As I wrote previously, I had a Time Capsule problem. Basically, the hard drive crashed and I was stuck with a very expensive (but fast) router. Luckily, my plan to recover my data was successful. Here are some details on how it went.
Taking apart the Time Capsule
This proved to be fairly straightforward – and the most complicated “computer surgery” I’ve done in the past is upgrade memory (iMac) or add a wireless card (PC). I followed the steps on a Harmac article entitled, Changing a disk in the Time Capsule – only I stopped after the hard drive was out (i.e., almost to the end of page 3).
Here are some photos I took along the way:
Time Capsule with bottom rubber cover and hard cover removed. Top: Hard drive. Bottom right: Intact wire connection to fan, which is attached to hard cover.
Top: Time Capsule (upside-down) with internals exposed. Bottom-left: Rubber cover with screws. Bottom-right: Hard cover and fan assembly.
Preparing an External Drive
I purchased an external drive (a Western Digital 1TB My Book) and hooked it up to my iMac. This is where I would store the data I was able to restore/extract from the Time Capsule hard drive. (You know, the way I was “supposed” to be doing it from the beginning.)
Fixing the Drive
I plopped the Time Capsule hard drive into a SATA dock (specifically a 2.5/3.5" USB 2.0 SATA HD Docking Station), which was plugged in and hooked up to my iMac, but not turned on.
When I turned on the dock, two disks mounted on my desktop. Neither looked to contain my information, so I assumed they were “administrative” in nature.
Opening Disk Utility, I noticed two things: There was another disk partition on the Time Capsule hard drive that wasn’t mounted, and one of the disks that did mount needed to be repaired.
When I tried to repair the mounted disk or to mount the unmounted disk, Disk Utility would give me an error – ironically, something about not being able to unmount the disk. Fifteen minutes of looking online didn’t yield anything useful, so I grabbed a bigger hammer.
I opened DiskWarrior, which immediately gave me the option to rebuild the unmounted disk. It worked on it for … I forget how long – an hour? Then it presented me with a report of success and mounted the drive.
Looking around on the disk I found everything was intact. I was saved!
Moving the Info
DiskWarrior had inserted a new file structure on the rebuilt Time Capsule hard drive (to contain suspected problem files), but it was easy to pick out what I needed and drag it directly onto the My Book drive. I moved over the music (which took overnight) and left the backups of my iMac and MacBook.
Putting Things Back Together
I re-assembled the Time Capsule and everything looked just like it did before. In fact, I’d be surprised if someone at Apple was able to tell I took it apart. I guess there could have been something like those cell phone indicators that change color when the phone is dropped in water, but it wasn’t obvious. It functioned just right, too. Time Machine picked up right where it left off, and I’m still able to access backups from before the “incident.”
I powered down the external hard drive and plugged it into the Time Capsule, and the computers on the network had immediate access to the music there.
One Remaining Question
There’s just one step I have yet to figure out: How to get the information on the external drive backed up on the Time Capsule, too. My only idea right now is to occasionally hook the external drive up to one of the computers, run a backup, and then move it back. It’d be much easier, of course, if I could automate it. Ideas, anyone?
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