So my downstairs neighbour’s macbook died the other day.
I wasn’t surprised it died, it was a 2010 MBP. Considering it lasted 12 years before suffering a terminal logic board failure, I’ll write up as “pretty good going”.
Mind you, I did replace the CPU fan a couple of years ago, and swapped the original HDD for a samsung SSD about 4 years ago.
Funnily enough, neither of those parts were what failed this time. This time the GPU just up and quit, and instead of buying a replacement logic board, my neighbour bought a 2nd hand 2017 MBP.
Which meant that the only thing I had to do was get her data off the old SSD and load it up onto the new one.
I had hoped that this would be as simple as plugging it in with a dock, and copying the data off within Finder.
Unfortunately, something in the process of the old MBP dying (and being rebooted uncleanly, many many times) had effectively made the old SSD unreadable.
But HFS+ is a Journaled File System, I hear you cry. So how do we recover the journal, and recover the data?
[4230540.946280] usb-storage 2-1.1:1.0: USB Mass Storage device detected [4230540.946621] usb-storage 2-1.1:1.0: Quirks match for vid 2537 pid 1068: 800000 [4230540.946689] scsi host8: usb-storage 2-1.1:1.0 [4230545.248786] scsi 8:0:0:0: Direct-Access XDISK X9 BB6Q PQ: 0 ANSI: 6 [4230545.249591] sd 8:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg4 type 0 [4230545.250407] sd 8:0:0:0: [sde] 488397168 512-byte logical blocks: (250 GB/233 GiB) [4230545.251506] sd 8:0:0:0: [sde] Write Protect is off [4230545.251510] sd 8:0:0:0: [sde] Mode Sense: 43 00 00 00 [4230545.252616] sd 8:0:0:0: [sde] Write cache: disabled, read cache: enabled, doesn't support DPO or FUA [4230545.335804] sd 8:0:0:0: [sde] Attached SCSI disk
Dmesg sees it as /dev/sde, but for some reason, neither fdisk or gparted can see any partition data.
First step. Make a bit-wise copy, so we’re working on the copy for the recovery operations. Not only is this faster, because it doesn’t have to go thru the USB dock, but if we fuck it up, we’ve only fucked up a copy.
dd if=/dev/sde of=/recovery/recovery.img
This takes a while. I went off to have dinner in the meantime. When I came back I had a 250GB disk image file.
This first step is REALLY important in any kind of data recovery / forensic examination process. The last thing you want to do is compromise any data you may have remaining by running the wrong command in the wrong shell window.
Next, I installed
hfsprogs which contains the
I tried straight up
fdisk /recovery/recovery.img which saw that it was a 250G ‘volume’ but didn’t see any partitions within.
gparted, which also saw the correct size, but failed to identify any volumes.
I then wanted to check that the data was actually within the disk image, so ran
binwalk on it, which identified a bunch of EFI filesystem space, and then a load of other files - This was a good sign, worst case scenario, I could have used
binwalk -e and extracted all the things that binwalk could find.
However, working with a filesystem is always easier when you can interact with it as a filesystem, rather than a bucket of file.
losetup --partscan --find --show recovery.img, but got some interesting errors:
Warning: Disk has a valid GPT signature but invalid PMBR. Assuming this disk is *not* a GPT disk anymore. Use gpt kernel option to override. Use GNU Parted to correct disk.
I’ve already tried
gparted / GNU Parted — but this gave me a hint about what might be going on. What if the disk has a GPT signature, but has lost the rest of the MBR. We know the data’s on there, so all we need now is to repair the GPT / MBR, and have another shot with
gdisk - it’s like
fdisk but for GPT.
Documentation I followed loosely: https://www.rodsbooks.com/gdisk/repairing.html
sudo gdisk recovery.img GPT fdisk (gdisk) version 1.0.5 Partition table scan: MBR: not present BSD: not present APM: not present GPT: present Found valid GPT with corrupt MBR; using GPT and will write new protective MBR on save. Command (? for help): ? b back up GPT data to a file c change a partition's name d delete a partition i show detailed information on a partition l list known partition types n add a new partition o create a new empty GUID partition table (GPT) p print the partition table q quit without saving changes r recovery and transformation options (experts only) s sort partitions t change a partition's type code v verify disk w write table to disk and exit x extra functionality (experts only) ? print this menu Command (? for help): w Final checks complete. About to write GPT data. THIS WILL OVERWRITE EXISTING PARTITIONS!! Do you want to proceed? (Y/N): y OK; writing new GUID partition table (GPT) to recovery.img. Warning: The kernel is still using the old partition table. The new table will be used at the next reboot or after you run partprobe(8) or kpartx(8) The operation has completed successfully.
I didn’t actually do anything other than just write back the GPT.
fdisk was able to list the partitions!
sudo fdisk -l recovery Disk recovery: 232.91 GiB, 250059350016 bytes, 488397168 sectors Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes Disklabel type: gpt Disk identifier: 9C882443-6F2B-497E-8F1A-EF375C4241DB Device Start End Sectors Size Type recovery1 40 409639 409600 200M EFI System recovery2 409640 487127591 486717952 232.1G Apple Core storage recovery3 487127592 488397127 1269536 619.9M Apple boot
Which means we can mount them!
sudo losetup --partscan --find --show recovery.img /dev/loop46
losetup basically creates a loopback device to the image file, and makes mounting partitions significantly easier.
Now running fdisk against
/dev/loop46 shows mountable partitions.
(base) user@sugarloaf:/media/user/music/recovery$ sudo fdisk /dev/loop46 Welcome to fdisk (util-linux 2.34). Changes will remain in memory only, until you decide to write them. Be careful before using the write command. Command (m for help): p Disk /dev/loop46: 232.91 GiB, 250059350016 bytes, 488397168 sectors Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes Disklabel type: gpt Disk identifier: 9C882443-6F2B-497E-8F1A-EF375C4241DB Device Start End Sectors Size Type /dev/loop46p1 40 409639 409600 200M EFI System /dev/loop46p2 409640 487127591 486717952 232.1G Apple Core storage /dev/loop46p3 487127592 488397127 1269536 619.9M Apple boot Command (m for help): q
(base) user@sugarloaf:/media/user/music/recovery$ sudo mount /dev/loop46p2 /mnt/hfs/ mount: /mnt/hfs: wrong fs type, bad option, bad superblock on /dev/loop46p2, missing codepage or helper program, or other error.
[4242985.734827] hfsplus: invalid secondary volume header [4242985.734829] hfsplus: unable to find HFS+ superblock
So there’s still something not quite right. But a while ago, we installed hfsprogs, which has
sudo fsck.hfsplus /dev/loop46p2 ** /dev/loop46p2 ** Checking HFS Plus volume. fsck_hfs: Volume is journaled. No checking performed. fsck_hfs: Use the -f option to force checking. (base) user@sugarloaf:/media/user/music/recovery$ sudo fsck.hfsplus -f /dev/loop46p2 ** /dev/loop46p2 ** Checking HFS Plus volume. ** Checking Extents Overflow file. ** Checking Catalog file. ** Checking multi-linked files. Orphaned indirect node iNode12107050 ** Checking Catalog hierarchy. Invalid directory item count (It should be 108391 instead of 108392) Invalid directory item count (It should be 37 instead of 36) ** Checking Extended Attributes file. ** Checking volume bitmap. Volume Bit Map needs minor repair ** Checking volume information. Volume Header needs minor repair ** Repairing volume. ** Rechecking volume. ** Checking HFS Plus volume. ** Checking Extents Overflow file. ** Checking Catalog file. ** Checking multi-linked files. ** Checking Catalog hierarchy. ** Checking Extended Attributes file. ** Checking volume bitmap. ** Checking volume information. Invalid volume file count (It should be 1375422 instead of 1375423) Invalid volume free block count (It should be 3815940 instead of 2279930) ** Repairing volume. free(): invalid pointer Aborted
I don’t know why it aborted. Maybe it had just finished.
Once more for luck.
(base) user@sugarloaf:/media/user/music/recovery$ sudo fsck.hfsplus -f /dev/loop46p2 ** /dev/loop46p2 ** Checking HFS Plus volume. ** Checking Extents Overflow file. ** Checking Catalog file. ** Checking multi-linked files. ** Checking Catalog hierarchy. ** Checking Extended Attributes file. ** Checking volume bitmap. ** Checking volume information. ** The volume sshdd appears to be OK.
So let’s have another shot at mounting it.
(base) user@sugarloaf:/media/user/music/recovery$ sudo mount /dev/loop46p2 /mnt/hfs
Look ma! No errors!
(base) user@sugarloaf:/media/user/music/recovery$ cd /mnt/hfs/ (base) user@sugarloaf:/mnt/hfs$ ls Applications cores dev home installer.failurerequests lost+found Network sbin tmp usr Volumes bin DamagedFiles etc 'Incompatible Software' Library net private System Users var
That looks exceptionally promising.
So all I did next was enable ssh on the new macbook (Sharing -> Remote Login).
Dropped root@sugarloaf’s SSH Public Key in
~/.ssh/authorized_keys, and rsynced data across from the mounted hfs loopback device over to
~/Recovered/ on the new macbook pro!