Urgent help needed with old Mac hard drive


disfasia

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Help. I have my old Mac drive that is only accessible through it's USB port. To clarify--it is ONLY the hard drive as the computer screen was broken and it was just more economical to buy a new computer and save the drive. So I have a 2013 Retina Macbook Pro which has only USB and Thunderbolt 2. The problem is that USB to USB ports will not allow the drive enough power to turn on and I am pretty sure I need a USB to Thunderbolt cable.

Is this correct? If so, where can I get this? I called up the Apple store and they had no idea. I really hope USB-3 can be the end of connections for some time.

Thanks in advance!
 

honestone

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First, is it correct that the hard drive you are having issues with was originally inside your prior Mac, or has it always been an external drive?

Secondly, it seems the case the drive is in uses the USB "bus" for power. Not sure if a USB to Thunderbolt cable will make much difference. Maybe you could purchase another external case that has a plug, so that it can get its power from a wall outlet instead of from your Mac.

I have two external devices containing Samsung SSDs, and when I connect either of them to a USB port on either of my Macs, they work fine. Sure seems strange that the USB port on your Mac can't supply the power, but maybe there is something about the drive.

By the way, what model is the hard drive?
 
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disfasia

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Yes, this was my old internal drive for my computer. External drives are different which is why they can be read from USB alone. I remember at the Mac store when they hooked my drive to their computers they used a firewire cable to their computer and the booted it command-T. I think the issue is that the computer hard drives are not formatted in the same way that external drives are, or rather when plugged in do not just show up as a drive. I could be wrong, but the reason why I could only see my drive through firewire and command-T must have been for a reason I think.

I will open it up to see the model of the drive later today.
 

honestone

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For all the drives/SSDs I have owned (including ones that were previously inside a Mac I had owned), I have always been able to "see" the drive in an external closure attached, via USB, to the newer Mac. Also, whether internal or external, one can format the drive in the same manner, For example, inside each of my Macs, each SSD is formatted as APFS (I am using High Sierra). Also, two of the partitions on one of my external SSDs are formatted as APFS (use them for SuperDuper! backups), and the third partition is formatted as Mac OS Extended (Journaled). For my other external SSD, all 3 partitions are formatted as APFS (again using 2 of them for SuperDuper! backups). I never have any issues with any of that.

What else do you have connected to your Mac? If it has another USB port, try that. Any possibility it could be an issue with the USB cable? Again, I have never heard of such an issue. Have you ever been able to connect the drive to any Mac?
 

Cory Cooper

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Hello and welcome.

Just a few points of clarification:

1. All Mac internal drives (w/SATA connection) can be used in an external enclosure. Connectivity then depends on compatibility of the Mac's ports and the ports of the external enclosure - i.e. USB, FireWire, Thunderbolt, etc.

2. Target Disk Mode is supported via FireWire, Thunderbolt, and USB-C/Thunderbolt 3, but not USB 2/3.
How to use target disk mode to move files to another computer

-Can you startup your MacBook Pro in Target Disk Mode?
-Do you have another computer that you can connect it to if you can?

C
 

disfasia

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I can open my Mac in Target Disk mode but I don't have the cable for this computer as it is a lightening drive. Nobody in my town sells this cable. Do you know of a cable that is lighting to USB? I cannot find one anywhere? I have an old Mac with firewire but no cable firewire-usb for that connection.

Yes, I can start up both my computers in target disk mode. The problem are the cables. I called up Apple last week and they have no cable. I looked on Amazon and all I am able to find is an "adaptor" which is about €120. But is an adaptor and not a cable necessary?

Thanks!
 

honestone

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I thought the drive was out of the old Mac, not inside it. What ports does your old Mac have?
 

Cory Cooper

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Lightning is the connector on an iPad/iPhone.

When using Target Disk Mode, you have to startup your MBP in TDM, then connect it to another Mac, as it will mount as a drive on the other Mac. You cannot startup in TDM and connect a hard drive directly to it to copy data off. You can use a Thunderbolt cable to Thunderbolt or FireWire to connect it to your other Mac. You won't be able to use USB for this.

That help?

C
 

disfasia

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I don't understand what you mean. I have connected this drive before to a Macbook directly and used TDM to do it. I don't understand why I need another Mac to do this. I don't have a USB-thunderbolt 2 cable. I cannot find any such cable for sale anywhere. This is the issue. When I connected this disk to a Macbook, I was in a Mac store using a guest computer they let me use and they supplied the cable. I literally cannot find a thunderbolt 2 to USB A cable anywhere.
 
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honestone

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I guess some clarification by the op is needed.

From what I understand, your old Mac has a broken screen, and the hard drive is still inside it. Correct?

Secondly, you are trying to connect that old Mac to a newer, functioning one, with the hope of "seeing" the drive, via Target Disk Mode, on that newer Mac, correct?

Third, what kind of ports are on your older Mac?

From what you stated, your newer Mac has USB ports, and a Thunderbolt port. The only way you can connect the two machines so that the internal hard drive on the "deficient" Mac can be seen by the new one in TDM is if the older Mac has a Firewire 800 port, or a Thunderbolt port.

Assuming your older Mac does not have such a port, what you should be able to do is remove the drive from the older Mac, and install it inside an external case. That external case only needs a USB port (or ports). (Of course this assumes the old drive works fine).

It might be helpful if you can tell us 1) the exact Mac model your old machine is, and 2) the model of the internal drive. In fact, if we know what the Mac model is, there is a site we can point you to that will explain how to remove that internal drive.
 

disfasia

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My older Mac was destroyed at the hinge and it was deemed irreparable so the technicians put the old HD in a casing which only has a USB port. I am trying now to connect it to a 2013 Macbook Pro which only has thunderbolt 2 ports. The way the technicians did it before when they let me use one of their computers to work, was through target disk mode to one of their computers so that I was using my old drive to do everything as I recall. Connecting this drive to my USB port does not show it as visible, hence my thinking is that I need a thunderbolt2-USB cable. Do these exist? Thanks!
 

honestone

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Is this your current Mac?

https://support.apple.com/kb/sp669?locale=en_US

If it is, it has 2 USB 3 ports. and 2 Thunderbolt ports. If not, please provide the exact model number of your Mac, and if possible, a link like I provided.

You can purchase an external case with a Firewire 800 port (definitely cheaper than ones with a Thunderbolt port), and then purchase a Thunderbolt-to-Firewire 800 cable.
 

Cory Cooper

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Sorry, I thought you were saying the drive was still in the non-functioning MBP.

If you have the old drive in a USB enclosure, and want to connect it to a 2103" Retina MBP, you can use one of the 2 USB ports...you don't need a Thunderbolt to USB adapter. If the drive is not recognized, then the enclosure may be bad, the drive may be bad, or there is a USB power issue. However, the MBP has enough USB bus power for an external USB enclosure with a 2.5" drive in it.

-Can you confirm what your old Mac model was that the drive came out of?
-Is it a 2.5" MacBook family drive, or a 3.5" desktop (iMac) drive in the enclosure?
-What brand is the enclosure?
-Can you upload some photos to ensure we are all on the same page?

Thanks,

C
 

honestone

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The other possibility about it not being recognized would be the USB cable.
 

disfasia

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OK finally I have a moment to open this: it is a Hitachi drive. Here is what it says in the photo.

And is ti normal that I can't read it through my USB (ie. that it doesn't show up)?

Thanks!
 

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disfasia

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Honestone, I have many USB cables and it doesn't show up. I recall the Mac shop making it go to the firewire. It was four years ago and I was just so grateful that they let me finish my book in their office.... so I don't remember it precisely but they had one connector to another to the computer's firewire and it booted up on my HD>
 

honestone

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Sorry to hear you are still having issues. But if the drive is OK, it should show up. However, as Cory mentioned above, it could be a problem with the enclosure. Also, seems like you have eliminated the cable being an issue. And, I assume you have tried all 3 USB ports on your Mac, and still no go?

As I mentioned above, you can purchase an external case with a Firewire 800 port (definitely cheaper than ones with a Thunderbolt port), and then purchase a Thunderbolt-to-Firewire 800 cable. But maybe try and determine if your current enclosure is good or not. Do you know anyone with a Mac that you could try it on, or a shop/store you could take it to and try and plug it into a Mac?

BTW, when I did a google search of that model number (HTB-HTS543232L95AO), it showed it is a 5400 rpm, 320 gig 2.5" drive.
 

disfasia

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The enclosure was fine four years ago when last I used it. But yes, I will try to have it read from another computer. But literally nothing has happened to this drive. It has been safely in storage. Why would it suddenly not show up do you think? Thanks again!
 

honestone

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Could you let us know the exact make and model of the enclosure? Given that you have let the drive sit idle for the vlast 4 years, it would seem to be an issue with the enclosure, and possibly most likely the USB port on it.
 
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disfasia

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It is a nondescript enclosure, very basic, no brand. I don't think it is the enclosure. I am pretty sure that the drive needs to be powered to be seen by the computer. I am not convinced that just plugging into a USB port would make that drive visible. Otherwise why wouldn't that have been done the first time?
 

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