Hard drive recovery/reformatting

By JesseM
Feb 15, 2007
  1. Two of my friends' computers broke and I am trying to recover the data from their old HDs. Both HDs had Windows XP (one was German XP and the other was US English) and I tried putting them in my computers to see if they worked. After some fiddling around in the BIOS and the boot sequence I started up XP from my HD with one of the two other HDs. They showed up as D:/ but said they needed reformatting.

    I understand there are programs out there that can possibly recover the data on these HDs so I can reformat them without losing all these files. My questions to you guys are:

    1) What programs are there (if any) that could recover this data?

    2) Is there any other way I can access this data? I thought that with the same OS the disks wouldn't need reformatting but I was apparently wrong, or something else is the case.

    Thank you for your help!

    Oh and another thing - I don't think the HDs are broken or anything because one of my friend's computers worked before I took the HD out (I was putting in a bigger one along with some RAM and a new graphics card), I think it would be too big of a coincedence for it to magically stop working like that, but I could be wrong.
  2. ambivolent

    ambivolent TS Rookie Posts: 67

    did you try setting the jumpers to slave and running it as a slave, thats how i usually transfer data off of an old HDD
  3. JesseM

    JesseM TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 219

    I feel stupid asking this, but how do I set the jumpers to slave? They are IDE drives.
  4. ambivolent

    ambivolent TS Rookie Posts: 67

    heres a pic of where the jumpers are located, there should be a diagram on the hard drive telling you which one to put the jumper on to set it as a slave
  5. JesseM

    JesseM TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 219

    Well I tried setting the hard drives to slave but it still says they need to be formatted. Any ideas?
  6. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

    If you can view the drivers in a Windows environment, try restoring the partitions using PCinspector.. It's a freeware program that seems pretty well put together, although I haven't had the opportunity to utilize it much.
  7. JesseM

    JesseM TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 219

    I got a program called "PartitionMagic" and it says that the HDs do not have a NTFS file system present, so it is unable to restore the partitions. I don't think PCinspector would be able to help much more either.

    Also, even when I switch the HDs to "slave" it shows up as "Local Disk" on my computer. Am I missing something?

    If I were to reformat the drives would I lose all the data? I thought they would be completely wiped, but this website I was reading said that reformatting the drives only erases the data tables, not the actual data.
  8. ambivolent

    ambivolent TS Rookie Posts: 67

    i dont know i always write my drives to zero, any it should be showing up as local disk,i have 3 seprate HDD's listed as local disk
  9. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

    PCinspector scans your drives for partitions. It can find and restore deleted partitions / file systems that Windows and Partition Magic haven't a clue to deal with...

    Here's more information on how partition recovery actually works.

    I cannot vouch with how well the program works, but payware programs I regularly use are very successful such as Active @ Partition Recovery and Acronis Disk Director.
  10. JesseM

    JesseM TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 219

    Thanks for your help, I'm now going to try to use a freeware prog called TestDisk to recover the data from the unformatted disk. I'm still not sure about the slave situation, but I guess I'll see what happens.

    THANK YOU GUYS SO MUCH. I now have all the data from the HDs and I'm now going to reformat and reinstall windows on them. I ended up using a really cool freeware program called TestDisk and I highly recommend it, although it would be pretty confusing for the average computer user.
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