Recover data from my Macbook drive

My Macbook Pro died somehow just after 3 years. Not sure what happen. I don’t think it is hardware issue but it just unwilling to boot up anymore. I am used to Linux and I thought it would be easy to just put it in a disk case and extract the data readily. Sadly, I underestimated the “great compatibility” of Mac.

First, Mac just has a unique adapter for its drive. I got this one eventually.  It is a bit annoying that I need to plug into a desktop but I don’t want to fork $80 bucks just for this one time extraction.

So far so good. Just thinking that I could just mount the drive in my Ubuntu. Then I realized that Mac has a totally different file system. I dug quite a bit to see how I may mount the drive in Ubuntu but I simply couldn’t find a good way.

Eventually, I installed a virtual Mac in VirtualBox just for the sake of reading the drive. Note that I have to install this virtual Mac to the root account or I won’t have permission to mount the drive. To mount the drive in virtualbox, I have to first create a virtualbox harddrive image. Namely,

VBoxManage internalcommands createrawvmdk -filename "old_disk.vmdk" -rawdisk /dev/sdb

One can figure out which device it should be (in my case, /dev/sdb) with “sudo fdisk -l”.

After the disk image “old_disk.vmdk” was created, it could be mounted like any other disk image in Virtualbox.

This is my first Mac and probably my last one. It makes much more sense to get a ultralight laptop and install ubuntu instead (see this for example). Much less hassle when things broke.

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