FireWire target disk mode allows a Macintosh computer with a FireWire port (the target computer) to be used as an external hard disk connected to another computer (the host). Once a target computer is started up as a FireWire hard disk and is available to the host computer, you can copy files to or from that volume.
Target Disk Mode will only work on the following machines (more or less, any machine introduced after Summer 2000 that has a Firewire port):
- iMac (Slot Loading) with Firmware version 2.4 or later
- iMac (Summer 2000) and all models introduced after July 2000
- eMac (all models)
- Mac mini (all models)
- Power Mac G4 (AGP Graphics) with ATA drive
- Power Mac G4 Cube
- Power Mac G4 (Gigabit Ethernet) and all models introduced after July 2000
- Power Mac G5 (all models)
- iBook (Firewire) and all models introduced after September 2000
- MacBook (all models)
- PowerBook G3 (Firewire)
- PowerBook G4 (all models)
- MacBook Pro (all models)
- MacBook (all models except late 2008, aka w/o firewire)
- MacPro (all models)
How to put a computer into Target Disk Mode
- Make sure that the target computer is turned off. If you are using a PowerBook or iBook as the target computer, you should also plug in its AC power adapter.
- Use a `Firewire cable (6-pin to 6-pin) to connect the target computer to a host computer. The host computer does not need to be turned off.
- Both computers (host and target) should be hooked up with keyboards.
- Start up the target computer and immediately press and hold down the T key (on the keyboard that is hooked up to the target computer) until the `Firewire icon appears. The hard disk of the target computer should become available to the host computer and will likely appear on desktop. (If the target computer is running Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, you can also open System Preferences, choose Startup Disk, and click Target Disk Mode. Then restart the computer and it will start up in Target Disk Mode.)
- When you are finished copying files, drag the target computer’s hard disk icon to the Trash or select Put Away from the File menu (Mac OS 9) or Eject from the File menu (Mac OS X).
- Press the target computer’s power button to turn it off.
- Unplug the Firewire cable.
- If the target computer’s hard disk does not become available to the host computer, check the cable connections and restart the host computer.
- `Firewire Target Disk Mode works on internal ATA drives only. Target Disk Mode only connects to the master ATA drive on the Ultra ATA bus. It will not connect to Slave ATA, ATAPI or SCSI drives.
- If you attempt to mount an Intel-based Mac in Target Disk Mode on a Macintosh running Mac OS X 10.3.9 or earlier, you’ll see an alert message. “You have inserted a disk containing no volumes that Mac OS X can read.” The host machine must be running 10.4 or later.
- If the target machine is not one of those listed above, or you can’t get the drives to mount in Target Disk Mode, take the drive out and put it in a FireWire or USB (make sure the sled and host mac are USB2!!!) sled and connect it to the mac. This will also work for SCSI drives with the appropiate ATA-SCSI adapter.
- Turn off FileVault if enabled on the target machine.
- A target computer will not go into FireWire target disk mode if “Open Firmware Password” has been enabled. You can put a machine into Target Disk Mode when it has an Open Firmware Password on it by the steps below. This will not work on Intel based Mac’s.
Command-Option-O-F; this will put the machine into Open Firmware Mode.
- Enter the Open Firmware password.