I've just diagnosed a friend's linux mac which had stopped booting from disk. And, of course, a WIP MSc thesis is stored on it!

OpenBSD's installer could boot on the mac from USB but the only disk showing up in dmesg was the USB stick. It's a spinning disk and it made no noise.. First diagnosis: patient deceased.😭

But there's a happy end: Put the disk in a USB-to-sata tray and tadaa 🎉 it works and files can be read!

Disk doesn't boot in a thinkpad either. Maybe bad boot sector? UEFI fuckup?

In any case I am getting all data off this disk ASAP.

@marsxyz I doubt it would help because this is an old MAC from like 2011.

Most likely something in the machine broke and the disk wasn't powered.

@stsp maybe it's actually the S-ATA controller that's broken. I've seen such cases. Or faulty S-ATA cable.

@mcscx Might well be the case, yes. I might try out a different disk in the mac next but I don't expect it to work either.

@stsp That sounds like a hardware interface problem. My guess is that it might have a dirty or corrupt channel.

@cynicalsecurity Yeah I suspect the mac had a "no power on sata" issue and the thinkpad had some unrelated uefi boot issue.

@stsp It could be that the disk is failing and drawing more power which neither the Mac nor the Thinkpad could provide. It was a common pre-disaster failure mode in the 90s.

@cynicalsecurity Oh I wasn't quite clear: The thinkpad boot test was an attempt to boot from the disk via the USB-sata bridge, and in this case the disk was powered and spinning, but each boot attempt went directly back to BIOS.

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