Thursday, November 6, 2008

Recovering files off my very old and very dead Macbook G4

My beloved old Macbook G4 (circa 2001) finally died. Nothing, and I mean nothing, happened when I pressed the power button, meaning it was probably a power board issue. I removed the back cover and took out the hard drive. Apparently you are supposed to have some fancy smancy screwdriver to remove two Torx screws holding the drive to the mount plate, but luckily I was able to carefully pry the drive out with a non-smancy screwdriver (the screws are fitted into rubber rings in the plastic mount plate, which has some give).

The drive itself could not fit into my external casing due to the Torx screws, but I was able to connect the USB connector to the IDE interface anyway and connect it to my ACER.

(here the drive is sitting on a protective sheet that came in my Mac. I would not recommend just plunking it down on just any old surface)

Windows XP could not recognize the MAC formatted drive (Quel surprise!) so I booted up in Ubuntu, which recognized the drive right away.

The next challenge was to unlock all the directories so I could access the files. All my personal files were denoted with:
meaning that only the owner can access them. Since I cannot login to my MAC, this is a problem.

I was not actually sure if this would work, but I ran a chmod command as root to add the needed permissions. I opened a terminal window and navigated to the mounted hard drive where I ran the following command:

monica@Tzedakah:/media/Scooby$ sudo chmod -R +xrw Documents/

the -R causes the permissions to be changed for the Documents directory as well as all subdirectories and files. Now all the permissions on all the files denoted by:
meaning I can read/write/execute all files, group permissions are read/execute, and others can only execute.

This is great, as I can now look into to the subdirectories and see what is there. I found a bunch of papers I had written in college, including my undergrad thesis.

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