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10.4: An overview of NTFS support in Tiger
Authored by: ruaric on Aug 05, '05 06:33:37AM
In my case, a family member's Windows laptop broke and I convinced her to get a Mac instead, so I needed to get some old data off the laptop's hard disk. While I could read all the important files using 10.3.8 without problem (I took the hard disk out of the laptop computer and put it in an external USB hard disk enclosure, so I could easily plug it in, browse through the directory contents and sort out what seemed to be valuable data), I decided it would make me feel more comfortable to burn a backup of the whole "Documents and Settings" folder to DVD for archival, in case I forgot to transfer something.

Interesting. Presumably when you say it 'broke' you mean it was non-bootable. Clearly the hard drive was still working. Was the rest of the hardware intact? I had a similar situation with a friend recently. Her machine would not boot into Windows (it got as far as the Windows boot screen and restarted). She had one of those Windows XP restore CDs that formats your drive and replaces it with a system image. This would have resulted in the complete loss of all her files. I considered taking her drive out and attaching it to my Mac but assumed that MacOS X would not be able to read NTFS at all. (In any case I run 10.3.9, so may not have had much luck anyway).

I fixed her situation as follows. I downloaded a Knoppix CD ISO (A Linux boot CD distribution) and burn it to a cd with hdiutl burn KNOPPIX_V3.9-2005-05-27-EN.iso. I then booted the 'dead' PC with Knoppix, whilst plugged into my home network. Once booted I mounted her hard disk under Linux and navigated to her Documents and Settings folder. Then I started netkit-ftp and connected via ftp to my Mac and issued the following command under the ftp prompt


ftp> bin
ftp> put "| tar cvf - herusername" herusername_backup.tar
This will placed her user directory (which includes "My Documents", Desktop, etc.) into a tar file called herusername_backup.tar, which was uploaded onto my Mac.

I was then able to use the XP system restore CD to reinstall Windows XP onto her machine (plus various service packs and updates downloaded from the web) and restore her personal files by grabbing the tar file from my Mac via ftp. (I downloaded a Windows version of tar to open the tar file; Winzip or one of the many other archivers would also have worked).

Anyway, I'm writing this as I thought it might be useful info for others here who are similarly trying to access files on a broken Windows machine. You would of course need a network to use this method but it does allow you to make use of Linux's NTFS reading capabilities should you not have MacOS x 10.4 or greater (and you don't have to mess with hardware by removing or adding drives to anyof the machines). I believe Knoppix will also allow writing of an NTFS disk (if you use the Captive NTFS tool), though I did not test this as it wasn't needed in this case.

Finally, using put "| tar cvpf - foldername" backup.tar from the ftp prompt of MacOS X is a good way of backing stuff from your Mac to another machine (be it Mac, Linux or Windows) because it will ensure that your resource forks, file names and permissions are properly saved. This assumes you running 10.4 or greater, since the old versions of tar do not support resource forks (though a work around would be to use xtar). I have written up a separate (more detailed) hint about this but it has not yet been published.

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10.4: An overview of NTFS support in Tiger
Authored by: moritzh on Aug 05, '05 02:13:59PM
Presumably when you say it 'broke' you mean it was non-bootable. Clearly the hard drive was still working. Was the rest of the hardware intact?

No, it was one of those cheap notebooks and, all of a sudden, couldn't even be switched on. The power lamp was on for a few seconds, but nothing happened (no HHD spin-up, no fan running, ...). Did some research on the model and found out that other people had problems with that manufacturer's main boards (corroded BIOS chip contacts after a year, ...). Took the thing apart, but the circuit plans in the manual were of no help discovering what could be the problem... Because I had an opportunity to get a cheap iBook, because I know the Mac better than a Windows machine so I would be able to give better 'tech support' to my mother (the future owner) in case of problems and, well, because I just like the Macs better, I decided to dump the old thing and get a new Mac instead.

Since I live in another city far away, my mother had to send me the laptop by mail. Luckily, the HDD was OK and I could get the data as described.

Some higher forces decided to make the whole thing a little more complicated, however. I also needed some other files from my mother's other (desktop) Windows computer so I could merge (copy/convert to different format) all the data onto the new iBook. So I asked someone else to take that computer's HDD out as well and mail it to me, making a backup of the most important stuff before (in case that thing would get lost in the mail). Well, that guy broke the HDD doing that (not spinning up anymore) - argh! Luckily, he broke it just after doing the partial backup to one DVD, so I could at least recover the most important things (except for, e.g., a SMIME private key, rendering some encryped data useless).

Now my mother has a broken Windows laptop, a broken Windows desktop computer and a working iBook (until I visit and fix the desktop machine). Well, I sort of like it actually, because now at least there is no way for chaos to arise due to her using two computers (files scattered among the two) and two different operating systems.

The point of the whole story: Better do critical things yourself if you want them to turn out well. And, most important: backup, backup, backup!

Regarding your comment/hint: Pretty impressive procedure, sounds really good. I might have tried doing something similar if the laptop had been still OK. I prefer to do things over a network, if possible. That is not always easy for beginners, however, so just plugging the drive into an external case might be easier. If you do that, be careful, however, some of those small 2.5" drives have plugs that allow you to connect them the wrong way, making you fry the whole thing (speaking out of experience from way back in my earlier days when I was playing around with a disk (no data on it, luckily)...).

I have written up a separate (more detailed) hint about this but it has not yet been published.

If you submitted it a long time ago, it may have been overlooked (see my other comment above), but that should be fixed soon.



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10.4: An overview of NTFS support in Tiger
Authored by: jackchance on Aug 05, '05 09:27:32PM
There is a way to use a Win XP disc to

a) repair a windows installation -> it basically copies the system files from the CD over the existing and presumably corrupted existing one.

b) install windows without reformatting the disc. HOWEVER, this tends to overwrite the 'Documents and Settings' folder, so if you keep you stuff where windows tells you to, it will be gone.

if you want the details for performing these check out http://jerlich.com/blogs/argh

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