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After blackout Mac-formatted ext. hard drive won't mount says its pc-formatted

Okay, there was a power failure at my house today which removed my Lacie 500GB hard drive from my MacBook Pro running Leopard. When I reconnected the hard disk it wouldn't mount. Using Disk Utility I was able to see the disk, it says its not a mac formatted disk, but a pc-formatted disk and won't mount it or recognize how I named it (I have never connected it to a pc and it very definitely was mac-formatted before--I hadn't partitioned it or anything but used it straight out of the box). I had a friend come over with his PC laptop and it mounted there with all the files seemingly intact--we opened some of them and everything you're not supposed to be able to do this without the appropriate application! I've no idea what happened. Any way I can get those files back for my mac to read without reformatting the disk and losing what still is there. PLEASE HELP. I'm editing a documentary and all the Final Cut Pro files are there! Its 300GB in there.

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  • Mahinavai Jan 25, 2008

    Well, I smoked and drank and sang Hallelujah. As strange as it may sound I plugged it in to my mac this morning just to check things out and it mounted and everything was in there. Disk Utility said it was Fat formatted and I ran a repair--everything seemed back to normal except Disk Warrior still said it wasn't Mac-formatted and wouldn't mount (but there it was....). I connected it to my father's computer and copied everything just in case (can't trust it anymore) and will save things onto a DVD everyday in the meantime so as to not lose any of the daily work. I've no idea what happened, can't explain it, but cheers, puff, Hallelujah.



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Here is my best guess and strong suggestion. First do nothing else until you have your work off loaded to some other drive or media....and I mean do nothing....don't even turn it off until this is completed. Once that is done verify your work is there. Then learn to smoke or drink and sing hallelujah.

My best guess is you lost the FAT (file allocation table)...meaning it got (literally) zapped by the power failure (spike) which makes sense since it's continually being accessed. Lacie should have a disk diagnostics program on their website....that loaded onto a diskette or cd would be my first step. It will tell you if the drive is good or not. If good and after you have off loaded your files to a safe media then the fastest solution is probably to reformat and reload your applications then reload your files. I say fastest as (in my twilight years) I have almost (it's a pride thing) given up solving hard problems the hard way...particularly when they can be both hardware and software interrelated.

A couple of other points....uploading to the net your files (even if it costs) or using a bit torrent to transfer to a friends machine (pay for the other drive) or using raid (which I am not a big fan of) or copying them to a one touch....(possibly the least expensive solution (just start it at's not fast the first time and do it daily). You have too much invested to get had by Mother Nature.

Why would I tell you this....well, there was the time I worked all night to finish some code and just as I finished (without saving once) and feeling satisfied I stretched back, extended legs and knocked the plug out of the socket. I also had a computer shop
wipe my disconnected spare duplicate drive at the same time they wiped my master. Today, and I have multiple large projects I work on (mine...not others), and despite more backups in more ways than you can imagine I am still subject to bouts of paranoia.

Lastly....Am not up to date with Mac but at some of the freeware sites I have run across utilities that might be of help. Trying to restore the fat (Windows keeps two copies) might be a possibility and I assume Mac has something similar. But I would only attempt this based on what the drive diagnostics results are....i.e. if you have more than 4 bad clusters it's probably not worth taking the chance of another major disruption. Hope this helps or at least points you in the right direction. Tango

Posted on Jan 25, 2008


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