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Is there a diagnostic disc for the Mac?

For a Windows computer, I have a number of CD's I can use to boot the laptop, and run diagnostics on the hard drive, etc, or retrieve data. An example is the Win PE disc. Is there such a tool for a Mac?

I am looking for something that I can use to salvage data in the case of a malfunction Mac laptop.

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It would help us to be able to narrow down your options if we knew which Mac you have and what OSX version you are running. Please give us the last three figures of your serial number.


I am not working with my own Mac. I am supporting end-users bringing their own Mac laptops to a school. I am not responsible for repairs to a student laptop, but it is helpful to be able to run a quick diagnostic, or retrieve the student's data so the student can go back to work while the system is going in for repair.

I can do this on a Widows machine, but not for a Mac. So I am wondering if there is a diagnostic disc I can use for this.


See if you can get a few thumb drives. Then borrow a Mac to format the thumb drives. On one of them run the OS installer (hopefully Lion or Mountain Lion). Make sure it is able to boot the Mac. If you support other versions of Mac OS-X you'll need to do this for the other OS's. These are your magic disks. Using Disk Utility and the fact it boots the system will give you the basic tool to then expand from. Use a blank thumb drive to salvage any important files.


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Just like a Windows PC the basic idea is to make a backup of your systems HD (Apps & Data). You don't want to dependent on a single copy of your apps & data as you never know when your system might get stolen, damaged by a natural disaster or fire. One can use a backup program like Apple's TimeMachine to achieve this.

Often one has an external disk which is bootable (just like one does in a Windows PC). In the more current systems one has a recovery partition to re-install the OS or repair it if needed (just like in Windows PC systems). This allows one to cleanup and repair ones HD or SSD.

As for a diagnostic program to diagnose a hardware failure. Depending on the series of system you are working with you can access via the recovery CD/DVD that came with the system Apple Hardware Test (AHT). In the newer models you can launch it by a Startup Key Combination.

There are also 3rd party applications and tools which you can use to help manage your hardware and software. These 3rd party tools are also common in Windows PC's as well.

Bottom line here: You can achieve the same results with Mac's running OS-X as you can do with Windows based PC's.

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use systemrescuecd. Get an external drive. use ddrescue to clone the drive inside your mac to an external.

If the issue with your mac is a bad drive, this will help salvage data.

If the issue with your mac is a bad HDD cable, you're screwed.

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Louis - I think this has long been resolved, how about putting your efforts into the newer posts that have not been answered yet. FYI this is a Mac system not Windows so there is no system rescue CD.


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