Help please I can't lose all my data!

By Carn Thorn ยท 19 replies
May 17, 2007
  1. Okay first off hello this is my first post here. I've been looking everywhere and can't find an answer to my problem so I'm hoping you people can help.

    My computer has stopped recognizing any other hardrive than the the master drive. I'm buying a new computer in about a month so I wanted to transfer all of my files off of my two older drives (the master drive is a 10gb and the slave was a 20gb I know they're terrible) onto the hardrive I'll be installing into the new computer (a 160gb WD hardrive I got from a friend). I tok the 20gb one out and put the 160gb one in to start moving files off. Since I still had files on the 20 that wouldn't fit on the 10 I had to swap the 160gb and the 20gb ones out about three times to get all the files onto the 160gb one. An hour after I was finished I noticed that the 160gb hardrive had disappeared from My Computer. It still shows up in Device Manager but in Disk Management it now shows up as uninitialized. I decided to check to see if it was the hardrive so i put the 20gb one back in but now it's disappeared from My Computer too. I also wanted to see if it was that part of the cable so I put the 160gb in place of the 10gb master and it just came up to the primary drive not found screen. I CAN'T lose all of that data so if anyone has any help on my situation it would be greatly appreciated. I was wondering if it could be a boot sector virus that I've spread from the 160gb to the 20gb? Please any help at all would be appreciated as long as it doesn't involve me losing all of that data.:grinthumb
  2. zipperman

    zipperman TS Rookie Posts: 1,179   +7

    Name your OS Pleeeeeeeeeeeze

    Don't panic yet.I just did the same thing.I removed all drives except the new
    160.I partitioned it 60 60 40 for OS,Music and Pictures.A 40 and a 20.
    After i got Windows up and running,video sound and Internet,i plugged in the
    20 as Primary Slave.(I had to change the jumpers)
    It was recognized and i copied my mp3's to the new one.
    It took over an hour for 7300 files)
    Then i shut down,put the 20 in a safe place for mp3 backup.
    My friend copied it to her Master Hard drive.
    Next i connected the 40 (formerly OS) as Primary Slave and copied pictures,
    And other data like my Favorites.
    Note : Ignore any option to boot your former OS.It's just data now.
    Don't be concerned about drive letters.Just find the files to transfer.
    Your optical drive(s) will follow your last HD partition or can be adjusted after your back to 1 hard drive.
  3. Carn Thorn

    Carn Thorn TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Okay the 160gb started working again but then it stopped working right after I took it out and put the 20gb one back in to try and get more files off of it. I just formatted the 20gb (bye bye all of my .flv files) but now it's not recognizing either again. While the 160gb was working I think I may have wiped everything off of it accidentally. I partitioned the drive...I'm guessing this wipes all the data off of it right?

    I'm pretty sure what I have now is a faulty cable which I will hopefully replace this weekend...anyone know what my problem still is besides a cable or is everything wiped off of the 160gb?
  4. Tedster

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

    try a new cable. if you still have problems then your hard drive is failing. Take it offline then as an external to retrieve data. Use another drive as a primary. You might also have power issues. Check the power cable to the drive as well.
  5. zipperman

    zipperman TS Rookie Posts: 1,179   +7

    Thats not the right way

    This is my Quote earlier.
    After i got Windows up and running,video sound and Internet,i plugged in the
    20 as Primary Slave.(I had to change the jumpers)
    It was recognized and i copied my mp3's to the new one.
    You need both drives to transfer files from 1 to the other.
    Your Quote :
    right after I took it out and put the 20gb one back:confused:
    You need both installed,isn't that very obvious ?
    But you didn't possibly follow my suggestions.
    Print them out to read as you go.
  6. Carn Thorn

    Carn Thorn TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I have to swap them out because I've only got one more spot to plug in a hardrive and the 10gb is the only one with a working OS (XP by the way). Is there a way to move files off without going through your OS? Otherwise I have to have the 10gb in then I can plug in another one, transfer files off the other ones onto the 10gb one temporarily, then unplug and put the other one in to transfer the files back off the 10gb onto the 160gb one.

    Oh and I still need answered if I've erased everything off of the 160gb one by partitioning it. It's got some good files I wanted to keep on it...are they gone now?
  7. zipperman

    zipperman TS Rookie Posts: 1,179   +7

    Read my post again.Why only 1 spot ? But thats all you need.
    When you get the new one with OS installed,add 1 at a time to copy
    what you want from it.
    Am i explaining this so you understand how to do this ?
    It's not that hard.But your away ahead of yourself.
    You don't have the new pc yet.Print out my posts,and i'm sure you'll accomplish what you asked.
    See you in a month or so.
  8. zipperman

    zipperman TS Rookie Posts: 1,179   +7

    I read your 1st post again.What where you saying if you didn't even have
    the new PC and 160 to work with.It reads like you do.
    Wich is it.?
  9. Carn Thorn

    Carn Thorn TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Sorry if I didn't make myself clear enough...I'll try and elaborate.

    I've got three hardrives right now. A 10 a 20 and a 160. I've used the 10 and 20 for a while now. My brother's girlfriend gave me the 160gb one not too long ago when she bought a Vista computer that she couldn't fit it in. It has a XP home edition cd with it that I want to use since I've lost my XP Pro disk when I moved. Her hardrive though has tons of programs that I want to keep along with some entire seasons of shows that I watch and a huge folder of music. I don't want to wipe her hardrive if I can help it. Her copy of XP doesn't work for my computer unless I wanted to reinstall XP (which when I attempted it said that it would erase all files on it so I decided to hold off on that for now). I've only got two spots on the cable to hold hardrives so I can only have two hooked up at one time. I need the 10gb one hooked up since it's got my OS on it. I decided to start taking files off of my 20 slave drive onto the 160gb one so I could just plug it into my new pc and have everything there without the need to swap out hardrives again. I have to swap them out because I have to 1.put files from the 20 onto the 10 temporarily 2. take out the 20 and put in the 160 and 3. put files from the 10 onto the 160 and repeat until everything is off the 20 and I can just stick the 160gb one in as my slave drive. The problem is that after about an hour of doing this both the 160gb and the 20 stopped showing up in My Computer. They still show up in Device Manager but in Disk Manager it shows them as uninitialized. It won't let me initialize them either. They started popping back up in My Computer for a little while and while they were I formatted the 20 to see if there was a problem or something on it (I know that doesn't always get rid of boot-sector viruses but I'd already checked for those and came up with nothing) and after I turned it off it did the same thing again with not showing up in My Computer.

    Now I can't access either drive because they won't show up and when I tried to put the 160gb one in my 10gb one's place with it set as a master it said that it couldn't find the primary drive.

    I hope that's clear enough because that's everything I know that's happened. I want to know if it could be a boot-sector virus that I've spread to the 160 when I plugged it into my computer? What else could be wrong with my computer? I understand what you're saying but it won't help me since what you're talking about is an empty new drive that I can install an OS on. My 160 though has tons of files on it I want that I'm assuming would be erased if I put XP Home on it.

    Thanks for trying to help though but it won't help me.
  10. Tom Mask

    Tom Mask TS Rookie Posts: 48

    Zipperman chill! o_o;

    No need to get stressed out dude. First off, check to make sure you keep the 10 GB as your master HDD (Check the jumper cables on both drives). Secondly, make sure that your cables are connected correctly!!!!

    Very important, you IDE cable should have 2 plugs, Drive 1 and Drive 0. If it's not marked on the cable itself, the plug at the very end is Drive 0 (not the end that plugs into the Motherboard). If your IDE cable does not have 2 plugs, I'd recommend go buying one that does (4.99 or less).

    NOTE: You could always use your other IDE cable connecting your CD reader (if present) to your second HDD for file swapping.

    Drive 0 HAS to be plugged into the master HDD or else it won't be recognized. Plug the 160 GB into the drive 1 plug (make sure the jumper cables are connected so the 160 GB is the slave) That way they should be recognized by your computer.

    The new hard drive should appear under My Computer (there may be multiple since you partitioned it, i'm not sure if partitioning erases your HDD as well).
    1) Drag and drop all the files you want from your 10 GB to your 160 GB to save
    2) Install your new OS onto the 160 GB HDD (You should then switch the jumper cables and plug the 160 into Drive 0 on your cable) from a bootable disk. Then you can drag and drop files from the 10GB (now the slave, Drive 1 on your cable)

    Thats all I can really recommend.

    Hope thats helpful ^_^
  11. Tom Mask

    Tom Mask TS Rookie Posts: 48

    Ok, forget option 2.

    Its cool that it already has XP on it and other files, that makes file swapping a heck of a lot easier :)
  12. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,018

    can you have you tried to boot from this disk
    you may be suprised
    don't intialize the drive or you will be using file recovery app.

    it could be all you need to do is take possession of drives
    look it up here
    taking possession of hard drives under properties of drive security advanced take ownership
    I think its time for a new copy of xp pro
  13. Carn Thorn

    Carn Thorn TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yeah I've got a copy of XP Home but I can't install it yet unless I want to lose everything on the 160. When I get a new computer it will have another hardrive so I can just swap everything off.

    Now does the cable that's hooked into my DVD and CD readers work for a hardrive? I'm not the best with computers but I know how not to break things on it. :)

    Oh and everything was hooked up right I had the jumpers in all the right places.
  14. Carn Thorn

    Carn Thorn TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Oh and sorry for the double post but I was about to quit this forum and try another with people not understanding what problem I was's nice to get some help I can use...not that people haven't tried to help but their advice doesn't work for me.
  15. momok

    momok TS Rookie Posts: 2,265

  16. zipperman

    zipperman TS Rookie Posts: 1,179   +7

    This is very confuseing

    You seem to be going about this in the wrong way.
    Forget about your friends 160,just get your computer OS installed.
    Notes: I doubt if you can install XP or Vista from someone elses cd.
    You can't just plug in hers and boot to Windows.
    That seems what your saying.
    They are limited to use on only 1 computer.
    If you did,then what ? You have nowhere to copy anything on a 20 and 10.
    But do you or do you not have your new 160 ?
    But whats that got to do with saveing whats on your friends ?
    So lets get this straight :knock:
    What are you trying or wanting to accomplish.?
    Forget about Viruses etc.A new formated 160 won't have any,but you need your own OS disc.
  17. Tom Mask

    Tom Mask TS Rookie Posts: 48

    Aahh, I see what you're saying.

    That is true, if the HDD has another OS on it, it wouldn't be recognized on your own OS. You can still access it on your computer (Press F12 right after you start up the computer, you go to a boot loading screen where you can choose to start up from the 160 GB HDD instead of your own OS).

    hmm...That would pose a problem...

    You say you have a DVD writer? or is it only a reader. You may have to find another way of saving your data. You could either back it up to a DVD / CD or send it to yourself online.

    You can always take possession of the 160 GB HDD. You would have to boot up in Safemode. For that to work you'd have to plug in the 160 into the IDE cable connecting to your DVD/CD reader/writer (Yes, IDE cables can connect to either HDD or CD readers ^_^) and then take possession of it's documents as administrator.
  18. N3051M

    N3051M TS Evangelist Posts: 2,115

    Yes. If you have an IDE dvd/cd burner and an IDE HDD, then yes. Same goes for SATA connections.

    You can use a OS that boots straight from a CD and has support for NTFS (if you need it). Eg. Knoppix, Ubuntu etc.

    Boot sector virii are uncommon if not rare. It will normaly reside in the primary disk where your OS lives, since an OS needs a boot sector, while a data storage hdd doesn't. What both has in common is whats called an MFT (master file table). I think you're confusing it with a MBR (master boot record). MFT virii are just as uncommon as a boot sector virus. Only way to fix a virus thats in that part of the HDD requires a low level format, which i don't think you want....

    with regards to the HDD disappearing, check the cable IDE and power is ok, use a new one or one you knows works to confirm. IDE cables tend to go bad after a while. Use a disc diagnostic utility from the manufacturer of your missing hdd to confirm its not a HDD problem in itself - test using their bootable form utility.

    only if the old PC and the new one has both the same hardware and an identical build, otherwise, like his current problem is, the OS won't boot without a repair. Which brings me to the question, what winXP cd are you using? OEM/manufacturer (eg asus, acer, toshiba etc)/retail/upgrade? See repair instructions here just incase you've missed a step:

    My suggestions:
    Keep the 20gb, put XP on it. Install the 160Gb as slave. Get an external HDD enclosure for your 10gb.

    When you do get the HDDs back, start burning the movies and music you want to keep onto dvds and cds..

    If you can't get windows to pick up your hdds, then try using the linux live cds as mentioned earlier in my post. If it works there, then you have a windows problem. if it doesn't pick up anything, then its a hardware problem.
  19. Carn Thorn

    Carn Thorn TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the help and I've got it running now. I think I said it over and over again that I HAVE the 160 right now...

    Anyways it WAS the IDE cable. I swapped out the cable that was hooked into my DVD/CD-RW drive into my hardrives and it worked. I bought another cable today and everything is fine...though I DID have to format both drives. I think something went really wrong with the cable. Anyways thanks for the help and If I have another hardware related problem I'll definitely come back here for help.
  20. alexjk_620

    alexjk_620 TS Rookie

    well, what i always use in order to not lose anything is using part pe. Look up pe builder, put in your windows xp cd, and build an iso of bartpe then burn it onto a cd. Its a preinstalled environment, and boots instead of windows, and recognizes everything and it has its own tools in order to format, or transfer files from drive to drive. try it out, even if ur not having problems.
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