Recovering Data from an Unmountable Drive

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Written By Michael Gilmer

A certified data recovery specialist, this guide aims to provide you with expert advice on MAC data recovery.

In certain situations, Mac hard drives may fail to mount, resulting in an inability for the system to start or boot. (Here is a thread from Apple Community.)

If you encounter an unmountable hard drive on your Mac, there is a way to retrieve your data through the use of specialized Mac data recovery software. Despite the inability to access files on the affected hard drive, this software can still recover your files.

Recover data from an unmountable hard drive on Mac

Using a recovery tool or software that is specifically designed for hard drive recovery. There are multiple options available in the market, including Disk Drill, EaseUS, and Recuva. Here are simple step-by-step instructions to follow :

Step 1 : Launch Stellar Data Recovery Profesional on Mac

Step 2 : From the interface, select the type of data you want to recover. Click Next

stellar data recovery professional for mac

Step 3 : Under Select Location window choose your unmounted drive. Click Scan to launch the scan process on an unmounted drive.

recover unmounted usb drive mac

Step 4 : Next, from the list of found files and folders listed in (Classic List/ File List / Deleted List) select the desired one to launch its Preview.

preview data unmounted drive mac

Select all wanted files and folders and click Recover to save

click recover button

Other data recovery software options

In addition to Stellar Data Recovery Professional, there are other data recovery options available such as

1. Disk Drill

2. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac (Powerful System Recovery Software)

3. Stellar Data Recovery for Mac (Powerful Data Recovery Algorithm)

5. MiniTool Partition Wizard Free Edition

6. iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac

7. UFS Explorer Professional Recovery

8. D-Back Hard Drive Recovery Expert

All of these offer the same basic features – scanning an unmounted drive for lost files, recovering deleted or lost files, and previewing recovered files before saving them.

Repair unmountable hard drive with Disk Utility

If you have a Mac with an unmountable hard drive, one of the first things you can try is repairing it with Disk Utility. This tool comes pre-installed on all Macs and can often fix common issues like bad sectors or file system corruption. Here’s how to use it:

Step 1: Boot into Recovery Mode

To access Disk Utility, you’ll need to first boot your Mac into Recovery Mode. This can be done by holding down the Command and R keys while your Mac is starting up. Keep holding them until you see the Apple logo and a progress bar. Once the progress bar completes, you’ll be taken to the Recovery Mode menu.

Step 2: Open Disk Utility

From the Recovery Mode menu, select “Disk Utility” and click “Continue.” This will launch the Disk Utility application.

Step 3: Select the Unmountable Drive

In the left-hand panel of Disk Utility, you should see a list of all the connected drives on your Mac. Look for the one that is unmountable and click on it to select it.

Step 4: Run First-Aid

With the unmountable drive selected, click on the “First Aid” button in the top toolbar of Disk Utility. This will launch a scan of the drive to check for any errors or corruption.

Step 5: Wait for the Scan to Complete

The scan may take some time to complete, depending on the size of the drive and the extent of any issues. During the scan, you may see a progress bar and a list of any problems that have been found.

Step 6: Review Results

Once the scan is complete, Disk Utility will display a summary of the results. If any issues were found, Disk Utility will attempt to repair them automatically. If not, the drive may be beyond repair using this method.

Step 7: Mount the Drive

Assuming the repairs were successful, you can now try to mount the drive again by clicking on the “Mount” button in the toolbar of Disk Utility. If the drive mounts successfully, you should be able to access your files once again.

Using Disk Utility to repair an unmountable hard drive on a Mac is a straightforward process that can often solve common issues. If you continue to experience problems with your drive, you may need to consider more drastic measures like data recovery software or professional repair services.

Repair by Formatting

If the first method of repairing an unmountable hard drive on a Mac does not work, you might want to try formatting the disk.

Formatting a disk, while it erases all data on the drive, can often fix any issues with the file system or disk structure that might be causing the unmountable error.

Before you proceed with formatting your unmountable hard drive, make sure you have a backup of all important data on the disk. Formatting will erase everything, so it’s important to have a backup in case you need to restore the files after formatting.

Here’s how to format an unmountable hard drive on a Mac :

Step 1: Boot into Recovery Mode

You’ll need to boot your Mac into Recovery Mode. Hold down the Command and R keys while starting up the Mac, until the Apple logo appears and the progress bar completes.

Step 2: Open Disk Utility

From the Recovery Mode menu, select “Disk Utility” and click “Continue.” This will launch the Disk Utility application.

Step 3: Select the Unmountable Drive

In the left-hand panel of Disk Utility, select the unmountable hard drive you want to format. This will bring up the information about the drive in the right-hand panel.

Step 4: Erase the Drive

Click on the “Erase” button in the top toolbar of Disk Utility. This will bring up a dialog box where you can choose the format for the drive. Choose the format that is appropriate for your needs, and give the drive a name.

Step 5: Start the Formatting Process

Click on the “Erase” button in the bottom right corner of the dialog box to start the formatting process. This will erase all data on the drive and create a new file system on it.

Step 6: Wait for Formatting to Complete

The formatting process may take some time, depending on the size of the drive. Once it is complete, you should see a message indicating that the process was successful.

Step 7: Mount the Drive

Click on the “Done” button to close the dialog box. You should now be able to mount the drive by clicking on the “Mount” button in the toolbar of Disk Utility. If the drive mounts successfully, you should be able to access it and use it like any other disk.

Why is my hard drive not mounting on my Mac?

One of the most frustrating experiences for any Mac user is when their hard drive becomes unmountable. This means that the drive is not being recognized by the computer and cannot be accessed or used. There are several reasons why this might happen, and understanding these reasons can help you prevent it from happening in the future.

One common reason for an unmountable hard drive is file system corruption. This can occur when the file system on the drive is damaged, preventing the drive from being recognized by the computer. Another common cause is a bad sector on the drive, which can occur when there is physical damage to the disk, making the data stored on it inaccessible.

Another reason why a hard drive may become unmountable is due to a hardware issue. This can happen if there is a loose connection between the drive and the computer, or if there is damage to the drive itself. It’s also possible that the power cable or connection to the drive has become loose, causing the drive to lose power and become unmountable.

Software conflicts and issues can also cause your hard drive to become unmountable. This can happen if there is a conflict with your disk utilities or if the drive partition has become corrupted. Additionally, automatic repair processes can sometimes cause unmountable drive errors if they are not executed properly or if there is an unexpected power failure during the process.

Hardware failures, such as a drop or other physical damage, can also cause an unmountable hard drive. External storage devices are particularly vulnerable to these types of issues, as they are often moved around and subject to physical damage.

In conclusion, there are a vast number of reasons why your hard drive may become unmountable on a Mac, ranging from file corruption and bad sectors to hardware failures and loose connections. However, by being aware of these common reasons, you can take steps to protect your data and prevent future issues from occurring.

Tips to avoid losing data from unmountable hard drive

  • Always back up your data regularly. Regularly backing up your data helps ensure that if something happens to your computer or drive, you will still have access to your important files and documents.
  • Use a reliable anti-virus program. Malware and other viruses can cause damage to the file system on your hard drive, making it unmountable. Using a good anti -virus program can help protect your data from malicious programs.
  • Handle storage devices carefully. External hard drives and other storage devices are especially vulnerable to physical damage, so it is important to always handle them with care and store them safely when not in use.
  • Keep your disk utilities up-to-date. Making sure you have the latest version of your disk utilities can help prevent errors and conflicts from occurring.

Frequently asked questions

When it comes to recovering data from an unmountable drive, there are many questions that users may have. Here are some frequently asked questions and their answers :

What is an unmountable drive?

An unmountable drive is one that the computer is unable to access due to an error or issue. This can be caused by a variety of reasons, such as file system corruption, bad sectors on the disk, or hardware failures.

Is it possible to retrieve data from a drive that cannot be mounted?

Yes, it is often possible to recover data from an unmountable drive using data recovery tools. However, the success of the recovery process depends on the extent of the damage to the drive and the type of data recovery software being used.

How do I know if my drive is unmountable?

If your computer is unable to recognize or access your drive, it may be unmountable. You may also receive error messages such as “unmountable boot volume error.”

What are some common reasons for an unmountable drive?

Some common reasons for an unmountable drive include file system corruption, bad sectors on the disk, hardware issues, and software conflicts.

What should I do if my drive becomes unmountable?

If your drive becomes unmountable, the first step is to try accessing it from another computer to rule out any issues with your current system. If this doesn’t work, you may need to use data recovery software to recover your files.

Can data recovery software recover all file types?

While data recovery software can recover a wide variety of file types, there may be some file types that are not recoverable due to the extent of damage on the disk or other factors.

Should I use a professional data recovery service?

If you are unable to recover your data using data recovery software or if you suspect that the damage to your drive is severe, it may be best to consult a professional data recovery service.