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My girlfriend's harddrive crapped out on her Macbook. I've replaced it with a new one, but I want to see if I can scavenge anything off the drive. I've plugged it into my Win7 machine...but I need some (free) software to recover the data. Win7 doesn't recognize it at all. Suggestions?

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Tried anything yet? Product recommendations are considered off topic unless you show what you've tried already or why it didn't work – slhck Jun 16 '12 at 21:27
@shlck: I've tried "hfs explorer"; it couldn't read the drive. Hard to try things when you don't know what you're looking for. If it makes you feel better, I'm not asking for a product recommendation, but a method of recovering data off a hard-disk. – mpen Jun 16 '12 at 21:33
There are plenty of data recovery tools ready to be used out there — that's what you're looking for. They only have to read HFS, that's the only criterion. If you can't read anything from the drive at all, I'd try to make a copy first (e.g. ddrescue) and work on that – slhck Jun 16 '12 at 21:38
@slhck: It took awhile, but I got ddrescue working under cygwin, but I don't know how to use the darn thing. How do I know what device it is? I currently have 5 HDDs plugged in. – mpen Jun 16 '12 at 22:03
Found this "Physical Device Object name" in the Device manager \Device\Ide\IdeDeviceP5T0L0-8, but ddrescue won't take it. – mpen Jun 16 '12 at 22:29

First I would try to recover partitions using testdisk. If it successfully recovers partitions, then try HFS Explorer again.

If that does not work, you can try doing some file carving using photorec. This method will not be able to recover the file names. It just numbers the files. You will have to open the files to see what they are.

Both photorec and testdisk need to be run from the command prompt but they are menu based so they should be relatively easy to use.

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