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Professional recovery on Mac SSD - not looking good. Advice?
Ontrack says my Macbook SSD went from imaging very well to (while trying to decrypt) them saying they can't find any valid data. They're running a deep scan now. No decent Time Machine backup. Am I f****ed? Any advice? Thanks
Macbook Pro Retina 13 inch Late 2013 - 512MB PCIE SSD
My Macbook's SSD died 2 weeks ago. (Question mark in folder flashing on screen) Apple Store ran diagnostics and removed the SSD and said not only could they not mount the drive, they could not even "see" the drive. I don't have my main Time machine backup drive. Lost a HDD recently and thought it was a drive of ripped videos but was actually my Time machine. I do have a smaller old Time machine drive but that one hasn't been used since I got the new one 2 years ago. Apple referred me to Ontrack or Drivesavers.
Since Ontrack is nearby, I took it to them and they diagnosed a firmware level problem and start imaging it a week and a half ago. All along the way they gave me updates that it's imaging but slowly with errors. When they imaged the drive, my agent emailed me that it looks like this will be "a very good recovery" and asked for the Macbook's password. Didn't hear anything the rest of the day so I asked the next morning if they had decrypted the data. It's only then that I get an email from them that "this one is not looking good - I can unlock the drive with the password but can't find any valid data on the SSD. Has anything been done to the drive before we got it?" I told them no, except for the Apple Store. Last I heard they had started a "deep scan".
I just asked them if somehow the 2yr old Time machine HDD is useful in some way in decrypting the SSD. I delicately asked that if they're using proprietary methods, if they had considered if off the shelf hardware/software from Deepspar might help. I know that that's what some other data recovery companies use on these SSDs. I felt weird bringing it up as they're the pros but I don't know what else to do - which is why I'm posting here.
Does what they told me make sense? I've been acquainting myself with the 3-2-1 rule and going forward will have multiple backups in physically different places. But for now I'd greatly appreciate any advice on how to proceed. Thank you.
Ontrack got back to me saying that they can't recover the data - "We were not able to find any data on this drive. We got it decrypted, it accepts the password but no data shows up. We have done signature searches and everything we can to find data on that free space but have not found any data to be rebuilt or copied off"
My contact was a client rep as opposed to a technician but he made it sound like once they imaged the drive that the data was copied off of the unstable original medium of the SSD. Any idea where the failure could have occurred? Would it be acceptable to ask them to write the raw (encrypted) image of the SSD onto the HDD I gave them, in hopes that another firm could decrypt it without needing to go back to the SSD itself? Though I'm concerned they'd say that requires I pay their expensive quoted rate.
Below is the "technical report" the Ontrack agent sent me
Originally, the device never detected at all.
We ran a few non-invasive overnight processes, and fortunately, after one of those processes, the device was able to detect.
While we could get it to read, it would fail in various locations throughout the LBA range.
We ended up reading 99.9996% of the device, with only 3563 errors scattered throughout the rest of the LBA range, presumably due to failing NAND/Flash.
It’s not a password issue.
Here is what I did:
I presented this to our encyption tool that we have been using for years. It sees it as encrypted and it accepted the password. However, no data shows up and when I scan for structure and signatures of data file it does not find anything. I then viewed the sectors after entering in the password and compared it with the image and none of the sectors have changed\decrypted.
I also did a drive to drive and hooked this up to a mac. It fails to even see this as a valid volume. Does not even give me the option to enter in the password.
submitted by 7ae5c