main blog page when I click on it or try to open it in a new tab.

    Thanks again for the great tutorial though.

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  11. @jim: hey Jim, I’ve fixed that broken link :) sorry I’m transitioning the blog to a new platform.

    Cheers

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  12. Hi!
    Thanks for the tutorial, it really helped me… but unfortunately, I couldn’t retrieve my partition :(

    All the steps until pdisk worked like a charm. But pdisk, after hitting command “i” tells me the disk is busy and cannot access it. Any ideas how solve this ??

    Config: Mac intel dual core (2007) / external HFS+ HD (WD)

    Thanks for you help!
    Alex

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  13. So happy to find this post- gives me hope that I may recover from my hasty mistake (plugging Mac/HFS drive into Windows 7)…

    I got Testdisk working, and I was able to “Analyse” my rdisk1. Then when my options are “Quick Search” or “Backup”, either option causes the program to freeze. The log file shows “read err: Resource busy” (preceded by buffer addresses) a ton of times until I quit Testdisk. (I let it run for a few hours last night; no difference)

    I was able, however, to view the partition map scheme from Testdisk, so I tried your method in Pdisk.

    upon starting pdisk, I get:
    “pdisk: Can’t read block 2 from partition 3
    pdisk: Can’t read block 2 from partition 5
    Edit /dev/rdisk1-”

    … and then I can go through the commands. But my results diverge from above:

    command ‘i’ –> “map already exists. do you want to reinit?”
    command ‘c’ –> when I do the big partitions, I get the “Can’t read block x…” errors again.

    Any wisdom?

    THANKS. happy 4th.

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  14. I’ve had to have TestDisk run a deep search and now I have way too many choices for deleted partitions. Great. We’ll see how this turns out. Good to hear that people out there are getting their data back.

    @Mrsupersirk
    The issue you are facing is most likely the need to unmount the drive in question before you can perform low-level operations on it. You can open up DiskUtility and click on the drive you are working with and then click the ‘unmount’ button on the tool bar. You could also run the command ‘diskutil diskX unmount’ if you are already in the terminal.

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  15. Hi, thanks for the advice. Disk utility took it upon itself to destroy the partition map for my external Hd, I’m currently trying this method as nothing else I was able to find seems to have any suggestions for the issue – hopefully this will work. I was just wondering how long it ought to take pdisk to perform the remapping? (I have a 2TB drive – process is still working and I’ll leave well enough alone for awhile). I’m just looking for a ballpark figure so that I may know whether to assume that it has failed or not.

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  16. THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!! I could fix my partition table. It was damaged because I used windows to create a new volume. Will never do it again. ;) Thank you! without your helpful instruction I would not have been able to fix it and rescue my movies and games. ;)

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  17. Perro,

    I tried to access pdisk from the terminal under the Snow Leopard disc and it said it was an unknown command.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks

    Mosi

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  18. Hello Perro, i send an email with screenshots to your gmail. can you let me know whether you received my email?

    kind regards,

    Arjan

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  19. thank you very much! It perfectly worked… I recovered a partition with 250 GB of data which disappeared due to a corrupted partition table!

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  20. I had upgraded my macbook with a bigger harddisk, with a little help from clonezilla. Bit when I tried to resize the partition with Disk Utility I got an error: “mediakit reports partition (map) too small”

    I tried to follow this:
    http://info.michael-simons.eu/2010/11/19/migrate-os-x-to-a-bigger-hard-disk/

    but I wrote something wrong, and puff! Gone partiotion table ! Hello completely wrong partition table !

    Then I downloaded the latest version of testdisk to a usb drive, restarted my macbook with an ubuntu live disk and ran the testdisk in a terminal.

    I mounted the usb (mount /dev/sdb1 /media/usb), ran the testdisk utility from the usb stick (in my case testdisk_static), followed your instructions untill step 6.
    Then for some awesomeness ! The latest version of testdisk now supports the option to write the partition table for you, based on what it finds analysing the drive ! So I simply choose the “write” option, rebooted and everything worked again !

    Thank you so much :)

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  21. Hi Perro,

    I have same problem as your friend facing, after follow your instruction i have facing some problem on the Pdisk command after i run the testDisk, I am using Mac OS X Lion. Is it anyway to retreive back my files in my external hardisk? Thanks.

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  22. it’s worked for me !!! Thank you very very much!!!!!!!

    @差点要哭出来了… 不小心删除一个mac分区… 找了几个mac数据恢复软件.. 都木有成功恢复, 有的恢复了文件但不能打开…折腾2天了….
    今无意中搜索到这篇文章…. 然后又根据这篇文章提供的信息找到英文原版(有图片).
    然后… 冒着生命危险参考着原版完成了生平第一次分区表恢复… 更重要的是.. 好几十G的数据终于又失而复得… 真的太感动鸟~ 特意登录来拜谢~

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  23. Thanks so much for your tutorial, you are very kind and a gentleman through and through :-)

    Restored my sisters macbook external drive.

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  24. Thanks to the author of this guide, he just saved my 2TB external drive, of which yesterday I wipe out its partition map.
    I wanted to erase a USB key with Disk Utility, but I was so stupid to select the wrong drive… a couple of second after I realized the error and detached the cable, but the partition map was gone…

    Interestlyng, I had to follow a slightly different procedure, because my external drive is formatted with an EFI-GPT map, and not APM.

    I followed this guide, but when I tried to create an Apple Partition Map with pdisk it always failed with the error “the map is not bight enough”.
    Since APM max size is 2TB, it looks like that my drive is slightly bigger, at least to make pdisk and APM fail.

    If someone is interested in make some calculation, this was the output of testdisk:
    Disk /dev/rdisk1 – 1999 GB / 1862 GiB – CHS 3905656832 1 1
    Partition Start End Size in sectors
    P Mac HFS 409640 3905394647 3904985008

    Because of this, I had to use the ‘gpt’ command to create a new GTP partition map:
    sudo gpt create /dev/rdisk1
    sudo gpt add -b 409640 -s 3904985008 -t hfs /dev/rdisk1

    As you can see it’s very similar to pdisk, and you need the same information: first block and length in blocks.

    After this, I have reconnected the drive to my mac and it worked again. Thanks again to the author, I wouldn’t have find this solution without this guide!

    One final notice, now even if the Finder and Disk Utility both can see the 2TB HFS partition, Disk Utility is unable to repair the GPT map because it can’t find any partition.
    It looks like that I haven’t perfectly recreated the GPT, but it’s good enough to copy all the files on another drive.

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    • Man, I can’t thank you enough!!
      I’ve been strugling with several demos of paid apps and nothing helped, even this tutorial didn’t help until I saw your post. That did the trick!
      Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! :D

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    • Dear Fam,

      I have the same problem: “Map is not big enough”. So I tried the got command, but I received the following error: “error: device already contains a GPT”. Do you have any idea, what I could do now? I’d appreciate your help a lot!

      Mike.

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    • Fam, you are the bomb.

      I had the same issue you did until I tried got and now the drive is back to life. You are a godsend and I cannot thank you enough for posting and sharing your knowledge.

      Know that you have made someone’s day. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!!!

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  25. VirtualBox destroyed my 2TB external HD along with my 18,000+ family photos… My wife and I were devastated. The HD would come back with an error “Unable to read/ Unknown partition” and “initialize/reformat/ignore messages. Data recovery service quoted me $3000.00 to retrieve my data. After hours trying to use TestDisk I came across your article. With pdisk, I was getting an error about map size… I ran TestDisk again, this time choosing “WINDOWS/VISTA option”… TestDisk told me I needed to set my headers to 32… which I did.. I then was able to “Write” the new partition using “WINDOWS/VISTA” format even though my HD was formatted for mac. A reboot was required but… YEEEEEHAAA my HD is BACK FROM THE DEAD!!! Thank you so much for your article. Without it, I wouldn’t have found out the issues… Thanks from a very relieved novice mac user… using terminal for the first time… and pdisk…

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  26. hey man, got in to trouble!
    i have a 500 gb HDD from a lacie EDmini HFS partition on which i fried the usb so i had to access the data your way.
    I plugged the HDD in a G4 mac and use the terminal.
    everything completed like a charm but the disk did not initialize after restart :(
    i had 5 partitions but none could be accessed.
    help…

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  27. Hi!

    i’ve been trying to use your method but it doesn’t do any good for me. here’s what i did to screw my life up: completely in a hurry and without any kind of attention i used an “erase” command on disk utility that apparently did not erase the partition, only ALL of the data in it. when i try to recover the partition using your method it only shows me an empty partition…

    what am i doing wrong?
    thanks a lot man.

    running lion.

    best!

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  28. @Andre, you erased the disk my friend. That is not a partition problem, you just wiped it.

    Try data recovery progs, but really, it’s gone.

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  29. Hi there,

    i tried to re-partition one of existing partition on external hard drive through Disk Utility

    after that, some error message appeared and then i restart the mac, and found that my partitions all gone

    now i’m trying to use TestDisk, but after i select my error hard drive, the TestDisk just froze and do nothing. i tried to wait, but nothing seems to be happening.

    can you help, please ?

    my entire data is on that hard drive :(

    Thanks a Lot..

    Aldy

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  30. I am a hero!

    And so are you. Un millón de gracias!

    Btw: I love you transparent terminal windows that allow us to see through ;-)

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  31. Hey i try this but i have partition which is HFS n NTFS on my 1TB external HD. but its only choose HFS in the first choice. How i can use it for my HFS n NTFS in the same time when quick analyze…or i must do this twice…..1st HFS n after i repeat again for NTFS???

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  32. Hi,

    I am a hero as well, looks like the dragon I fight is too tough for me though :)

    At step 10. when I write the numbers on every of 4 partitions, it says “the map is not big enough” each time.
    And when I try to write it down (with ‘w’) it says: “The map has not been changed.”
    Any clues on that one guys?

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  33. I have a 500 GB disk that only had one partition on it, the “Macintosh HD”. It’s a clean install of Mac OSX Snow Leopard, so I don’t know whether the EFI stuff is on an extra partition. Anyway, when I analyze it with testdisc (version 6.13), it can’t find any partition to repair (is it correct to select “Mac”?

    It says:
    Bad MAC partition, invalid block0 signature
    read_part_mac: bad DPME signature

    When I select Analyze, it slowly counts up the cylinders and after half an hour, I’m still stuck at 00%, but it can find some stuff:

    Disk /dev/rdisk1 – 500 GB / 465 GiB – CHS 976773168 1 1
    Analyse cylinder 7208960/976773167: 00%

    HFS 4121592 980222935 976101344
    HFS 4122752 980224095 976101344
    HFS 4123776 980225119 976101344
    HFS 4126584 980227927 976101344
    HFS 4128264 980229607 976101344
    HFS 4130200 980231543 976101344
    HFS 4132592 980233935 976101344
    HFS 4137616 980238959 976101344
    HFS 4142720 980244063 976101344
    HFS 4146816 980248159 976101344
    HFS 4151464 980252807 976101344
    HFS 4158352 980259695 976101344
    HFS 4164920 980266263 976101344
    HFS 4172128 980273471 976101344

    All I need is the info from Step 6 so I can enter it into pdisk. Is there any way to get it without scanning the hard drive for weeks?

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  34. @FAM, I found the solution to your problem. I too was experiencing the error, “the map is not big enough” and couldn’t rebuild my partition map.

    I found this site: http://forums.macrumors.com/archive/index.php/index…/t-1140673.html and followed his instructions to a T. (the critical instructions are in the next 2 paragraphs)

    “First, you’ll need to figure out the disk number of the hard drive. If you’re booted from the machine (rather than a different machine, using the drive as an external), it’s going to be /dev/disk0. The following will rewrite the partition table to near-default (possibly a little bigger primary volume):

    sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/disk0 bs=512 count=10 conv=sync,noerror
    sudo gpt destroy /dev/disk0
    sudo gpt create /dev/disk0
    sudo gpt add -i1 -b40 -s409600 -tC12A7328-F81F-11D2-BA4B-00A0C93EC93B /dev/disk0
    sudo gpt add -i2 -b409640 -t48465300-0000-11AA-AA11-00306543ECAC /dev/disk0

    (I typed in the commands EXACTLY as he specifies – just be sure you know the correct name of your disk. Mine was just like he shows /dev/disk0 My disk was connected externally to my working MBP)

    Once I finished entering the last command in Terminal, the disk immediately mounted on my desktop.

    Next, I tried to use Disk Utility to repair it like he mentions, but it failed. I then used DiskWarrior and THAT finished up the repair just as he said.

    My disk works fine!! It mounts no problem. No data lost.

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  35. Hi,

    I have some trouble with my Macintosh HD… can’t boot any more

    I used test disk as discribed bellow… but wenn I run
    pdisk /dev/disk0 (or /dev/rdisk0) I get the following message:

    pdisk: can’t open file ‘/dev/disk0′ for writing (Resource busy)

    I started my Macbook Air (first gen) from USB-Stick with Snow Leopoard on it and run test disk via terminal an disk as well

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    • I get Resource Busy when I run pdisk
      Any help would be happily welcome.

      Thank in advance.

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  36. I need a help. I’m trying to expand my boot camp windows partition, but I converted my disk to a dynamic disk accidentally. Now my entire disk in my iMac is a dynamic disk, and I’m not able to boot to OS X. How can I revert the process without the loss of data? I’m able to boot Windows 7 but I don’t know how to resolve this problem without losing all my data in mac partition. I tried use TestDisk but I don’t understand how to use it especially when choosing which drive/partition and partition type. I’m not sure of it.

    Thanks for your help

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  37. Clear, simple instructions let me recover after disk utility on PPC wiped the partition map when I tried to manipulate a drive with multiple partitions with different filesystems on them.

    Thanks for posting this. Saved me 630Gb of data.

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  38. Hi, Please help me, my 1TB drive can not read, I have on it from Time Machine backups,
    I used a test drive and wrote me this: Bad MAC partition, invalid signature block0
    read_part_mac: bad signature DPME

    thanks for any help

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  39. After step 9. there is “can’t open file ‘/dev/rdisk0′ for writing (Resource busy) similar to @Mrsupersirk. I’ve tried also ‘gpt’. Nothing. Please help……

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  40. Im having the same problem as Jakob at the part where it scans the drive but shows 16% after nearly a day. Is there any hope left or could i just map the whole drive as one partition? It only had one when the data was lost.

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  41. this is great! but i have a problem. i am trying to repair a g-tech g-speed q and it is setup as a RAID array. it has four drives and they all show up when i analyze. i did just pick one of them and tried to follow the instructions to completion but then i run into the “the map is not big enough” error.

    so, does it matter what drive i pick of the four? i saw the instructions from @drew )http://forums.macrumors.com/archive/index.php/index…/t-1140673.html) but before i do that i want to be sure i know which disk to select of the four that are showing up.

    thanks!!

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  42. Hello and thank you so much for your help!

    I have an issue though – when I get to step 9, my command terminal says: “can’t open file … for writing (permission denied)

    It seams even using the sudo command that I can’t write restored partition to the drive? I have been searching for over a day now trying to recover this drive and I don’t know what to do… if you have any insights that could help I would appreciate it insanely… thank you again!

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  43. I’m having the same problem as some, where it’s taking a ridiculous amount of time to scan the disk. I opened the Console and it shows hundreds of read errors per second. I just left testdisk running overnight and it was still at 00%

    If my partition used to be GUID, it’s considered Intel, correct?

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  44. I have this problem, but there’s not a response in any comments:

    pdisk: can’t open file ‘/dev/disk0′ for writing (Resource busy)

    please help!

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  45. HOLY MOTHER OF GOD THIS WORKED!!!!! I cannot believe it! I had tried different softwares at $100 each all claiming to be able to restore lost partitions (and sure they would DETECT the lost partitions but there was no hope of actually been able to RESTORE them!) but none of them did anything like this! Literally when I finished all the above steps my entire hard drive (1 Tb Lacie) was restored with everything EXACTLY the way it was before the hard drive crashed!

    I cannot thank you enough – seriously you are a life saver and just made my week!

    Keep up the good work!

    Cheers :-) ! :-) !

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  46. Hi,

    i think bootcamp windoz has blew up my partition scheme, so i tried your steps, but now i’m getting the same error as some people described. The “pdisk: can’t open file ‘/dev/disk0′ for writing (Resource busy)”

    plz, help…

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  47. You guys shouldn’t be using /dev/disk0 as that’s probably the main disk in which your OS X is running, you should be using something different such as disk1, disk2 and so on…

    cheers

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  48. Man, you are my hero!!! I tried every kind of recovery software, i’ve also bought DataRescue3 for Mac, didn’t work, but now i have 70% of my partitions restored, i don’t know what happened with the other 30%, but it’s already perfect. Thank you so much, brazilian regards, Rodrigo Maia.

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  49. Thanks MAN! It worked on my HFS partition!
    For a strange reason disk utility saw it as unallocated space….

    Just one problem…
    I had two NTFS partitions together with HFS with windows and after following your guide those partitions are unavailable…
    and disk utility seems to see them as HFS partitions….

    any suggestions?

    Once again THANK YOU!!

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  50. Friends, please help.

    I do not know how to solve this problem. I drive RAID0 array, 8TB. TestDisk gives the following parameters:

    /dev/rdisk3 – 8001GB/7452 GiB CHS 2743214502 1 1

    START END Size
    P EFI System 40 409639 409600
    P Mac HFS 648264 15628092823 15627444560

    By doing everything as the instructions on the page, an error pops up:
    “The map is not big enough”.
    How to perform the entire process, step by step.

    Stress eats me because I have important files.

    Please help.
    Chris

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  51. You are AWESOME! Certainly my HERO!

    Your tutorial did the trick mate! Thank you so SO much!!

    It worked a treat!!!

    PS.
    Just a word of warning for others in case they are thinking of using other recovery software. I bought Disk Drill in a panic buy yesterday. It recovered the files, took 17 hours and they did not have ANY filenames and NO folder structure! What a useless piece of software! I had 300,000 files with no names!!! Utter rubbish!

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  52. Help please.

    I am in a similar position I started formatting my back up drive by accident, here is what I started with:

    2TB WD external
    - 500GB (A) up front partitioned in ExFAT
    - 1.5TB (B) partitioned in Mac OS Extended (Journaled)

    I accidentally starting erasing the 1.5TB using MS-DOS (FAT) and pulled the plug seconds after initiating the process. So far I have been able to verify that most of the data is still there from what I could tell utilizing (EaseUS Mac Data Recovery Wizard) I am now utilizing the TestDisc to try and repair the partition. Any help with this issue would be greatly appreciated

    Thanks in advance

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  53. you are an uber hero. One you were a hero to your friend, then two you were a hero to people you don’t know. Then three: you gave us the power to be heros too.

    Good work!

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  54. Hi.
    I did exactly what @Barry (2012-03-13) did.
    and I have done the testDisk scan AND deep scan, and now I have a lot of options as per @ (Noahness 2011-07-07.)

    I am just wondering if I should copy and enter ALL these info, or if I should enter every-other one, since there are some duplicates on these results.

    I have copied and pasted the screen results below, I’d really appreciate your guidance!

    Disk /dev/disk1 – 2000 GB / 1863 GiB – CHS 390702916811 Partition Start End Size in sectors >D EFI System 40 409639 409600 [EFI] P EFI System 46 409645 409600 [EFI] P Mac HFS 445649963 819998940 374348978 [7] D Mac HFS 819998937 1194347914 374348978 [7] D Mac HFS 828521845 1912924457 1084402613 [] P Mac HFS 841226752 2795728924 1954502173 [F]
    Structure: Ok. Use Up/Down Arrow keys to selectpartition. Use Left/Right Arrow keys to CHANGE partition characteristics: P=Primary D=Deleted Keys A: add partition, L: load backup, T: change type, P: list files Enter: to continue

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  55. O gerenciador de discos do windows 7 (via bootcamp) alterou o tipo das partições do meu mac, onde todas ficaram inutilizadas. Tentei diversas ferramentas, inclusive o proprio TestDisk, mas as dicas complementares deste blog salvou meus dados. Valeu demais!

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  56. I’m having the same problem with resource busy. I’m booted from the Snow leopard install disc. HFS+ partition table won’t boot after re-imaging with clonezilla. Any ideas?

    Thanks.

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  57. hi…i’ve got a little problem with my WD 2TB hard disk…it’s full of my data, photo and video but when i try to copy come files, an error -36 appers from the finder…this happend only with some files, not all…i’ve tried to repair with disk util,but nothing works, the error -36 still apper…tried to fix with partedmagic, but nothing went well…so i want to try to fix the partiton that maybe solve the error -36 from the finder and i read this article..
    So, I only want to know one thing: the pdisk command will delete all my data(documents,photo,video) or it will preserve them and fix the partition!?
    thanks for the reply…please help me folks!

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  58. Hi,
    As I can’t boot OS X and I don’t have a recovery disk right now, can you tell me what is the linux equivalent of pdisk? Also, will it work on an MBR formatted disk?
    Thanks.

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  59. Hi,
    As I can’t boot OS X and I don’t have a recovery disk right now, can you tell me what is the linux equivalent of pdisk? Also, will it work on an MBR formatted disk?
    Thanks.

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  60. Need a little help here, Im stuck right after Step 7, apparently I am not a “man” haha. When I close Testdisk and enter “sudo pdisk /dev/rdisk1″ into Terminal, and I get “Floating point exception”. Any help would be appreciated, I have over 500gigs that I need to recover, and it took me 5 days to run Testdisk!

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  61. This is definitely the most helpful site I have seen about using TestDisk and pdisk, and is really helping me.

    I have the same problem as Jay, I get

    pdisk: can’t open file ‘/dev/disk1′ for writing (Permission denied)

    after entering i.

    Funny, because last night it worked, I was getting the place to enter First block, but I just went back to TestDisk one more time to check the figures, and this time it is different.

    Also, does it matter if you analyse/try to restore disk1 rather than rdisk1.

    Many thanks.

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  62. Hi I am having the same “can’t open file ‘/dev/rdisk1′for writing (Resource busy)” error at step 9. What do I do here? Also, can you tell me the difference between disk1 and rdisk1? I selected rdisk1 as you did, but I’m not sure why.

    I am trying to recover an exFAT partition that disappeared after doing an Apple update. The first (HFS+) partition still works fine – it has Lion and applications. The exFAT was my data partition, and then I had unpartitioned space for a future BootCamp partition. Now DiskUtility shows the Lion partition and then a MS-DOS(FAT) partition called DISK1S4 taking up the rest of the space on the drive.

    I have attached it to a different Mac to do this, so I am not booting from the drive I am trying to repair.

    Thanks so much!!

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  63. I got around the Resource Busy problem by going to Disk Utility and unmounting the partition. Then the command worked.

    However, now in step 10, I get
    Command (? for help): c
    First block: 40
    Length in blocks: 409600
    Name of partition: EFI System Partition

    requested base and length is not within an existing free partition
    Bad size

    Am I supposed to skip the EFI System Partition, or what? I know the numbers are correct, because I had copied and pasted the info to TextEdit and copied and pasted the values from there.
    1 P EFI System 40 409639 409600 [EFI System Partition]
    2 P Mac HFS 409640 684101047 683691408 [MacIntoshHD]
    3 P Mac Boot 684101048 685370583 1269536 [Recovery HD]
    4 P MS Data 781971456 1465147391 683175936 [Data]

    A physical block is 512 bytes:
    A logical block is 512 bytes:
    size of ‘device’ is 1465149168 blocks (512 byte blocks):
    new size of ‘device’ is 1465149168 blocks (512 byte blocks)

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  64. This post is a potential lifesaver.

    But please would would you update the main body of the text to include the warning about having to use gpt instead of pdisk on disks with GPT partition tables?

    I followed your instructions to try to recover a 3TB drive which Disk Utility said needed to be initialised, including using pdisk to do the recovery (because I hadn’t read as far as the post from Fam on
    2011-10-23).

    Unfortunately although pdisk had failed with the partition map not big enough error, it had converted the partition scheme to APM.

    And then the gpt command wouldn’t add partitions or create a new map (not even with the -f force options) or destroy the existing map.

    Eventually I found this reference http://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/17845/how-do-i-change-a-disk-partition-map-scheme-from-mbr-to-guid-partitions-table

    which said that iPartition http://www.coriolis-systems.com/iPartition.php was able to change the partition scheme (including from APM to GPT).
    Luckily I had purchased iPartition some time ago so I gave it a try.

    After setting the partition scheme back to GPT, I used the gpt instructions above to add back the partitions based in the information that testdisk had displayed.

    Now all my partitions seem to be readable again.
    Amazing!

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  65. I have managed to get to step 7. When I try to “Issue the command ‘sudo pdisk /dev/rdisk1′” in Terminal Password: pops up
    Nothing I have tried works.
    I have never used Terminal before and fear I’m not entering the command at the right place.

    Analyse on TestDisk says:
    Disk /dev/disk1 – 1000 GB / 931 GiB – 1053525168 sectors
    Analyse cylinder 262144/1953525167: 00%
    Read error at 260160/0/1 (lba=260160)

    The external HD is a Lacie and I use a MacBook Pro older model. I would be eternally grateful for any help you can provide. Thank you so much for your time!

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  66. Hi Perro

    I have a similar problem to George Hickman (2012-07-18), I enter the numbers just as they are but it tells me they are a bad size.

    Edit /dev/rdisk1 -

    Command (? for help): c
    First block: 943125381
    Length in blocks: 730761324
    Name of partition: Lacs SG
    requested base and length is not within an existing free partition
    Bad size

    Command (? for help): c
    First block: 1803089310
    Length in blocks: 842665196
    Name of partition: Lacs SG 2
    requested base and length is not within an existing free partition
    Bad size

    Command (? for help):

    What am I doing wrong? or what can I do differently?

    Thanks so much for your time and help

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  67. Hi L Cox,

    Try using /dev/disk1 instead of /dev/rdisk1 it might work, have you confirm with disk utility that you are using the right disk?

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  68. Thank you!!!! I nearly lost 12 years of my work, which I stupidly kept storing for the past 2 years at Iomega external HD without additional backup. Apparently if you forget to unmount an external HD under Mac OS it could damage HD’s partition table. That’s exactly what happened this evening, when my incidentally knocked off a USB cable [arrrhhhhh]. After re-inserting the HD back I saw that scary message “the disk you inserted was not readable”. Following your suggestions I managed to get all my data back. THANK YOU FOR SHARING THIS WITH THE WORLD!

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  69. really thanks sir…
    you save my life… however i use difrent method… but you inspired me… you are real hero…

    thanks

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  70. Hi Perro

    I am attempting your instructions but when I get to step 4, the Seagate GoFlex 4TB drive does not appear. I just see the imac’s hard drive. On the terminal it mentions that I should be the root user. I assume I am. There are no other drives connected at this time. What can I do to have Testdisk detect the damaged disk? It appears on system profiler.

    Many thanks!

    John

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  71. Hye Perro,

    I tried to do exactly what you wrote down. Im having some difficulties though. I know that my WD hard drive used to be MAC OS Extended (Journaled), and I connected it to windows 7 via bootcamp yesterday and i guess thats when everything went wrong. Some of the messages that appear on the terminal was that the is not writable. when i chose the dev/rdisk1 one option, i chose apple mac partition, but no partition was shown. When i chose the option NONE though, there is a partition that says
    “P Unknown Start 0 end 429463199″….

    Does that mean everything in my hd has been deleted? Im kinda stuck at there… I still tried using that pdisk command though, since i have the start block and end block values, but when i tried calling for the commands, the commands could not be found..

    Any idea on this?

    Many thanx….

    Ary…

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  72. Hi Perro,

    Thanks for the info. I have run into a problem though and it doesn’t seem to be working for me. The first time I ran through the process the screen shots were similar to yours but nothing happened.

    So I tried again and the following times the testdisk screen showed me more partitions at the beginning, before analyzing the partition (partition map, etc). I could still do the steps. Once analyzed and in terminal, the info changed from what it showed in step 8 before. It woulnd’t say that there is no valid block.

    I can still go through the steps, but it asked me to initialize first.

    I do and still no success.

    Any help or ideas would be appreciated.

    I am working on a 16gb flash drive. I ejected it from my computer, the icon disappeared from the desktop and then i removed it but when i plugged it in to my laptop i got the error message.

    Thanks

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  73. Yes, I can confirm, you’re a Hero!!!

    Seriously, this was actually soooo easy compared to waiting hours upon hours for those pay-for apps to scan and analyse. Ok, so some of them give you the volume names but then that costs $90+

    The problem I had was a home made RAID Box using a SATA Raid Bridge board from SPAN.com (http://www.span.com/product/Firewire800-USB2-eSATA-Bridge-Board-UFS-DSATA210-PLX-Oxford-OXUFS946DSE-LQCG-chip-for-2x-SATA-HD-Normal-RAID~34369).

    I previously had a pair of 500Gb SATA drive in RAID-0 as a backup/temp storage location while I was shuffling files around various machines and external disks.

    My Mac Mini’s hard drive starting failing (S.M.A.R.T Attribs. showing issues and machine slowing with lockups too). So I used the Bridge Controller board with another SATA drive to backup the Mini – but I needed to change the Mode of the board from Raid-0 to ‘pm’ (Just a Bunch Of Disks – JBOD) as there was just one drive connected. After completing the backup, I forgot what the previous setting was and the board re-initialise the pari of 500Gb disks!

    After hours of downloads and testing apps. – I’m a cheapskate as it shouldn’t be that difficult to rebuild a partition table with the right tools – my Google Foo got refined and I found this blog after reading about TestDisk.

    So, with the AppleXSoft app’s scan results, I could match the partitions listed by TestDisk by size (length / 2 / 1024 / 1024 = Size in Gb .. first /2 is 512 byte per sector). Then I named the partitions I re-created with the names listed by AppleXSoft’s app. …or used ‘n’ from TestDisk’s menu to change them from ‘One’, ‘Two’ and ‘Three’, then wrote the changes to the disk. Bare in mind, if you had spaced in the partition names, you need to enclose it with double-quotes. e.g. “Recovery HD”

    Once again, thank you Perro, faultless – just a shame TestDisk doesn’t write to HFS+ and still need to use pdisk. Incidentally, it’s back on Mac OS X Mountain Lion – I read Apple apparently removed it, or maybe the Migration Assistant copied it from my old MacBook Pro which initially had Leopard followed by Snow Leopard and Lion OS Upgrades).

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  74. Hey man,

    I recently had my USB 1 TB external hard drive get unplugged accidently, and since then I’ve had the “unreadable” error on my MacBook. I tried out this application, and while I’m not the most handy using Terminal, your walkthrough was perfect. The only thing is, it didn’t work. And I’ve tried now maybe four times. I was wondering if there was any further help you have to give as I want to try to recover what’s on this drive before just abandoning ship. Thank you again!

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  75. Hi Perro Hunter,

    Same issues with the others

    “requested base and length is not within an existing free partition”

    tried both rdisk1 and disk1

    It worked the first time but half way down entering it I missed a number in the partition start so had to start over.. now its happening every time.

    all I did was quit terminal and start over.

    Any idea?

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    • Maybe the resource stayed open, try re-entering the partition table with pdisk

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  76. I’m also running into problems at Step 9.

    “pdisk: can’t open file ‘/dev/disk1′ for writing (Permission denied)”

    I’ve tried /dev/disk1 as well as /dev/rdisk1

    Also, ‘sudo pdisk’ returns “pdisk: Can’t read block 0 from ‘/dev/disk1′”

    Has anybody been able to solve this yet?

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      • It makes pretty much the same noises as a healthy drive, nothing out of the ordinary! I “lost” the partitions on the drive after I had to forcefully power off my mac because it froze, so I am assuming the drive isn’t dying from old age.

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  77. Im also having this problem:

    “pdisk: can’t open file ‘/dev/disk1′ for writing (Permission denied)”

    I also tried with /dev/rdisk, same error..

    Any solution to that?

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  78. I put my 10.4.11 HD into the freezer. Clicking sound went away but I got the error: “The disk you inserted is not readable by this computer”. Because I’ve read there is only a short time to retrieve my data and every attempt causes greater damage to the HD, I’d like to know exactly what I should do before I do it. After the HD thawed, clicking started again. I now have a new HD in my mac but the OS is different from that of my clicking HD. Is my data recoverable? The experts couldn’t get it off the clicking HD.

    - Some have suggested going into TERMINAL and trying “diskutil list”, “sudo gpt recover /dev/(insert your hard disk ID)”.
    - Another suggestion is “diskutil repairDisk /dev/disk[Number]”
    - Now I see the Testdisk option of this article.

    Any diagnosis/help would be much appreciated.

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  79. Hi,

    Thanks for your great tutorial. It worked well for me up until the pdisk part. I got the same error that others had (can’t write to the disk, permission denied). I tried the gpt command as well, but had the same problem there.

    I checked to be sure and the disk is not mounted. But Disk Utility does say that it is “read only,” for some reason.

    Any advice?

    Thanks again!

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  80. Perro,

    Great instructions, and extremely helpful in correction a (incredibly) scary problem (corrupted partition table). Your detailed instructions, screenshots, and links to the tools (TestDisk) were awesome!

    I had almost given up as permanently lost (or, at least, terribly damaged and leading me towards hundreds of hours of recovery, renaming and restructuring work) almost 11 years worth of digital history (pictures, music, documents, applications, etc.), and you saved me!

    So… THANK YOU!

    Khalid

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  81. Amazing tip. I haven’t read all comments, but TestDisk now can write the partition table. So no need to use pdisk anymore.

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  82. Done all of that, but the disk doesn’t show up in finder.
    Tried to do it again and this is what I’ve got from terminat: http://cl.ly/Oah9
    “map already exists
    do you want to reinit? [n/y]:”

    Could you give a hint what should I do next?

    Thanks

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  83. Another thing when I’ve tried to do it again from step1: http://cl.ly/OaDV
    I remember that even the first time I’ve got the “the map is not big enough” message – maybe this is the problem?

    thanks again

    p.s. here is a print screen of my test disk info http://cl.ly/Oa8m

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  84. Oh My God THANK YOU!!!
    I was trying to get my hfs+ external HD to work on a win7 computer and when I tried to reconnect it to my mac it said “Nope, can’t read it…”. And I had a near meltdown… When I was solid enough again to start googling I nearly spent 99€ for nothing. Thankfully I found your post!!!
    Oh my God this is so freakin’ satisfying! Thanks a million and once!!!

    Very Happy Greetings from Hamburg Germany!!

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  85. Hey, man, just to say “thank you”. My friend came over with her non-booting Macbook Pro, I pulled the harddrive connected to my Air via usb and “boom”, no partitiions. I thought “what the…” and reading your case was almost like mine.. except, I put the disk back on and still no boot, not recognized (booted from MLion pen, no disk shows up). Pulled it off again and the partitions were still there, so we just made a backup copy of all the info and its up for repairs (second Mac I know that has the flat cable problem in like two weeks! – I’m guessing it’s the problem on this one, since everything else seems fine).

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  86. A great big thanks to you. Macbook pro HD partitions missing after a bios fallout. Unallocated disk with only 32MB showing in disk utility. Recreated exactly as it was before this barny. Cheers.

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  87. Repair a Mac OS X HFS+ Partition table | Filemaker Info

  88. I’ve spent the past few days calling around to different data recovery places, and they all told me it was useless, and if it wasn’t then I would be looking at about $600+ to get all the shows, movies and Uni work off my HD. I really needed it back, but I’m a student who doesn’t have $600+ lying around. So, I tried this

    AND IT WORKED :D

    Seriously you have no idea how loudly I am screaming right now. I haven’t been able to access this thing for MONTHS, and I was a week off walking out and buying a new one and just starting over.

    Thank you SO SO SO SO SO MUCH! AHHHHH!

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  89. hey there. i’m not sure how current this article is, but noticed you mentioned emailing you so thought i’d give it a shot.

    I have a 250gb seagate external that I had allll my files on from college. I was working on a windows pc at that point. i got a mac and plugged it in and was able to see everything. I transferred one folder and all worked well. I later reconnected my device to my mac and it said it could no longer be read. my HD has been sitting in a drawer for the past 5 years as i couldn’t figure out what to do.

    Will this tutorial be a possibility for me with my current mac? will it hurt the HD in anyway if this technique doesn’t work?

    thanks, greg

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  90. Refusal to Boot if NON-BOOT internal HD is plugged in

  91. Hi, great post!

    Same problem like Tamar here (Can’t read block, Unable to write block). Any Solution?

    Disk /dev/rdisk4 – 3000 GB / 2794 GiB – CHS 732566646 1 1
    Partition Start End Size in sectors
    >P HFS 51206 146679629 146628424
    P HFS 146712398 732533871 585821474

    ———–

    A physical block is 512 bytes:
    A logical block is 512 bytes:
    size of ‘device’ is 0 blocks (512 byte blocks): 732566646
    new size of ‘device’ is 732566646 blocks (512 byte blocks)
    Command (? for help): c
    First block: 51206
    Length in blocks: 146628424
    Name of partition: tm
    pdisk: Can’t read block 2 from partition 2
    pdisk: Can’t read block 2 from partition 3
    Command (? for help): c
    First block: 146712398
    Length in blocks: 585821474
    Name of partition: data
    pdisk: Can’t read block 2 from partition 4
    pdisk: Can’t read block 2 from partition 5
    Command (? for help): w
    Writing the map destroys what was there before. Is that okay? [n/y]: y
    pdisk: Unable to write block zero (Invalid argument)
    pdisk: Unable to write block 1 (Invalid argument)
    pdisk: Unable to write block 2 (Invalid argument)
    pdisk: Unable to write block 3 (Invalid argument)
    pdisk: Unable to write block 4 (Invalid argument)
    pdisk: Unable to write block 5 (Invalid argument)
    pdisk: Unable to write block 6 (Invalid argument)
    The partition table has been altered!

    Tank you very much!

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  92. Please add me as another happy user of your methodology. It worked like a charm and this has restored my faith in the Interwebs being a force of good. Merci beaucoup!

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  93. This worked great, I think! I would just add that I had to modify your instructions a bit. I was trying to recover a 2TB drive with two partitions, and whereas you skipped over the block size prompts in pdisk, I had to change those. I used 4096 bytes per block, which seems to have gotten it to work. Before I was receiving “the map is not big enough” errors from pdisk.

    This table is where I got the correct block size: http://support.apple.com/kb/TA37344

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    • Can you post a screen shot ? We’ve made it to step 10, but can’t figure out what to put for first block ????

      pdisk: No valid block 1 on ‘/dev/rdisk1′
      Edit /dev/rdisk1 -
      Command (? for help): c
      No partition map exists
      Command (? for help): i
      A physical block is 512 bytes:
      A logical block is 512 bytes:
      size of ‘device’ is 3907050332 blocks (512 byte blocks):
      new size of ‘device’ is 3907050332 blocks (512 byte blocks)
      Command (? for help): c
      First block:

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  94. Hi Andy,

    Can you explain this? I am having the same problem.

    I have a 2TB disk with one partition but it starts at 3907003948 with a size of 9396 it looks very small to allow the 2TB.

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  95. One additional tip: you can have multiple terminal windows open. Just hit cmd-N.then you won’t have to write anything down since you can simply run the pdisk cmd in another window, referring to the testdisk window when needed.

    Also–and this may have been covered–you’ll have to make sure that the Superuser functionality is turned on for your Mac. (See this — http://bit.ly/1988gyE — apple support doc since it’s different for various flavors of OSX )

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  96. Well, The TestDisk part worked for me, but I’ve gotten lost on the p(diddy)isk section.

    My array is an 8TB RAID 6 (so two parity drives, 6TB of data). I just had to replace a bricked drive and now, even though the array has been rebuilt, OSX can read but not write. Every reboot gives me “OSX can not repair this drive” error.

    SO I’m working my way through your page, but when I hit “i” I get “map already exists do you want to reinit? [n/y]:” —and I’m note quite prepared for the risk of y :)

    When I use “c”, I get “The map is not writable.”

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  97. Hi, i have same problem that many people asked in comment section.

    pdisk: can’t open file ‘/dev/disk0′ for writing (Resource busy)
    it happened, now what should i do? i didn’t find anything in comments, hope you’ll reply..

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  98. Oh my goodness! This is probably the most valuable thing I’ve ever found on the internet.

    Thank you VERY much for what has been a PERFECT writeup on what to do when your partitions suddenly disappear.

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  99. I’ve had the same issue to Scarlet, but her question was never answered so hoping someone will answer mine. I get through step 7 but when I go to Issue the command ‘sudo pdisk /dev/rdisk1′ using the correct disk name it asks me for a password, but I’m unable to type anything in anyway so that’s where I end. I’m not well versed in using Terminal so maybe that’s part of the issue, but I’d appreciate some help! Thanks!!!

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      • Having the same issue. I don’t understand most of what I’m reading and guess it’s time to start reading on how to use the Terminal. Here’s what I typed

        diskutil list /dev/disk0

        Then this popped up

        #:TYPE NAME SIZE IDENTIFIER
        0:GUID_partition_scheme *250.1 GB disk0
        1: EFI 209.7 MB disk0s1
        2: Apple_HFS Macintosh HD 249.7 GB disk0s2/dev/disk1
        #: TYPE NAME SIZE IDENTIFIER
        0: *2.0 TB disk1

        I tried this next (2 TB is my external Graid3 drive)

        diskutil repairDisk /dev/disk1

        NOTE: repairDisk is deprecated, use repairVolume instead.
        Error starting filesystem repair for disk1: Unrecognized filesystem (-9958)

        Next

        diskutil repairVolume /dev/disk1
        Error starting filesystem repair for disk1: Unrecognized filesystem (-9958)

        sudo pdisk/dev/rdisk1
        Password:
        sudo: pdisk/dev/rdisk1: command not found

        I have no clue what to do, or how to run the program I download from you first step. Kind of just poking around at this point and know that’s not a good thing.

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  100. Hi Perro,
    You are the man! Yesterday I messed up an HD with footage and projects on it that weren’t backed up and I felt like an idiot. Thanks to you and TestDisk, I was able to repair it with the help of a friend. Saved weeks of work and footage that could have been lost forever. Keep up the good work! I do feel like a hero now :)

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  101. Hey Perro! Thanks for this resource. I’ve found it very helpful! I’m two days into a scan and have a question. I’ve got a HFS 2TB RAID 0 drive that isn’t mounting. I’ve run testdisk and so far these are the results:

    (I’m trying to fix –> Disk /dev/rdisk4 – 2000 GB / 1863 GiB – 3907050332 sectors, sector size=512)

    TestDisk 6.14, Data Recovery Utility, July 2013
    Christophe GRENIER
    http://www.cgsecurity.org
    OS: Darwin, kernel 10.8.0 (Darwin Kernel Version 10.8.0: Tue Jun 7 16:32:41 PDT 2011; root:xnu-1504.1
    Compiler: GCC 4.0
    Compilation date: 2013-07-30T14:08:37
    ext2fs lib: 1.41.8, ntfs lib: libntfs-3g, reiserfs lib: 0.3.1-rc8, ewf lib: 20120504
    Hard disk list
    Disk /dev/disk0 – 2000 GB / 1863 GiB – 3907029168 sectors (RO), sector size=512
    Disk /dev/disk1 – 1000 GB / 931 GiB – 1953525168 sectors (RO), sector size=512
    Disk /dev/disk2 – 1000 GB / 931 GiB – 1953525168 sectors (RO), sector size=512
    Disk /dev/disk3 – 640 GB / 596 GiB – 1250263728 sectors (RO), sector size=512
    Disk /dev/disk4 – 2000 GB / 1863 GiB – 3907050332 sectors, sector size=512
    Disk /dev/rdisk0 – 2000 GB / 1863 GiB – 3907029168 sectors (RO), sector size=512
    Disk /dev/rdisk1 – 1000 GB / 931 GiB – 1953525168 sectors (RO), sector size=512
    Disk /dev/rdisk2 – 1000 GB / 931 GiB – 1953525168 sectors (RO), sector size=512
    Disk /dev/rdisk3 – 640 GB / 596 GiB – 1250263728 sectors (RO), sector size=512
    Disk /dev/rdisk4 – 2000 GB / 1863 GiB – 3907050332 sectors, sector size=512

    My partition and Analyse results:

    Partition table type (auto): Mac
    Disk /dev/rdisk4 – 2000 GB / 1863 GiB
    Partition table type: Mac

    Analyse Disk /dev/rdisk4 – 2000 GB / 1863 GiB – 3907050332 sectors

    HFS+ magic value at 512/0/1
    Current partition structure:
    1 P partition_map 1 511 511
    2 P HFS 512 3907039743 3907039232
    3 P Free 3907039744 3907040129 386

    This next step is where I’m getting confused. Do I need to do it? Do I have the partition information needed to fix it already? Or do I have to go through the search? In any case, I’ve started the ‘Quick Search’ and it’s been running for almost 48 hours. It’s finding all sorts of Input/output errors. I’m not sure If I should keep scanning or if there is a faster way to get this drive (or data) back. Is this scan going to go through 3 Billion+ sectors until it finds what it’s looking for?

    search_part()
    Disk /dev/rdisk4 – 2000 GB / 1863 GiB – 3907050332 sectors
    file_pread(13,16,buffer,510(510/0/1)) read err: Input/output error
    file_pread(13,16,buffer,513(513/0/1)) read err: Input/output error
    file_pread(13,1,buffer,513(513/0/1)) read err: Input/output error
    file_pread(13,16,buffer,518(518/0/1)) read err: Input/output error
    file_pread(13,1,buffer,519(519/0/1)) read err: Input/output error
    file_pread(13,16,buffer,511(511/0/1)) read err: Input/output error
    file_pread(13,1,buffer,513(513/0/1)) read err: Input/output error
    file_pread(13,16,buffer,519(519/0/1)) read err: Input/output error
    file_pread(13,1,buffer,519(519/0/1)) read err: Input/output error
    file_pread(13,16,buffer,512(512/0/1)) read err: Input/output error
    file_pread(13,1,buffer,513(513/0/1)) read err: Input/output error
    file_pread(13,16,buffer,514(514/0/1)) read err: Input/output error
    file_pread(13,1,buffer,515(515/0/1)) read err: Input/output error
    file_pread(13,4,buffer,516(516/0/1)) read err: Input/output error
    file_pread(13,16,buffer,5176(5176/0/1)) read err: Input/output error

    file_pread(13,8,buffer,11191(11191/0/1)) read err: Input/output error
    file_pread(13,8,buffer,11241(11241/0/1)) read err: Input/output error
    file_pread(13,2,buffer,13160(13160/0/1)) read err: Input/output error
    file_pread(13,5,buffer,11131(11131/0/1)) read err: Input/output error
    file_pread(13,3,buffer,11136(11136/0/1)) read err: Input/output error
    file_pread(13,8,buffer,11199(11199/0/1)) read err: Input/output error
    file_pread(13,8,buffer,11249(11249/0/1)) read err: Input/output error
    file_pread(13,16,buffer,11139(11139/0/1)) read err: Input/output error
    file_pread(13,1,buffer,11139(11139/0/1)) read err: Input/output error
    file_pread(13,4,buffer,11140(11140/0/1)) read err: Input/output error
    file_pread(13,3,buffer,11144(11144/0/1)) read err: Input/output error
    file_pread(13,8,buffer,11207(11207/0/1)) read err: Input/output error

    Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. I’m at a loss as to what I should do??!?! Thanks!!!! :)

    –cy

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  102. Hello Perro!
    I’ve been trying to accomplish your guide in order to save an external drive that suddenly isn’t mounting, it appears in Disk Utility but only the drive name itself and not the (only) partition he has, HFS+. I’ve cycled through all the comments and found one similar to my problem but there was no answer. I keep getting Floating Point Exception after typing my Password, required to run sudo pdisk /dev/rdisk6 (rdisk6 in my particular case).

    Also couldn’t get any help in Google.

    Any help?

    Thanks!

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  103. Thank you! This worked awesome for me, even restored some partitions that I had deleted a while back! Thanks again

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  104. My friend, thank you for your advices, is very help full to me. i preciated that.

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  105. Great page here! Like many, though, I’ve run into a block because pdisk isn’t that well documented for all situations.

    I’m desperate because mistakenly erased a couple of HFS+ drives in Leopard 10.5, and I worry about making things worse by selecting the wrong pdisk options.

    Like others, after sudo pdisk /dev/rdisk1, I enter c (lower case), and get:
    The map is not writable:
    FIrst block:

    If I enter “i” I get:
    map already exists
    do you want to reinit? [n/y]:

    Testdisk sees the sectors for the drive and data,

    Basically, I’m looking for some more detailed documentation and tutorial stuff on pdisk. Any pointers would be appreciated.

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    • Heyy, Thanks for it.. my system is working back..
      But Now, there is one more problem..
      When I’m going to install Windows 8 on bootcamp partition its giving me all SSD is unallocated space.. you can check it from link
      http://imageshack.com/a/img838/7795/frxt.jpg

      The Mac OS on Disk 0 is opening, but when I reboot to install windows, there is no seperated spaces, also Mac OS partition, its united..

      What can I do now?

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  106. Sorry, I forgot – “The map is not writable:” happens when the disk is still mounted.

    I unmounted and eventually figured out the following from a few interenet searches and held-breath experiments.

    “print the partition table”

    - gives me data without destroying anything.

    do you want to reinit? [n/y]:

    - does not change the data

    I finally had the data that our host describes.

    I followed the rest of the instrructions.

    Unfortunately, while the partition shows up, as it already did before, none of the files are there.

    So, as far as revovering the lost data, this didn’t really help.

    Oh well, but I hope my experience helps anyone else struggling wth this.

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  107. I ran both the quick scan and the more extensive scan on /dev/rdisk1

    I get – 1000GB / 931GiB 244190646 sectors

    but it keeps saying, “no partitions found or selected for recovery.” any thoughts?

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  108. I ran the scan again on /dev/disk1 – 1000GB / 931 GiB – 244190646

    and once again underneath Partitition, Start, End, and size in sectors…it was blank.

    the scan took roughly 18 hours.

    now at the bottom it says:
    Keys A: add partition, L: load backup, Enter: to continue

    what is my next step?

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  109. Current version of TD says it detects an EFI format and gives me:

    Disk /dev/rdisk3 – 4000 GB / 3726 GiB – 3519069872 sectors
    Partition Start End Size in sectors
    >P EFI System 40 409639 409600 [EFI]
    P Mac HFS 409640 7813774983 7813365344

    and pdisk doesn’t seem happy once I enter any combination of these. Advice?

    iMac 10.6.8 Core 2 Due
    repairing an external firewire drive (4 TB) with a single partition.
    perhaps this cannot handle 4 TB disks?

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    • This can’t be solved using pdisk, because your current partitioning table is GPT because it has the EFI partition and it starts from block 40, while pdisk creates an APM partitioning table which ends at block 64.

      But this is an external disk, so you can plug it to your mac and do almost the same steps using gdisk instead of pdisk (you just need to check the the proper commands)

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  110. Ran testdisk on a 2TB drive that had two HFS+ partitions on it, and it only showed one big one.

    As mentioned before, I used my Mac OS X Disk Utility to erase the drive.

    I started a Deeper Search, but I don’t think that works on a HFS+ setup. The results so far don’t look helpful.

    I used a commercial recovery program to find and copy files from the single-partition drives, but I’m uncertain about how that will work when the two partitions don’t show up via testdisk.

    Finding answers to this type of problem is depressingly difficult.

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  111. To avoid the “can’t open file for writing… resource busy”, you have to unmount the volume from Disk Utility after being entered in the pdisk utility but before issuing the “i” command.

    However, I did some tests on an Intel iMac with a 80Gb disk that I formatted as GUID HFS Journaled with Disk Utility and left the disk empty with no data.
    I then ran the pdisk tool and did what’s explained above by Perr0.
    Although it works and seems to be recognized by the Mac, the partition map scheme seen in Disk Utility is then an “Apple Partition map” instead of a “GUID partition table”.

    Even if that worked for Perr0, I’m not sure if pdisk is meant for Intel Mac

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  112. Hello, Perro.

    I don’t know, how to thank you for this information.

    The only problem was, I didn’t know, how to navigate trough folders in terminal, then I found this:
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=710382

    In Terminal, if you
    ls /Volumes

    you’ll see all of your drives. You can then cd to one of them (or just cd directly – no need to list the volumes first). For example:
    cd /Volumes/My\ Other\ Drive

    Spaces are replaced by ‘\ ‘. Or you can put the whole thing in quotes:
    cd /Volumes/”My Other Drive”

    If the drive name has no spaces, then you’d just use the name:
    cd /Volumes/MyOtherDrive

    Great information! I will buy you a beer :)

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  113. Perro, I can’t send you the beer, since I get the following Paypal error message, when I press the “Donate” button:

    Error Detected
    Error Message

    We were unable to decrypt the certificate id.
    We were unable to decrypt the certificate id.

    What should I do?

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  114. Listen…. THANKS! Oh snap… You made my day with this tutorial. Bless you! I wish you the best man. All of my data is back now. Thanks again!

    ps. I have done it on Late 2008 Macbook Alu with OS X 10.9.

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  115. Thank you so much! I have added your solution to the apple discussion forums (at least on my question) when all the pros told me that I would have to reformat and reinstall everything…. I wanted to increase the size of my boot camp partition. Paragon’s Bootcamp resizing utility failed. So I was dumb and thought “I’ll just get into disk management on the windows side, and reclaim free space made from osx partition to my Bootcamp partition. FAIL. So your solution basically made my retina mbp bootable again; only two differences. My recovery drive is now displayed, and my Bootcamp partition has disappeared from disk utility however, it still is using the space…leading me to believe the partition map for the Bootcamp partition is shot. I’m still trying to figure out what to do there, but you saved me from the hardest and most time consuming part by not having to reinstall osx! So thank you very much sir!! :) :)

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  116. Hi, I’m new bee in this, I removed my partition map by mistake.

    Also I’m try terminal command to locate TestDisk but i can’t. (Its on download Only)

    Please help

    shahaed

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    • Shahaed,

      Try this. All the following that are preceded by a “>” are intended to be typed, with typing the “>” at the command prompt that may look like that, or could be a “$”. On my terminal, the command prompt starts with machine name, and looks like

      “machine-name:~ username$

      The first thing is what you call your machine, if you named it. It may have a default name, I never pay attention to those.

      The “:” is followed by a “~” (tilde) which indicates that you are in your home directory.

      Your username is what the folder is named that you go to when you select “Home” from the Go menu in the finder.

      Seems redundant, I know.

      Rather than guess at yours, I precede the parts to type with “>” The rest is narrative/direction.

      First. start the terminal by double clicking it in the Applications folder, or if you have dragged it to the Dock for easy access, click it once.

      Next, you want to look at your “Home” directory, so type:

      > cd

      You will likely see no change, as it should boot up with your home directory as the working directory.

      Next, type:

      > ls -la

      All lower case: LS space hyphen LA.

      This will list all the files and folders in your home directory. Try this for a shorter list:

      > ls -l

      that is LS space hyphen L

      The “a” is the message to the OS to show you All the files, without that it leaves some out. Which is fine for our purposes.

      Examine this list. It is probably sorted alphabetically, so Downloads is near the top.

      You can type:

      > cd Downloads

      and then the list command again to see the volumes/disks your machine recognizes.

      TIP: Type cd Dow and, if there is no other folder/directory that begins “Dow” (and capitalized/not capitalized are enough difference) then it will complete the name for you. Hit and you will be in your downloads directory.

      Type the list command:

      >ls -l

      And you will see the files there, including, I think, the one you are looking for.

      HTH

      PS. Also included in the list in any directory you list are two items, named “.” and “..” These are referring to the current folder/directory, and the one immediately “above” the current one in the disk hierarchy. To quickly go up one level type:

      >cd ..

      Have fun!

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  117. Man, you are a Genioussssss !!!!! Saved my Neck !!!! Thank you !!!! I am donating of course !!!!!

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  118. Many thanks to Fam. Just rescued a disk coming out of a malfunctioning LaCie Big Disk mirror.

    Partition table was gone and already replaced by an APT table.

    TestDisk found the original partition.
    iPartition was able to change the partition scheme back to GUID.
    gpt was able to destroy and recreate the correct partition table using Fam’s instructions.

    #happy

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  119. Hi
    I’m not able to fix this.

    From Pdisk
    Disk /dev/rdisk1 -1500 GB / 1397 Gib – 2930277168 sectors
    Partition Start End Size in sectors
    P DOS_FAT_32 40 409639 409600 [EFI ]
    P HFS 409640 2930014983 2929605344

    Now how can i fix this.
    Can anyone please guide me step by step.

    Thanks
    Shahaed

    please reply

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    • You mean from testdisk, not from pdisk, right?

      anyways, this can’t be solved using pdisk, because your current partitioning table is GPT because it has the EFI partition and it starts from block 40, while pdisk creates an APM partitioning table which ends at block 64.

      But if this is an external disk, you can plug it on your mac and do almost the same steps using gdisk instead of pdisk (you just need to check the the proper commands)

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  120. Graid 3 2TB
    MBP 2010 Intel
    (running OSX & Parallels + WIN XP)

    Parallels was definitely the problem here !! Ok we finally got it to work. Some of your instructions aren’t clear after step 7 or 8, but we got it. We used the instructions from CGsecurity.org as well.

    http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/OS_Notes#Mac_OS_X_.28Intel.29

    Notes for non terminal guys like us

    Step 2 – Drag the testdisk-6.14 to your desktop or folder (we named our folder testdisk-6.14. To locate that file in the terminal type

    cd ./Desktop/testdisk-6.14

    Next type

    ls (that’s a lower case “L”)

    Step 10 – no need to copy & paste or handwrite the info in from the testdisk-6.14 analyze test. Just hit enter twice and the screen shot should look just like Perro’s step 9-10 pic.

    sudo pdisk /dev/rdisk1
    Password:
    pdisk: No valid block 1 on ‘/dev/rdisk1′
    Edit /dev/rdisk1 -
    Command (? for help): c
    No partition map exists
    Command (? for help): i
    A physical block is 512 bytes:
    A logical block is 512 bytes:
    size of ‘device’ is 3907050332 blocks (512 byte blocks):
    new size of ‘device’ is 3907050332 blocks (512 byte blocks)
    Command (? for help): c
    First block: 262208
    Length in blocks: 3906788120
    Name of partition: Graid3
    Command (? for help): w
    Writing the map destroys what was there before. Is that okay? [n/y]: y
    The partition table has been altered!

    Command (? for help): q
    ********-MacBook-Pro:testdisk-6.14 ********

    For privacy reasons the ***** are deleted names.

    Thank you so much for posting this and want to reward you for your great efforts !! Please email me when you get a free moment, we have a gift for you !!!!!

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  124. AWSOME!!

    I had a 2 TB WD passport that I accidentally deleted the partition of, and this saved my day!!

    I had to alter the sector size though when hitting the “i” to 4096 since it’s a 2 TB device. So I changed the physical size and the logical size to 4096, and then everything worked like a charm (I didn’t get the map is to big -error) :-)

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  125. I screwed up the first time on step 11.(i.e.Now if you are completely sure you wrote down everything correctly ….), keyd in wrong values…it obviously didnt work the first time, and it also didnt work the second time with the correct values :((

    Did I just flush my data down the drain for good??

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  126. It sounds like I had the exact same issue as your example case – preparing to partition SSD in my new fancy schmancy MBP partitioned a little bit of the external disk (with, essentially, my whole life on it) for the wininstall partition, and then it overwrote the partition table for the entire disk when I was foolishly trusting it to only use the portion I had set aside. Oops.

    Like your example, I immediately unplugged it all, and started looking for solutions. Google+ yielded the link to this page (thanks Matt R.) and I exulted in what appears to be the solution to my problem.

    Unfortunately, I get to the enter start block, enter size, enter volume name and the response to my Volume name is “Bad Size.”

    So, I thought perhaps if I put my volume name (two words) in quotes, that might help.

    New response: requested base and length is not within an existing free partition.

    So, I feel like I am very close to avoiding my appointment at the local Genius Bar by fixing this myself and so being able to cancel, but I am not quite there, and I kind of expect that my affable neighborhood genius is kind of likely to completely fubar this.

    Any ideas?

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    • When I type “p” in pdisk, I get this encouraging message:
      “Partition map (with 512 byte blocks) on ‘/dev/disk2′
      #: type name length base ( size )
      1: Apple_partition_map Apple 63 @ 1
      2: Apple_Free Extra 19535291 @ 64 ( 9.3G)
      3: Apple_HFS Crime 1933989808 @ 19535355 (922.2G)
      4: Apple_Free Extra 5 @ 1953525163

      Device block size=512, Number of Blocks=1953525168 (931.5G)
      DeviceType=0×0, DeviceId=0×0

      I tried just entering the volume name as “Crime” to no avail. New response from above was repeated.

      Anyone here have any ideas?

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    • If you are talking about your MBP hard disk, then I think you and I have the same problem. The problem is that new MBP are partitioned using GPT “GUID partitioning tables”, which takes 40 blocks then most probably have an EFI partition (around 200MB) that starts from block 40.
      But The pdsik program partition your disk to be APM “Apple partition Map” which takes 63 blocks, so if you are trying to put your first partition (EFI, the 200 MB, from block 40 to say 409600, that was in my case), it will always give you this error: requested base and length is not within an existing free partition.)

      so what you have to do is get past this first partition and just put the next ones. The good thing is MBP can boot from APM partitioning tables, and your OSx will boot normally. But if you happened to have a bootcamp (Windows, like in my case) or want to have it in the future, you won’t be able to, because it’s supported on the GPT tables with a hybrid MBR tables. But if you are fine using

      I would like to get my bootcamp back, but so far, I can’t find a way to convert APM to GPT, so I might have to copy my data, format my whole drive and repartition it. But in your case, if you are fine with only your OSx, then you should just skip the first partition as I said and you should be good to go.

      Hope this helps. :)

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  127. Hi,

    it worked, you saved my entire photo collection :D thanks a lot!

    PS, the donate option doesn’t work..(We were unable to decrypt the certificate id.)

    Regards,
    Alex

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      • That is great. This week I start work, and will gladly donate once I get my music library back. So far I have not been able to get this to work for me, which seems odd, since I did the exact same thing your friend did, and I have followed the instruction exactly.

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  128. OMG you’re a lifesaver!

    I had two external drives connected and was about to backup my photos from the last couple of months. I meant to change the partition structure on the backup drive (it was previously used for something else) and accidentally deleted the partition table on the drive with the photos!!

    Testdisk has improved since your article and I didn’t have to use pdisk. Basically once I found the partition I just told it to write the changes. Testdisk isn’t super clear if you haven’t used it before, I was expecting the deleted partition to show up as D for deleted but it was displayed as P for primary but the website documentation is okay if you take your time and read it slowly.

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  129. I just dded over my external HDD, and found this promising guide. Can you please put up a Dogecoin wallet address to donate to in case this works out? Thanks!! You can read about dogecoin in the link I entered. I am 100% serious by the way!

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  130. After following carefully these directions, I keep getting bad size, bad name and requested base and length is not within an existing free partition error messages.

    What am I missing or doing wrong?

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  131. I’m not familiar with using Terminal commands. How did you search for the unzipped Test-disk? When i enter ‘sudo ./testdisk’ into the Terminal it says:

    toms-mbp:~ walkertom$ sudo ./testdisk
    Password:
    sudo: ./testdisk: command not found
    toms-mbp:~ walkertom$

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Cheers, Tom

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    • e.g. if your unzipped testdisk folder is in your downloads folder, type:

      cd ~/downloads/your-unzipped-folder

      (~ is short for your home directory)

      and then execute the sudo command.

      I hope this helps

      big up

      type ‘ls’ to list the data in that folder to make shure you are

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  132. Got the same problem, a 1.5Tb drive that lost the partition map. Went crazy at first, and then found your post. While your solution didn’t help me, it pointed me to Drew’s post, and that really saved my day!

    Thanks to all!

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  133. Hola Podrias ayudarme, me sale lo siguiente después de hacer lo que mencionas con TestDisk

    andres-pc:testdisk-6.14 andres$ sudo pdisk /dev/rdisk2
    Password:
    pdisk: No valid block 1 on ‘/dev/rdisk2′
    Edit /dev/rdisk2 -
    Command (? for help): c
    No partition map exists
    Command (? for help): i
    pdisk: can’t open file ‘/dev/rdisk2′ for writing (Resource busy)

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  134. This is amazing!!!…my HD was not reading…left for over 4 months…decided to look into it today and found your post…you are a life saver!…thanks so much man!… :D

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  135. I also received this message:

    pdisk: can’t open file ‘/dev/rdisk2′ for writing (Resource busy)

    And I cannot continue from there.

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  136. Heyy, Thanks for it.. my system is working back..
    But Now, there is one more problem acquired..
    When I’m going to install Windows 9 on bootcamp partition its giving me all SSD is unallocated space.. you can check it from link
    http://imageshack.com/a/img838/7795/frxt.jpg

    The Mac OS on Disk 0 is working as normal as before, but when I reboot to install windows, there is no separated spaces, also Mac OS partition, its all united..

    What can I do now?

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  137. hi
    power failer make my life nightmare it damage my hackintosh driver
    i try to follow you but with no luck
    my story i have 1 TB hdd first i was partition it to two partition but after i mange to merge the two partition to one partition and everything work fine until that day when power fail tow time it fuck my hdd
    any way i get hopeless and repartition it and install new os but i need my data back not all data only name of folders was in my document

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  138. “13. You are a hero, no matter if it’s your own disk, you just saved your data!”

    No, man… YOU ARE.

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  139. If you are using a regular pitch, then place the tea in a T-sac
    first to make it easier to strain your tea, especially if you
    are using some kind of herbal tea. People who make a point to
    consume foods that contain RGCG keep themselves detoxified.

    Water has miraculous effect in weight reduction by consuming extra calories
    and detoxifying body.

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  140. LIFESAVER!! THANK YOU!!!!!!! poor student else i would definitely donate.

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  141. EVERYONE LOOK HERE if you have a 2TB external Drive. If you have a hard drive over 1TB, it’s most likely have been formatted in HFS+. It most likely has a sector size of 4096.

    Therefore, you have to change the geometry of the drive.
    1. Choose [Mac] or [EFI-GPT] (doesn’t matter).
    2. Choose [Geometry]
    – Change [Heads] to 255, [Sectors] to 63, and [Sector Size] to 4096
    3. [Analyze], and find your Start sector, and size (remember to mentally plus 1 to the number under “END”, for example:

    START END SIZE IN SECTORS
    32776 488370429 488337654

    Now, on another terminal window:
    sudo pdisk /dev/rdisk(x)

    You should see something similar to below (map already exists may not show up). Change physical block, logical block to 4096. Just press ‘ENTER’ for “size of 0 blocks (4096 byte blocks), then for the next prompt, “what should be the size:” enter whatever the number was under the “END” + 1 (so, in this example, it’s 488370429 + 1 = 488370430):

    Command (? for help): i
    map already exists
    do you want to reinit? [n/y]: y
    A physical block is 512 bytes: 4096
    A logical block is 512 bytes: 4096
    size of ‘device’ is 0 blocks (4096 byte blocks):
    what should be the size? 488370430
    new size of ‘device’ is 488370430 blocks (4096 byte blocks)

    Next, press lowercase ‘c’, and enter the first block, and the length in size (START, and SIZE IN SECTORS numbers respectively from TestDisk):

    press ‘w’ and you’re done.

    Complete pdisk prompt below (replace x with what your disk number is):

    $ sudo pdisk /dev/rdisk(x)
    Command (? for help): i
    map already exists
    do you want to reinit? [n/y]: y
    A physical block is 4096 bytes:
    A logical block is 4096 bytes:
    size of ‘device’ is 488370430 blocks (4096 byte blocks):
    new size of ‘device’ is 488370430 blocks (4096 byte blocks)
    Command (? for help): c
    First block: 32776
    Length in blocks: 488337654
    Name of partition: Passport
    Command (? for help): w
    Writing the map destroys what was there before. Is that okay? [n/y]: y
    The partition table has been altered!

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  142. OMG …. AWESOME …. IT WAS SUPER AWESOME …. I JUST GOT MY HDD TO WORK AFTER TWO YEARS …… ALL THE THANKS TO YOU MY BUDDY … MAY YOU LIVE THOUSAND MORE YEARS

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  143. THANK YOU!!!!

    I tried to read some files on my PC from a 500gb External WD formatted from a 2008 Mac. In trying to get the PC to read the disk, I accidentally initialized the drive on the PC thus rewriting the partition. It showed no files whatsoever neither on my PC or my Mac.

    I followed this tutorial as well as one found at
    http://nathanhein.com/2011/12/osx-hard-drive-recovery/#comment-1532
    That tutorial was a little clearer on the pdisk portion.

    On step 8 (after entering pdisk and submitting my password) entering “c” yielded nothing for me. Though on step 9 (after entering “I”) I received,

    map already exists
    do you want to reinit? [n/y]:

    I double checked that I had chosen and written the correct drive (in my case it was dev/rdisk1) and selected “Y”.
    After entering “Y”, the rest of the steps are exactly the same.

    After step 21, it will show a warning that writing the map destroys what was there before. I selected “Y” and after writing “quit” on test disk my drive popped up on the desktop!

    I followed the this tutorial for the testdisk portion and the nathanhein.com tutorial for the rest. This was pretty straight forward and saved my drive!!!!!!

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  144. Thank you for this helpful post.
    Note to others: in my case it worked when I selected /dev/rdisk1.

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  145. I’m still a bit confused about what goes with Apple Partition Map vs GUID and a few other things.

    We have a 1TB HGST HTS721010A9E630 laptop drive, that was accidentally “Partitioned” used 10.9 Disk Utility with a single HFS+ partition. It used to have more than one HFS+ partition.

    http://www.hgst.com/hard-drives/mobile-drives/9.5mm-mobile-hard-drives/travelstar-7k1000

    Daniel suggests changing the Geometry settings for larger drives. The datasheet says this drive is an Advanced Format drive with 4,096 byte sectors. So that is what we want for the Sector Size, but I don’t see where one gets the number of heads or sectors. His example is 255 for Heads, but does any drive really have that many heads?

    Mazen suggests using gdisk instead of pdisk for GPT disks, which I would think this would be. But more people seem to be reporting success with pdisk, then one would expect given how long Intel Macs have been out. Does this matter?

    Lastly, when I run TestDisk, I don’t just get four partitions like Perro and some of the others show, I get quite a few more. This drive may have had some .dmg disk images on it, is that the cause, or are these likely real partitions?

    And how do I tell the new partition accidentally put on by Disk Utility from the ones we want to recover?

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  146. I a new for Mac.

    Problem:
    3.- I issued the command ‘sudo ./testdisk’ it indetially promped me to make my terminal bigger

    How I can use this command (what key I have to press etc.)

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  147. Amazing. Thanks for this guide. I followed your instructions, but got the ‘map not big enough’ error, on a 2TB drive with a single HFS+ partition.

    Then, after two days of puzzling, I realised that testdisk was detecting/hinting that it was a Mac (Apple partition map) partition. But a recent drive of that size should use the testdisk EFI GPT partition table type. So…I restarted testdisk, selected EFI GPT, found the partition, and testdisk wrote the new partition map for me and told me to reboot… It worked! 1.8TB of files and folders back online! And no need to use pdisk etc.

    I couldn’t have done it without this guide to point me in the right direction. Thank you!

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  148. Hey Perro, I’m pretty sure my partition table is effed. I tried your method, but pdisk tells me that “the map is not big enough.” I entered in all the data TestDisk gave me…

    Any ideas?

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  149. Hello,

    I’m also stuck with

    pdisk: can’t open file ‘/dev/disk5′ for writing (Resource busy)

    has anybody managed to get around this? testdisk seems to discourage using pdisk in a not PowerPC environment.

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      • Hi there,

        I had already tried to do that, but every time I try to do so, I get the annoying spinning bach ball. Isn’t pdisk only meant to work under PowerPC?

        thanks for your response!!! :)

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        • Hi Marc,

          If you can’t unmount the drive means something else is using it, I see on your Apple post that you have a NAS solution, perhaps that’s using the resource and not letting you unmount the drive. pdisk should work under powerPC aswell as it’s an apple tool :)

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          • Well, at first I thought that my disk was toast and decided I would get a new disk from Amazon.

            After I got the new disk, I hooked the damaged disk up to my NAS, and to my deep surprise, it mounted just fine, and the data can be accessed with several limitations. Specifically, the data on the damaged disk is Time Machine backups, and, unfortunately, I can’t get those backups over to the new disk (attached to my Mac OS X) because the NAS published the data over AFP which isn’t friends with symbolic and circular links and other stuff to be found on Time Machine backups… Just to be clear, I connected the disk to my NAS just to discover a linux was able to mount the disk. All the steps I report here or on the Apple site are issued on the damaged disk connected back-to-back to my Mac mini.

            I’ve just updated the post on the Apple site with more details.

            Thanks

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  150. An you are the Hero – that for sure !

    On advice to all owner of an external USB drive with Apple Partition Table:
    Don’t plug the device, under what ever circumstances, in to a Android TV Box!
    It looks like Android 4.x identifies the device as empty and format it with a nice FAT Partition including DOS partition-table.

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  151. Hi Perro,
    I did as you adviced but the result from testdisk is very messy. So I do not know what is next step. Could you please help me. This HDD has all my data. Thank you very much.

    Disk /dev/rdisk1 – 500 GB / 465 GiB – 976711728 sectors
    Partition Start End Size in sectors
    > Mac HFS 974201231 975470766 1269536
    Mac HFS 974201296 975470831 1269536
    Mac HFS 974201393 975470928 1269536
    Mac HFS 974201458 975470993 1269536
    Mac HFS 974201555 975471090 1269536
    Mac HFS 974201620 975471155 1269536
    Mac HFS 974201717 975471252 1269536
    Mac HFS 974201782 975471317 1269536
    Mac HFS 974201855 975471390 1269536
    Mac HFS 974201920 975471455 1269536
    Mac HFS 974202017 975471552 1269536
    Mac HFS 974202082 975471617 1269536
    Mac HFS 974202179 975471714 1269536
    Mac HFS 974202244 975471779 1269536
    Mac HFS 974202341 975471876 1269536
    Mac HFS 974202406 975471941 1269536
    Mac HFS 974202503 975472038 1269536
    Mac HFS 974202568 975472103 1269536
    Mac HFS 974202665 975472200 1269536
    Mac HFS 974202730 975472265 1269536
    Mac HFS 974202859 975472394 1269536
    Mac HFS 974202924 975472459 1269536
    Mac HFS 974202979 975472514 1269536
    Mac HFS 974203052 975472587 1269536
    Mac HFS 974203117 975472652 1269536
    Mac HFS 974203214 975472749 1269536
    Mac HFS 974203279 975472814 1269536
    Mac HFS 974203376 975472911 1269536
    Mac HFS 974203441 975472976 1269536
    Mac HFS 974203538 975473073 1269536
    Mac HFS 974203603 975473138 1269536
    Mac HFS 974203700 975473235 1269536
    Mac HFS 974203765 975473300 1269536
    Mac HFS 974203838 975473373 1269536
    Mac HFS 974203903 975473438 1269536
    Mac HFS 974203968 975473503 1269536
    Mac HFS 974204033 975473568 1269536
    ….

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  152. Hi Perro,
    I did as you adviced but the result from testdisk is very messy. So I do not know what is next step. Could you please help me. This HDD has all my data. Thank you very much.

    Disk /dev/rdisk1 – 500 GB / 465 GiB – 976711728 sectors
    Partition Start End Size in sectors
    > Mac HFS 974201231 975470766 1269536
    Mac HFS 974201296 975470831 1269536
    Mac HFS 974201393 975470928 1269536
    Mac HFS 974201458 975470993 1269536
    Mac HFS 974201555 975471090 1269536
    Mac HFS 974201620 975471155 1269536
    Mac HFS 974201717 975471252 1269536
    Mac HFS 974201782 975471317 1269536
    Mac HFS 974201855 975471390 1269536
    Mac HFS 974201920 975471455 1269536
    Mac HFS 974202017 975471552 1269536
    Mac HFS 974202082 975471617 1269536
    Mac HFS 974202179 975471714 1269536
    Mac HFS 974202244 975471779 1269536
    Mac HFS 974202341 975471876 1269536
    Mac HFS 974202406 975471941 1269536
    Mac HFS 974202503 975472038 1269536
    Mac HFS 974202568 975472103 1269536
    Mac HFS 974202665 975472200 1269536
    … etc

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  153. Tried both test disk & disk warrior and DW seems to be a better option than test Disk but too costly. Then tried Stellar Volume Repair which was half the price of Disk Warrior and rebuilds Mac OS X partition. Hence, this tool is cheaper than its competitor and achieves high on results. Also, this is a fine alternative for Disk Utility http://www.stellarinfo.com/blog/the-efficiency-of-stellar-volume-repair-in-comparison-to-disk-utility/

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  154. Awesome! Amazing!
    It’s been six months I’m looking how to fix my disk, thank you

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  155. Excellent site. A lot of useful info here. I’m sending it to a few pals ans also
    sharing in delicious. And naturally, thanks on your effort!

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  156. HELP!!
    After several “analyse” that only revealed my “P Mac HFS” partition (when I ran EFI GPT option) out the 3 that I originally had, I tried to analyse with the unformatted option selected. Then I got this message.

    Disk /dev/rdisk1 – 2000 GB / 1863 GiB – 3907029168 sectors

    The harddisk (2000 GB / 1863 GiB) seems too small! ( VMFS 1445456508 30328706640183218 30328705194726710

    My 3 partitions were formatted originally as:

    ex-fat and mac journaled I think. Is there anything else I can do or did I lose everything??

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        • If you mean, before the breakdown of the hard drive, no. It was working properly, until one day my computer could not find it when I plugged it in.

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    • The harddisk (2000 GB / 1863 GiB) seems too small! ( VMFS 1445456508 30328706640183218 30328705194726710

      Sorry, I missed to post the whole message! Thanks in advance!

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  157. The following partitions can’t be recovered:
    Partition Start End Size in sectors
    SysV 4 874389474 47499447681 46625058208 [~v^?x ]
    > VMFS 1445456508 30328706640183218 30328705194726710

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  158. Hi, thanks for the tutorial! I have but one issue. When I enter the command pdisk /dev/rdisk1 on step 8, I get a floating point exception. I don’t see this covered in your tutorial, and I wanted to know if you had any knowledge on resolving this issue. Thank you.

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  159. Hi, I’m kind of desperate here since I accidentally erased the partition on Disk Utility while trying to erase another disk, and it was replaced with a new partition.

    To make things worse this macbook is from a client, and I’m really worried about it.

    I followed all your instructions, but the only partition I get to work is the new one, which have overwritten the original, so the files are not there.

    I also got a lot partitions with close “start values” from the new partition in testdisk (all with the same size in sectors), but I tried all of them (about 15) and all of them renders an unreadable disk from Mac OS X.

    Do you have any idea on how could I get my old partition to be read instead of the one that replaced it?

    Thank you,

    Cassio

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  160. Data recovery on a MAC HFS journalled external drive | Ben Powell

  161. I followed the instructions and it didn’t work for me, so I think I’m missing something. If anyone feels that they have this down please let me know. I’d be willing to pay someone who’s really good at this to re-write my external hd disk partition. It could be done remotely with jabber screen-sharing. This is my last resort before throwing the HD in the garbage. Thanks!

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