So this is turning rather troublesome for me.
I've been asked to try and restore some pictures from an old Mac Mini with an internal Intel HDD. If possible, also to try and restore the HDD itself.
The problem is at startup: the flashing folder with a question mark appears, and nothing else.
To be honest, I'm not really sure if the HDD's dead or not? Here is what's I've been through so far:
I haven't been able to get to Disk Management/recovery mode. Now I'm using a Windows Keyboard (which is recognized all right), but no keyboard combination works. I've tried Windows + R, Ctrl + R, Alt + R, Alt + Ctrl + R, Windows + Ctrl + R several times, nothing happens. When I press Alt only, no folder but a cursor shows, but... nothing else!
When pressing T (Target Disk mode), an icon appears and moves like a pause screen... which I guess is a healthy sign? Unfortunately, I have no other Mac or cable to try this out properly.
Cannot enter single user mode either.
Maybe the Mac Mini is too old to even have a Recovery Mode, or..?
I've tried taking the HDD out, plugging it into a SATA adaptor and a Windows computer but with no luck. The disk is recognized in Disk Management but as an "unknown disk", when I try to initialize it, I get the error: "The specified disk is not convertible because the size is less than the minimum size required for GPT disks." Also, no recovery software seems able to allow me to select the disk at all. I've tried EaseUS, Stellar Phoenix, Wondershare and various other programs to no avail. The disk does not show in File Manager.
I've tried booting the HDD from my Windows PC via USB/SATA. It is recognized in BIOS, but when I try to boot from it (also having edited the boot order), it's like my PC skips it and continues to boot from its internal HDD.
Sounds like the HDD has failed. If you have a spare HDD you could always try reinstalling the OS on the mac mini CLICK HERE connect the faulty drive to the mac if it doesn't show on the mac you know the drive has failed.
As I wrote, I've already tried Stellar Phoenix.
I finally got my hands on another Mac though and tried plugging the HDD in. A message just popped up saying it could not read the drive. So I guess there's nothing else I can do, eh? I wonder what went wrong with it, since it was an internal drive, and I don't think it was dropped or anything.