I’ve been separated from my MacBook for a week now, and I’m in pain. Ok, it’s not actually my MacBook since it’s my work computer, but I’ve grown so fond of it that it hurts to be without it. Apparently, the hard drive is broken (or at least the file system is corrupted), so it had to be handed over to the Apple authorities for surgery. They’ll probably replace the hard drive, forcing me to re-install and reconfigure the machine. This all started with an OS X upgrade from 10.5.2 to 10.5.3 which wouldn’t install properly.
The error message I got was “the source media you are trying to install from is damaged”, with hints to replace the source media. The problem was that the source media was my hard drive, since I installed the update using Leopard’s update utility. I tried to re-run the updater, clear the updater’s cache and even download an independent update package and install it “manually”, but the same error message slapped my face each time.
Being fairly new to Mac OS X, I looked around for some disk utilities or alike and found (surprise surprise) the Disk Utility. The Permission Repair wasn’t able to complete successfully, so I canceled it and ran Verify Disk instead. This gave me the horrifying message “Invalid inode structure. The volume Earth HD needs to be repaired” and so on. At this point our IT manager decided that we should hand it over to Apple to get the hard drive replaced instead of bothering with tampering with it ourselves.
The next step was to back up all my files from the (corrupted) hard drive. My colleague had a 16G usb-stick which I could use, but it used the ext2 file system, which the MacBook doesn’t understand out of the box. A driver was needed, downloaded and installed, and the Mac was rebooted. Or that was the plan.
After installation, the Book wouldn’t boot in normal mode anymore, so I had to bring it up in single user mode. Luckily that worked, but the ext2 usb-stick didn’t. Neither did the network, so backing up to some server was not an alternative. It now happened that we had a borrowed external hard drive in the room, readily formatted to the HFS+ file system. Using that, I was finally able to recover my files from the MacBook and hand it over to the IT guys.
Let’s see what they’ve done to it when (if) I get it back.