It can be not only extremely confusing but mind-boggling as well to come to terms with the fact that the file structure on your internal hard drive has changed. Moments ago it held all of your data and now everything is gone, damaged, no longer exists. For those individuals who have experienced this, and have been able to use some data recovery software, this will be the most confusing situation. After all, from first glance, it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
In this instance, there is only one way to recover data. It is to search files by the extension RAW recovery method. However, this is not as easy as it may sound simply because there happen to be millions of different extensions. But not all of them are available for recovery through even the most advanced data recovery software applications. This would include such recovery tools as R-Studio which can recover data from Mac-based file systems including HFS+ and APFS.
Is this a familiar situation for you?
Have you experienced it before? Well, even if this is the first time you have heard this, the following information will save you the heartbreak as the data is not gone. Nor is it damaged.
This is why sometimes it is best to try not to figure out what is going on with your computer on your own. This happens to be why we see many cases – a user will “lose” files and attempt to recover them only to cause further damage to the components required to permit recovery. This is why I strongly suggest that unless you have a history in the data recovery field, that you leave these tasks to the professionals. They have the skills and tools to save most or all of your data. When recovery is possible. Do not try to do it on your own. You may render salvageable data unsalvageable.
Let me explain.
These types of data recovery cases typically involve a well-known structure related to how Mac systems will tell your hard drive to partition and store files. SSD + Regular spinning hard drives are the only time this will happen OR happens. SSD will be used to boot up your computer and the regular spinning drive will store your files.
It is a rather bad combination if you ask me. This is also why more Mac users are facing this confusion when dealing with data recovery. If the regular spinning hard drive becomes unstable – for whatever reason – OR the SSD, the two will stop communicating with each other and you now have a serious problem. In most cases, users will begin scanning the drive(s) with software individually. Only they will conclude that the file system is damaged beyond repair.
Professional Data Recovery
Your next step here would be to visit a professional data recovery lab. That is because this is far from a DIY project for you to attempt. However, a qualified service center will have little issue with this and the recovery process for them should be fairly simple. When I say “fairly simple” that should translate to mean that it will not be a costly recovery for you to pay.
With this type of failure, the file structure fragment is taken from the SSD and used to populate the folders on a regular spinning hard drive. This will require you to submit both hard drives to the recovery center. In fact, this would be an absolute necessity and will save you time when you will be requested to find that SSD.
Sadly, when the SSD fails without any way to successfully repair or recover, you are left with just one option. That is the recovery in RAW and you will be limited to just the file extensions within the recovery software. A data recovery engineer, on the other hand, can add to that list but to do that, you will be required to provide at least one reference file for this to happen.
Hopefully, I have been able to clear up some of your confusion concerning Mac data recovery. If you encounter a scenario where your files have “suddenly” disappeared, they may not be gone. I appreciate feedback and you can send me yours in the comment section.
About the author: Yevgeniy Kapishon is a hardcore techno enthusiast, a senior data recovery engineer, and a blogger at Aesonlabs® Data Recovery Systems, living in Toronto, Canada. In his free time, he likes to wander and explore the back alleys of his neighborhood or carve into his favorite sci-fi flicks.