So all my music is on an external drive. It's the only thing on this drive. Here's my problem:
About two or three months ago, all of a sudden my MacBook couldn't read the drive. I tried it on other computers and it again couldn't be read, so the problem can't be my computer, right? I found another firewire cable, and the drive worked with that, so I figured the problem was the cable. Problem solved, right?
No. Now, it again can't be read by my MacBook. Again, I try it in friends' computers, and it can't be read. So I go to a store to buy a new cable. I test the cable there in the store, and it works. The drive is there on the desktop. I get to my office, and it's back to not being read. I try it in a few Mac Minis around the office, still can't be read. I try it on an old iMac (OS 9.2!) and it works. I copy like two albums off that I want to listen to, then try it again in my computer. It still won't work. I go back and try it in the same iMac again, and now the iMac can't read it.
Also, when I plug in the drive, a green light indicating it has power lights up; so the computer knows it's there, it just doesn't read it. And I bought this drive at the Apple Store.
The disk cannot be seen in Disk Utility.
I followed these steps recommended by a friend for restarting the MacBook and the disk still did not show up:
1. Turn off the MacBook.
2. Pull all cables including power.
3. Remove the battery.
4. Press and hold down the power button for at least five seconds.
5. Put the battery back in and plug the ac adapter.
6. Start the MacBook and wait for the login process to be completed.
7. Plug in the external hard drive.
Sometimes - like twice in about 50 attempts today - the disk will actually show up on the desktop. The most recent time, I tried to access its contents, but it said it couldn't be read. So I used a program called DiskWarrior to repair it, and I could then see the contents. So I unplugged the drive to see if the problem had been solved, and now it is back to not being read.
Unfortunately, going to the Apple Store isn't an option for me. For one thing, I don't have a receipt or any idea when I bought the drive; for another, I'm in Cambodia. I haven't dealt much with Apple customer service, so if there's some way I can get some advice for free from them that I'm unaware of, please let me know.
Oh yeah, one other detail: This problem has been going on for a few days, but it wasn't until today that the drive was altogether unreadable. While the disk was in use playing music in iTunes, it would all of a sudden - without being moved or touched - be removed from the computer, with the error about improper device removal appearing.
Oh yeah (2), one more awful detail: Sometimes when I plug in the drive, not only can it not be read, but I get an ominous black-background warning telling me I must restart my computer in four different languages.
Any idea what the problem is or how I can access the files? Does it sound like a hardware problem or a software problem?
For drive trouble I still use SpinRite a ton. It has saved data off of so many dead drives for me. Granted it's a Windows program but if you can get the drive into a PC that can use it, I would try it out.
Well, inexplicably, the drive is now working like it is supposed to. So I was able to get all the important info off of it. Having backed that up, I'm going to trash it now, as the forced-restart message scares me.
There are programs you can use to try and retrieve the data, yes. Can't think of a name of one at the moment, but there are definitely free ones out there. Do a search for recover deleted files or something like that.