The Blueberry iBook Recovery Puzzle

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Macworld Forums member Foneil has put his foot in it -- or at least his daughter has and he's offered to help her pull it out.

It seems that Ms. Foneil's Blueberry iBook has a funky hard drive that may need a stern reformatting. Having little experience with such problems, Daughter Foneil turns to dear old dad and asks him to recover her Address Book before he reformats the drive.

DoD understands that this iBook has no FireWire port, thus eliminating the possibility of accessing the corrupt drive via FireWire Target Disk Mode from his 1.8GHz Dual Processor Power Mac G5. He's stumped and turns to the knowledgeable folks who inhabit the aforementioned Forums.

If I may make a few suggestions:

1. Boot the iBook from a compatible Mac OS X installer CD, select Disk Utility from the installer's Installer menu, and run Disk First Aid. If you're very lucky, Disk First Aid will put things right.

Okay, so you probably won't be that lucky. It's always a good idea to try the free thing first.

2. Secure a copy of Alsoft's Disk Warrior. Boot from the Disk Warrior CD and attempt to repair the drive. If the repair is successful, you'll provide your daughter with not only her Address Book, but all her other files as well (and a repair utility that every Mac user should own).

3. If Disk Warrior can't do the job, take a look at ProSoft Engineering's Data Rescue. Unlike Disk Warrior, Data Rescue doesn't attempt to repair hard drives. Rather, it focuses specifically on recovering files from corrupt or damaged hard drives. As with Disk Warrior, you can boot the iBook from the Data Rescue disc.

In addition to Data Rescue you'll need a drive to transfer that recovered Address Book to. Given that the iBook lacks a FireWire port, I'd look for a removable drive that sports both FireWire and USB ports. Most hard drives that offer USB 2.0 connections are backwards compatible with USB 1.1 devices, meaning that you can use the drive with your daughter's iBook and, when you're through, either give it to her with a stern admonition to back up her files in the future or keep it for yourself to use with the FireWire and USB 2.0 ports on your Power Mac.

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