Recovering Data From Old Hard Drive

By ShoBud ยท 4 replies
Feb 16, 2007
  1. I've searched and read several threads about problems similar to mine but have not found the same exact circumstance. So I apologize up front if this information could have been found with a more thorough search.

    I have an older Gateway Desktop computer I am trying to retrieve the data from the hard disk. The computer died on me before I could save my data. I had two hard drives in this computer so I ordered two external enclosures thinking I would be able to get the data. The newest hard drive Maxtor 160 gig, worked in the enclosure but the original hard drive, an IBM 20 gig, did not totally work for me.

    (Operating System Windows XP Professional) When I look into My Computer/System Properties/Hardware/Device Manager/Disk Drives, the IBM hard drive appears there. But I have no drive letter assigned to the IBM drive when looking for it in Windows Explorer or My Computer/Hard Disk Drives. It does not show up there, therefore I cannot get my data. The Maxtor shows up at this location when I have it plugged into USB but the IBM does not.

    I recall when I installed the Maxtor into the system I also installed some kind of upgrade card that would run the Maxtor because it was a faster speed "something or other." The numbers that come to mind are 66/100/133. I can't remember what this was technically but some of you may recognize and know what I mean. Seems like the original hard drive (IBM) was "66" whatever the term is, and the new one (Maxtor) was "100" or "133" whatever the technical term is. I don't know if this makes any difference or not as far as Windows XP Professional assigning a drive number.

    Can anyone give me help on how to obtain a drive letter for this older IBM drive without reformatting it or repartitioning it. I'll lose my data as I understand it if I perform these functions.
  2. zipperman

    zipperman TS Rookie Posts: 1,179   +7

    How i did it

    I removed the old HD.
    Then i installed OS on my new partitioned HD.
    Then just set old ones jumpers as slave,to a slave connection,and start your
    computer.You didn't need all those extra devices,unless all your 4 IDE connections where used.Even so you could remove one,hook up old one and copy old files to parition without Windows.
    then remove it and put the other device back.
    I hope i explained this ok.Please ask if not sure.
    Note : Turn off Power supply doing these connections.
  3. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    As zipperman was hinting, don't bother with the enclosures. If you have an IDE connector on your motherboard, connect the drives there one by one. If not, grab that expansion card from the old computer and use that.

    Before doing anything, test the drives with the manufacturer diagnostic utilities.
  4. ShoBud

    ShoBud TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the responses. Let me give a little more information about my situation. The Gateway desktop got to where it would not boot up in anything but Safe mode. It was giving me some warning about the BIOS, I don't remember the exact warning. It would only boot in safe mode; it has Windows 98 SE on it.

    I have a laptop that I use all the time now and my goal was to place the hard drives from the old computer into external enclosures and use them for storage after I had retrieved the data I wanted.

    I think I follow you on the advice you are giving above; but it seems to apply only if the old computer is bootable. I'm certainly a novice with all this stuff and maybe I'm just out of my abilities to get it done. :>) May have to call in the Geek Squad. :>) As far as my understanding goes (Which is not far...) the old Gateway at this point is useless. I was just hoping to be able to save some data I had on the original hard drive from it.

    Would the fact that the old computer would still boot up in Safe mode indicate that the old hard drive is still working? (Not crashed)
  5. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    The drive dagnostic utilities are bootable from a CD or a floppy, so it makes no difference whether Windows works or not.

    Test the drives in your old PC first, then try them in the enclosure(s). If Windows can't read the drives, try some LiveCD Linux version. If all else fails, throw some data recovery program at the disk(s).
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