I have an external Seagate Firewire 800 drive that I use on my Mac Pro that has over 700GB of VMware images on it. Pretty much anything I work on I have an image on there, everything from a Windows XP client to Microsoft Exchange servers, and Solaris, Linux and the such. I have had the drive for a couple of years and it has always been rock solid and fast too. (I bought it when Windows 7 screwed up my internal drives.)
Well today I was wanting to run a VM off of that drive to test something, and noticed that the drive did not appear on my Desktop. Weird, it as plugged in, the light was flashing, but no icon. Hmm, where the hell did it go? So I unplugged it and plugged it back in. Still no go. So i tried switching power supplies, still no go. Then if I left it sit for a while I would get the error that it could not use the drive, or that it needed initialized. Holy crap, that isn’t good.
I popped up the command prompt, diskutil would list that there was a drive there, but no partitions on it. The gui Disk Utility would see the disk, and again no partitions and wouldn’t let me do anything with it. gpt wouldn’t let me read it. So I thought to my self, did Windows 7 screw the disk up again (it was working the other day when I had booted in to windows, but forgot to unplug it before doing so 🙁 ). So I booted in to Windows 7, it could see the drive but said it was unformatted. Double shit. So back to MacOSX, I went out searching for some data recovery programs. The first one was Data Rescue 3 while the graphics were gimmicky it didn’t even look like the demo version could even see 1 file on the drive. So I uninstalled it and started looking for another program.
In the past I have used the R-Studio for NTFS & FAT and both have worked wonders. I did a google search, and they now have a Mac version. Now we are talking! So I downloaded the demo, and with in about 2 minutes of starting it, it showed me the entire disk and all the files that were on it. But since it was a demo it would only restore 10 files under 64kb.. So I bought it for $79.99. 2 minutes after buying it, it was busy restoring the files to another external 2TB USB drive. 6 hours later, 100% of my files were restored from the dead firewire drive, and my VM started up just like nothing had happen. Needless to say it saved me hundreds of hours of reinstalling and setting up my VM environment. Now I just need to go get another drive to make a backup of this one.
So if you are ever needing to restore MacOS, HSFS, NTFS, FAT, UFS, EXT file systems, definitely check out r-tools technology and their R-Studio products. http://www.r-tt.com/ For $79.99 it was more than worth it!