Image a MacBook hard drive on Windows and recover data

My aging 6 year old Macbook finally bit the dust, sort of. I bought a larger refurbished hard drive for it to keep it going but it turns out they didn’t refurbish it as well as I hoped. I found this out while trying to back it up. The MacBook kept locking up either because the drive was or because it was trying to do something the drive didn’t like. Either way it was constantly dropping the connection to my server so my backup jobs and simple file transfer weren’t working. Before the drive completely failed I decided to make an image of it to ensure I didn’t lose anything. I had some time machine backups on another disk but they were a few weeks old and most of my pictures and some other documents I was working on resided on the MacBook.

Imaging a MacBook hard drive is pretty easy. I used Acronis home image and used the rescue boot media. The boot media is a CD you can boot off that puts you in the basic acronis interface so you can backup or clone drives. Since Acronis won’t natively read the HFS partition I went ahead and did a straight image into Acronis .tib format. I stored the tib on a drive on my server. Acronis doesn’t really care about the partition format on a drive when you do an image. Simply boot off the CD with another computer and connect the drive. This can be done directly over sata (faster) or through USB (little slower). It will detect your drives and all you need to do is create an image and choose your MacBook drive.

After creating the image I mounted it using Acronis within Windows and then used an app called HFS explorer to open the MacBook partition. I was then able to extract the data I needed onto a normal Windows partition. After that it was simply a matter of transferring the files onto my new Windows 8 laptop, more on that to come.

TL;DR – Use Acronis boot to create an image of your MacBook drive. Mount the image with Acronis in Windows. Use HFS Explorer to extract the data.

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