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How to recover data on Mac disk?

Updated on January 23, 2015

Mac provides its best features to safeguard data, but that had to be implemented from the very beginning. Mac offers Time Machine feature to take incremental backup of the hard drive. Once TM is setup, it will take back up of the drive twice in a day. User can also choose ‘Backup Now’ option to take Mac backup at any suitable day/nighttime. Since the inclusion of Time Machine in Macs, the users have become self-aware and data recoveries have become instant. Time Machine has cut down the loss of important files to a great extent. Though Time Machine is good but it isn’t perfect. To overcome shortcoming of Time Machine, it is best to clone the Mac hard drive.

To restore lost/deleted/formatted data from Time Machine:

  1. Click 'Enter Time Machine
  2. Navigate through time (date)
  3. Right click files/folder and copy to destination.
  4. Alternatively, to restore complete drive backup you need to restart Mac and press Command + R to bring Recovery Mode. Once through, use ‘Restore from Time Machine’ to copy all data to Macintosh HD.

Again, just like Time Machine, the cloning of the Mac hard drive should be done from the very beginning. The advantage of cloning Mac disk over Time Machine is that it creates bootable backup of the Mac drives. There are plenty of genuine third party utilities available for cloning an entire Mac disk. One such cloning tool is Carbon Copy Cloner, which is the first choice to clone Mac computer.

In time of a trouble, user can bring out its clone copy, connect to Mac and launch carbon copy cloner. Use source drive to copy all data to destination through clone software.

Drive recovery in case of formatting, unmount drive or no backup available.

Despite of all our efforts, it is quite possible that we may lose data due to an unmount hard drive. Or there is no Time Machine and clone backup to restore data back to Mac. In such cases, data recovery software for Mac is recommended to extract data from the scratch. Mac data recovery software is helpful tool to restore deleted files, formatted drives, unmounted drives and even recover files from a corrupt Mac disk. Though, data recovery from corruption largely depends upon the severity of the disk failure. No such software will be able to recover data from a physically damaged hard drive.

To restore data through Mac recovery software, you need to:

  1. Download data recovery software. (Stellar Phoenix Mac data recovery is one of the most genuine and recommendable file recovery tool for OS X Mac.)
  2. Run file recovery option. Or user may also customize the recovery through Software preferences. Preferences allow select/unselect file types, add or remove certain files.
  3. Select recovery type i.e. deleted file recovery/formatted file recovery/unmounts drive recovery/RAW recovery etc.
  4. Scan the drive with one of the above mentioned file recovery option
  5. Preview and recover the file(s). Save the recovered files to an external hard drive.

Undoubtedly, data recovery software seems to be great rescuers when things are pretty bad. Though proper channels of file backup can help user avoid loss of useful files to a great extent. But again catastrophic loss of files can occur on Time Machine drives and on clone backups. Keeping this in mind, user can always find a middle way solution, like running recovery software in order to restore Mac data.


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      David Parkar 3 years ago

      Even after deleting or losing data from Mac hard drive you can recover those data from Mac Time machine which backup all recent data. If you failed to recover data from it then you have to get assistance from third party data recovery application like Remo Recover Mac..

    • Peter Oscars profile image

      Peter Oscars 3 years ago

      Yes, Time Machine is better option to maintain backup of Mac drive. But the case of attempting wrong step may lead to data loss. The same happened with me when I was trying to migrate entire Mac data from Mac Mini to MacBook Pro. Complete volume got disappeared. When I ran this software, got that complete volume back. Basically, GUI has 3 options and this software can recover data from formatted drive and emptied trash too. One best thing which I noticed is, we can resume the data recovery process as needed later in future apart from making an image of entire drive.