Question Connecting my MacBook Pro's internal HDD as an external drive

Hi there, Tom's Guide community!

Recently, I've started to have problems booting up my MacBook Pro Mid-2012 with OS Mojave. When I press the power button, I hear the usual start-up sound, but instead of an Apple logo, the dreaded flashing folder with a question mark appears. When I looked around on the Internet, it said that this was because my hard drive cable was faulty, so I ordered a replacement from Amazon and installed it, but the problem still wasn't solved. I think the drive itself is not faulty as it doesn't make any clicking or scraping noises, but it's simply just the cable.

Failing that, I've ordered a SATA-to-USB cable from Amazon, and once it arrives, I want to use my MacBook's internal hard drive as an external drive that I can boot it off of and copy the files to another external hard drive as a backup. Can this be done, and are my files still safe on the HDD?

Thanks for any answers/help in advance! I've had my MacBook for around eight years now (so it's pretty old by Mac standards), and it means quite a lot to me, as I use it for my creative works like drawing digital art.

- Sabrina
  • Like
Reactions: unto


Apr 27, 2021
Once upon a time this was named Target Disk mode. There were keys to mash during boot.

We need a bit more information on the hardware and versions involved to further assist you.