» Home » Help » Technical Articles » MAC Apple

Apple Desktop Computers: Removing suspicious hard drive for testing and data retrieving purposes

To remove hard drive from Mac computer you may need to determine your Mac model. On most computers with Mac OS X, you can find the model identifier together with serial number and configuration in the "About This Mac" window. Otherwise, find the serial number on the surface of your computer and determine your product model in Apple database. Few simple drive removal instructions presented below cover almost all desktops models.

 Mac Pro

Your Mac Pro has room for four hard disk or solid state drives. In most configurations, a single drive occupies the first drive bay, but you may enhance your system by adding the extra three 3.5-inch cable-free SATA hard disk drives to the empty drive bays. For example, one of configuration is Apple Mac Pro A1186 2x Xeon DualCore 2.0Ghz 8GB RAM 640GB HD.

The size of regular desktop drive is 3.9x5.7x1 inch, or 102x147x25.4 mm. Otherwise, you may use 2.5-inch (63.5 mm) solid state drive (SSDs 3 Gb/s) with adapters that fit the 3.5-inch drive bays.

A modern Mac Pro models accommodate up to four internal regular desktop-standard SATA HDD in the drive bays. Open the Apple computer case
If your Mac Pro comes with a single drive installed, it's in the first drive bay. If several drives are installed in your computer, then you should properly mark (or stick a label) with bay number. This is important information for data recovery specialist.

To remove a hard drive:

  1. Open your Mac Pro and remove the side panel
    • Unplug all the cables and the power cord from Mac Pro.
    • Hold the side panel and lift the latch on the back:
      Open the Desktop case panel
    • Remove the side panel by pulling the top away from computer case and lifting up:
      Removing the side panel
    • Lift the latch to unlock the drive carriers. Note: When the latch is down, the carriers are locked in the drive bays and can't be removed.
  2. Pull the carrier out of the drive bay and place it on the table.
    Important: Make sure the latch on the back panel is up. When the latch is down, the drive and carriers are locked in the drive bays and cannot be removed. Removing the side panel
  3. Place the Unscrew the four screws on the carrier, and carefully pull the hard drive to detach SATA connectors from the carrier. Removing the side panel
    NOTICE: Hold the drive by its sides. To avoid damaging the drive, don't touch the printed circuit board.

Power Mac G5

The older Power Mac G5 computers can accommodate up to two SATA HDD in its internal bay. In most configurations, a single hard drive occupies the top portion of the bay. To open the case you need to hold the side access panel(2) and lift the latch(1) on the back of the computer. After removing the side panel you need to remove the air deflector(3) to access the drive locking tabs.

Removing the side panel

Next picture illustrates how to release the drive locking tabs(1) by rotating them up. Make sure to disconnect the drive data and power cables(3+2) from the hard drive before pulling the drive out of the drive bay(4). If you encounter resistance, use a flatblade screwdriver to release the latches on the drive bay rails as you pull the drive out of the bay. (See circled areas on the illustration below.) If two drives are installed, remove the bottom drive first.

Removing the side panel

Remove the four guide screws on the sides of the drive and keep those screws for a new drive installation.

Note: Some failed hard drives may pass to computer's CMOS/BIOS screen some internal techno-name related to the firmware on electronic board. You should verify the name on the screen with the true model number on the label of the failed hard drive. They must be equal, otherwise the hard drive is not functional and HDD repair is required to get access to data on disks.

Failed drive - Apple Mac Pro from Partner in NYC
» We have a client with defective Seagate HDD from Apple Mac computer. Initially, by his words there was the corruption of the HFS+ file system. After using disk utility + Disk Warrior on a failing hard drive he completely lost access to device. Short drive test in store confirmed the failure (disks are spinning; no busy signal from HDD, PCB is ok). Critical data and files to recover are all under USERS/MacPro2016, and that include emails and accounting system.

Problem solved. Your help in recovering this customer's data is very appreciated.


Failed drive - Seagate ST3750630AS from Andy T., New Orlean, Texas, United States
» This is Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 and it failed, meaning we're unable to access the drive. It was running Windows Vista and had a single partition. All data are very important and have to be recovered, but the most critical data are all QuickBooks files. The drive is more than half full, so you'll have a lot work to do. The exact location is unknown so it could be anywhere, including Program Files folder.

... your work is impeccable; we are very much pleased with the results. The turnaround time for our regular service was unexpectedly fast; we loved your flat rate policy, so there was no surprise at that end. The overall experience is scored 'excellent' grade...


Failed drive - Seagate ST3500841NS Barracuda NS.2 from Jan O.M. Mashburn Construction, L.P. Roopville, GA USA
» Recognized by BIOS - no, spinning sound - yes. I did send this to a local guy to try to restore data. He was unsuccessful.

I think I have everything I needed. I will recommend your services any time I have the opportunity. You have made me very happy. Thanks. Jan M.


Databe in reviews and testimonials from people around the Globe:
Read more real cases...