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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Death of a Time Capsule Part 3 - Rescuing the Data from the TC Disk

This is the third post of a blog about my experiences with replacing an Apple Time Capsule with a Synology Disk Station DS212j. In the previous post I wrote about the first steps of setting up the DS212j, which ended by finding that all data is deleted from the hard disk(s) being installed in the DS - something that was catastrophic for me as some valuable data was on the disk not backed up yet.

What Options Were Available to Save the Data on the former Time Capsule Disk?

First of all a summary of the hardware available for the operation:

  • The 1 TB Western Digital hard disk I recovered from the Time Capsule (see my first post of this series).
  • 1 old Dell PC running under Windows XP. I used this PC to check if the Time Capsule Disk was still alive.
  • 1 USB 1 TB disk which I used to do backups of data on the time capsule. The disk was formatted in Mac OS Extended format.
From my experiences with doing a health check of the Time Capsule SATA disk I knew it could be connected to the Dell PC. Fortunately, the PC had 2 physical hard disks inside which I partitioned in a way that the system and the programs reside on two partitions on the first disk, the second hard disk hosted one larger volume for data.  By this partitioning the Windows system was able to boot, even with the "DATA" disk replaced by the old Time Caplsule disk.

Reading Mac Formatted Hard Disks under Windows XP

The first step was made: the TC disk was physically running in my old Dell PC. Unfortunately, this disk was formatted in a Mac Format (didn't check exactly which) which cannot be read easily under Windows.
Some research in the web led me the the Windows utility "MacDrive" which is available under It can be downloaded as 30-day evaluation version, which is free of charge. I downloaded the program, installed it and after a reboot the Mac formatted disk was available in the Windows explorer :)))) I connected as well the USB-disk (as well Mac formatted) which was available in the explorer as well.
However, the copying of data from the TC disk to the USB drive went not so smooth. It was not possible to simply copy the root folder of the TC disk to the USB drive, because in some cases Windows choked on some path names which were too long. I didn't manage to create a compressed data file from the TC data, as I didn't find a compression program being able to manage roughly 350 GB of data.
In the end I simply copied those folders where I knew that new data since the last backup was in. ...Not very convenient, but the only option I had.

In the End - Happy End

After all, I managed to recue all the data important to me on the USB disk. What saved my in the end was an old Windows PC and the program MacDrive. As I used it only for two days, this very important  tool even didn't cost me anything. Finally, the former Time Capsule disk was ready to be re-used in the newly purchased empty Synology DS212j case.

I will write another post about my experiences with the DiskStation up and running.