How to try to and fix an old macbook pro with a broken hard disk and recover the data from it.
This macbook pro had boot issues, whereby it just displayed the spinning disc logo endlessly. So something was broken. This particular macbook pro has a couple of other ailments, one being the DVD drive – it does not work. So after a little searching online I copied over the mac installer DVD disc that came with the macbook to an 8gb USB stick.
I then booted the macbook pro from the usb stick by holding the option key on boot and selecting the usb drive. It booted to the installer screen.
I navigated to disk utility and tried to repair the internal HDD under first aid. This did not work. I was reluctant to re-format the disk to reinstall as there was data on the disc that was needed. So I attached a spare USB hard drive (reformatted to mac extended journalled) and selected to install Snow Leopard directly to it.
The installation took 30 minutes ish and installed fine.
It then rebooted and was working fine. The mac will now continue to work fine as long as the external hard drive is connected upon boot.
The next step was to try to recover the data, I located it and copied the important files to the external hard drive. This worked fine but took a little time.
Once everything was copied, I shutdown the macbook and removed the external hdd. Then I attached the usb stick with the osx installer, booted and went into to disk utility and formatted the internal HDD.
Once complete I proceeded to install Snow Leopard and hope the drive was OK. In installed fine.
Once complete it rebooted and is now working fine, the internal HDD’s days may be numbered though! But the important data was recovered and is now backed up.