Getting Data off Old Hard Drive

By NickK721 ยท 8 replies
Dec 31, 2006
  1. Hello,

    I've run into some issues in attempting to get files off of an old hard drive.

    I had an old 486 computer that my folks had been using and on which they had files that I would like to retrieve. The hard drive on this computer was actually a replacement drive rather than the original. The original was 486 MB, whereas this particular drive was 3 GB. Because of the computer's BIOS limitations, when the hard drive was installed a program that came with the hard drive called "EZ Drive" was used to create two separte partitions, one with 2.1GB the rest on the second partition. The system orginally ran Windows 3.1, but was upgraded to Windows 95 even before the hard drive upgrade. Windows 95 was also run on this hard drive.

    Well, this computer has recently bit the dust, but as far as I know, the hard drive is still in working order.

    In attempting to retrieve some of the files on the hard drive, I have put it into another computer. Before connecting it, I moved the jumper on the hard drive to the slave setting. The computer that it was placed into is a Pentium III running Windows ME.

    I was hoping that by adding the hard drive as a slave drive, I would be able to pull the files that I wanted off of it. However, when I booted the computer after installing the old drive, it did not appear as a drive in My Computer. However, when I go into the Control Panel, open System Properties, click on the Device Manager tab, and take a look at the Disk Drives, I can see that the slave drive is at least being seen by computer because it is included on the list of attached drives. However, unlike the main drive, which when you look at its properties, it shows that it is Drive C:, the properties for the added slave drive does not indicate a drive letter.

    I have no idea how much of that information is relevant, but thought that I would provide as much as I could. I would appreciate any suggestions anyone may have on being able to access the data on this old drive.

  2. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    EZ Drive is an overlay program (acts in place of the system BIOS) that has to be loaded at boot time.

    Try setting the old drive as a primary master and booting from it. With luck, Windows 95 will boot at least in safe mode. If not, the DOS mode should still work. After that you can try copying the files to another (slave, FAT32) hard drive.
  3. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    get a usb to ide converter.
  4. zipperman

    zipperman TS Rookie Posts: 1,179   +7

    Cable connection

    Is it connected with the slave connection ?
    It should not be C:,if Windows was already C: as it should be.
    What drive is Windows on ?
    What happens when you open it ?
    Somethings wrong here.
    How many ide devices do you have connected ?
    Drive letters can be changed easy in XP,but someone useing Wme will have
    to explain it's way.
    ******* How can an old HD be USB Tedster ?**************
  5. NickK721

    NickK721 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    When I disconnect the original hard drive that was in the Pentium III, connect the hard drive from the 486 and change it's jumper back to the master setting, and reboot, it fails to boot and I see this:

    EZ-Drive: Initializing...
    EZ-Drive: Not loading since EZ-Drive is not controlling any drives.
    Starting Windows 95...
    Type the name of the Command Interpreter (e.g., c:\windows\
    I did try typing in c:\windows\, but nothing happens... it just displays

    Type the name of the Command Interpreter (e.g., c:\windows\

    I tried both connecting through the second connection on the ribbon cable running to the Pentium III's existing hard drive and connecting it to the second connection on the IDE controller card using a separate ribbon cable. The result as described above is the same either way.

    Not sure what you are referring to. The hard drive that was already in the Pentium III is the C: drive. I was not expecting that connecting the old 486's drive as a slave drive would change that. The problem I am having is that after connecting the 486's hard drive as a slave drive in the Pentium, it is not showing up at all in My Computer.

    Windows ME is on the C: drive in the Pentium III. It was the only hard disk drive on the Pentium III before I attempted to added the 486's hard drive as a slave drive. The hard drive that was in the 486 and which had Windows 95 was the C: drive when it was still in the 486.

    If you mean the hard drive that was in the 486 after it was installed in the Pentium III as a slave drive, I can't open it... that's the problem... it does not show up as a drive in My Computer.

    The Pentium III had the original hard drive, a DVD drive, and a CD/RW drive
  6. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    with an ide to usb converter (about $20) you take an internal IDE hard drive and turn it into an external USB drive. That way you can export data from one computer to another.
  7. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    If the drive isn't working as a slave, then why should it magically work in an USB enclosure?

    EZ Drive doesn't want to run.. That's a shame.

    Set the old drive as a slave and try some data recovery program to retrieve the files you need. PC Inspector File Recovery is free.
  8. NickK721

    NickK721 TS Rookie Topic Starter


    Thanks, I have downloaded PC Inspector and am starting to pull off files. Once I've finished doing that I may repartition and reformat the drive and see if I can still use it as a backup drive.
  9. zipperman

    zipperman TS Rookie Posts: 1,179   +7

    Good news

    But what drive letter is Windows now ?
    What drive letter is the data drive that used to be Windows ?
    Where you useing F8 for a choice of OS before ?
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