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Recover data from damaged or formatted VMFS disks or VMDK files
Recover data from damaged or formatted VMFS disks or VMDK files
Last updated: Oct 31, 2022

Internal disk needs repair: Time Capsule

AirPort Time Capsule (originally named Time Capsule) is a wireless router device manufactured and sold by Apple Inc. The device is a residential gateway router featuring network-attached storage (NAS). Mainly, Apple describes this device as a “Backup Appliance,” as it appears more like a version of Apple’s AirPort Extreme with an internal hard drive.

As a storage device, your files and data saved on Apple Time Capsule can get lost, and you may need to recover them. Well, you can actually recover the files – there are a couple of ways to retrieve lost files from the Time Capsule device; you could use the AirPort Utility or a third-party reliable data recovery software, DiskInternals Partition Recovery.

In this article you willfind out:

  • 1. How To Recover Time Capsule Data
  • 2. How To Backup Time Capsule Data

Ready? Let's read!

How To Recover Time Capsule Data

1. Restart The Device

This may seem too obvious, but it is actually one of the ways to get your Time Capsule device working fine again without erasing the content. A simple restart is enough to do the magic – as stated in Apple Knowledge Base articles.

Restarting the AirPort Time Capsule device would trigger the system to run an automatic file system check on the internal drive – during startup – to fix common storage issues before the device powers on completely.

However, if the storage issue cannot be fixed automatically by the file system checker, the Time Capsule’s LED will flash amber, and the AirPort Utility will notify you of the issue (“Time Capsule - Internal disk needs repair”). You also need to have the latest version of AirPort Utility.

2. Use AirPort Utility

Sadly, when your AirPort Utility throws the Time Capsule device error message, you can’t fix the issues using Disk Utility options. Disk Utility cannot access or repair network drives, of which the Time Capsule is a network drive. You can only use the Disk Utility options when you’re trying to troubleshoot and fix drives connected to your MacBook directly via USB, FireWire, or other options.

If you want to use the AirPort Utility to fix your Time Capsule drive, the only option is to “Zero Out Erase” the device. Of course, this will cause every data saved on your Time Capsule device to delete, but it would also, in some cases, repair the drive. The Zero Out Erase option takes up to 4 or 5 hours to completely format your Time Capsule, but not all “inaccessible” Time Capsules allow this formatting method.

If this formatting option doesn’t work for you, consider dismantling the device to replace the hard drive or maybe, change the Time Capsule power supply. But then, if you’re using a Gen 2 or Gen 3 Time Capsule, it’s most likely the device has lived its lifespan, so the only option is to make a switch – replace it.

3. Repair AirPort Time Capsule

You can manually repair the Time Capsule device following the DIY procedures explained below. But before you start, ensure to unplug the Time Capsule from power. You’d also need a few tools like Metal and plastic spudgers, wooden chopsticks longer than the height of the TC, and a scalpel or small sharp craft knife.


  • Unclip the side of the top body using the spudgers and gradually unclip the rest.
  • Release the top metal plate, power cable, and other cables that are around the hard drive bay. Also, remove the T8 Torx screws to release the plate.
  • Disconnect the three thin, delicate cables on the PCB, starting with the largest cable; the smaller cables pull directly away from the PCB – so use a plastic spudger placed atop the connectors and pull gently.
  • Lift the rubber pad to reveal the hard drive; release the SATA & power connector before removing the hard drive.
  • Now you can remove the old (faulty) hard drive and slide in the new one you’ve got.
  • Reconnect the cables you previously disconnected while taking out the old drive.

Now you can connect the Time Capsule to power and check to see if the error you were facing has been fixed – it should.

4. Use DiskInternals VMFS Recovery

Bothered about losing your important files saved on the Time Capsule device? You can disassemble it, remove the hard drive and connect it to your computer, then use DiskInternals VMFS Recovery to back up your files or recover the lost ones.

DiskInternals VMFS Recovery lets your backup hard drives in Disk Image format, and also, it is a powerful data recovery tool for retrieving lost files from inaccessible hard drives. Below is how to use this powerful software tool to recover your files.

Steps To Recover Lost Time Capsule Files:

  • Connect the TC’s hard drive to your PC and install DiskInternals VMFS Recovery on that computer system.
VMFS Recovery
  • Launch DiskInternals VMFS Recovery and select the TC hard drive.
Click on the VMFS volume
  • The retrieved files will be indicated with red asterisks, and you can preview them 100%.
right-click on the volume and open it
  • When you preview the files and find out, they are actually the ones you want to recover, upgrade to the PRO version of DiskInternals VMFS Recovery and save the recovered files to another storage media.
Select the folder you wish to save your files and recover your files to this folder

Steps To Backup Time Capsule Data:

  • Connect the TC’s hard drive to your PC and install DiskInternals Partition Recovery on that computer system.
  • Launch DiskInternals Partition Recovery and close the Recovery Wizard that would launch automatically.
  • Select the TC hard drive, right-click and choose “create disk image” from the context options. Or, simply select the TC hard drive and press Ctrl + C, then choose where to save the disk image.


With DiskInternals Partition Recovery, you can protect your Time Capsule files in a safe haven, as well as attempt recovery if you discover that some of your important files are missing.

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