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Model A1225 / Early 2009 / 2.66, 2.93, or 3.06 GHz Core 2 Duo processor

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Disk Repair can't fix HDD, legal documents and freedom in jeopardy

My iMac is old, I won’t deny you that but it has always been in good shape.

Recently, during the pandemic, it stopped starting up, taking a loong time to load and eventually turning itself off. I did the hard reset by pressing the button in its back for 10 seconds, turned it on again and then it took me to “OS-X Disk Utilities” where I chose “Disk Repair”. Following quick instructions I found on the internet,

I was able to try to use the “First Aid” function with no success. I got the message “First Aid process has failed. If possible back up the data on this volume. "Click done to continue”

Which makes me very sad since I have legal documents I depend on to defend myself against mexican authoritarian corruption. I wish to be able to take out the data with external drives, I hope it’s possible.


  • Model number: A1225
  • 24" / 2.93GHz / 4GB / 640GB / 256MB

When I clicked on “info” from the faulty HDD this came up:

  • Volume name —- Phoenix Arise
  • Volume Type —- Physical Volume
  • BSD device name —- disk0s2
  • File System —- OS X Extended
  • Connection —- SATA
  • Device tree path —- IODeviceTree:/PCI0@0/SATA@B/PRT0@0/PMP@0
  • Writable —- No
  • Is case-sensitive —- No
  • File System UUID —- 69F55DE5…
  • Volume Capacity —- 639,275,270,144
  • Available Space —- 0
  • Free Space —- 0
  • Used Space —- 639,275,270,144
  • Owners enabled —- No
  • Is encrypted —- No
  • Can be verified —- Yes
  • Can be repaired —- Yes
  • Bootable —- No
  • Journaled —- No
  • Disk Number —- 0
  • Partition Number —- 2
  • Media name —- Customer
  • Media type —- Generic
  • Ejectable —- No
  • Solid state —- No
  • Parent disks —- disk0

And the First Aid states the following:

  • Checking Journaled HFS Plus volume.
  • Checking extents overflow file.
  • Checking catalog file.
  • The volume Phoenix Arise could not be verified completely.
  • File system check exit code is 8.
  • Updating boot support partitions for the volume as
  • File system verify or repair failed.
  • Operation failed…

I guess it goes along saying that I will be endlessly grateful for any sort of help that you could give, since I really fear to lose my legal documents.

I know those types of things should always be backed up, and I do have some of it, but not all and it is very important.

I got involved as a witness of a crime and the criminal was famous and had me jailed with no legal reason, in México it’s easy to buy judges for like 7 grand. So, when it rains, it pours, but I know I can rescue something from this. Thanks again for reading and considering. Saludos!

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Don't touch the system until further instructions.

And you have no back-up????

Which exact model of iMac?


One thing I can point out is that the HDD shows as if it's absolutely full by "other" type of files. Zero KB for the any other, including "Apps" with Zero KB. Not sure if I could erase something to allow some room for it to run properly via terminal. Not an expert here, just saying. Thanks.


@aactech I'm having trouble figuring that out since I can't remember and I can't access it's specifications. I'm looking for the invoice. But it's a 24" screen. It's old.

EDIT: found it...

Serial number is: W89050GQ0TL

Model number is: A1225

24" / 2.93GHz / 4GB / 640GB / 256MB

..and when I open the image with the faulty hdd selected, with Repair Disk it opens an explorer window with a Recovery HD, and a folder called not sure if that's a sign of a back-up.


There is a serial number printed on the stand of the iMac. You can use that on the everyMac Ultimate mac lookup here:


@benjamen50 Thanks! Found it!

It's serial number is: W89050GQ0TL

It's model number is: A1225

24" / 2.93GHz / 4GB / 640GB / 256MB


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Be careful here! Any action on the HDD could damage it more!

The first action is to remove it from your iMac and put in a new drive

Even that has its own issues! Sadly, this is an older system which will require a drive which can run at SATA II (3.0 Gb/s). Many HDD/SSD’s today are fixed SATA III (6.0 Gb/s) drives which can’t run at the slower SATA II I/O. Review the drives spec sheet to make sure it states it supports SATA II (3.0 Gb/s) as an example here are two

Here’s the guide to put it in: Installazione dell'SSD nell'iMac Intel EMC 2267 da 24"

Do make sure you transfer the thermal sensor to the new drive!

The highest OS release this series can support is El Capitan OS-X 10.11.6. Apple uses a certificate which can expire within the OS installer. Here’s a bit more on it: If you've got an old macOS install image, it will probably stop working today So any installer you have most likely won’t work to even prep your new drive for your system. We either need to back date the system so it thinks its within the certificates window or use a updated installer

Block Image

Then you can use the older installer, or just download this updated version How to upgrade to OS X El Capitan Jump down to Step 4, click on the Blue URL link ‘Download OS X El Capitan’. Follow this guide to create the needed bootable OS installer USB thumb drive How to make a bootable OS X 10.11 El Capitan installer drive.

Now with a working iMac we can tackle recovering your files

Here we need a powered external HDD case to hold your drive or an adapter cable like Universal Drive Adapter and we need a good file recovery program like Prosoft - Data Rescue 5 unlike other tools this one will only read the drive and then save the recovered files to a second drive (here your new iMac’s drive)

I don’t recommend using any cloning tools as that could kill your drive as they are very intense in their efforts.

Your drive is in a delicate state as the BTree is corrupted which could be the start of a failing head or platter within the drive. You also don’t want to bounce the system (drive) around in this state! Be very gentle with it.

Immagine Universal Drive Adapter


Universal Drive Adapter


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I knew Dan (the Mac man) would help here.


@aactech - Thanks!


I ordered a new HDD for tomorrow to proceed as suggested. I just hope I didn't damage it further more by checking its info and trying the First Aid utility. I will post my results after I do it. Thanks in advance.



You should be alright.

Did you also order the external case or the universal drive adapter, like Dan suggested?


@aactech @danj

Hello again. I did everything Dan suggested, to the point of using the Prosoft's Data Recovery program, but, with no good results. I did handle the HDD with ultra care and the iMac is working perfectly fine with its new disk. I did use an external case like Dan said, but the program showed an alarming message:

First the program instantly blocked the faulty drive from mounting, in order to avoid any overwritten data (according to the same Data Recovery program). Then I scanned it with the Quick Scan option, as was instructed by Prosoft's site. And then I got like within 2 minutes of scanning it the next message:

"Drive Failure Warning"

"Data Recovery is having difficulty accessing one of your drives, which may be a sign of a failing drive and potentially increased data loss. It is highly recommended that you pause the recovery process and consult the "Next Steps" button below. "

(that button takes you to advertisement asking you to pay for human services)


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First replace the hard drive:

Install Mac OS and get an external USB SATA drive case for your “damaged” drive.

Personally I would buy 2 extenal USB cases and 1 extra drive for the 2nd case. I would then do a complete clone copy of the damaged drive, in the first external case, to the 2nd drive in the 2nd external case.

Oh, and don’t buy those “name-branded” USB external drives. Buy 2 separate cases and one separate hard (for backup of “damaged” drive) at a PC computer store - much better price.

Otherwise you risk damaging all your important data.

Remember the data is most likely to all be there. The directory (or what ever Apple calls it) is corrupted, this is for sure.

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LaernuSinatas sarà eternamente grato.
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