Recovering data on old IDE drive

By cmykundone ยท 10 replies
Apr 15, 2009
  1. Hello-
    I'm trying to recover files from an IDE drive from a dead computer. I've hooked it up in my computer as a slave drive, it's visible in both my bios and in My Computer as drive D, but when I attempt to access or explore the drive Windows tells me that the drive is unformatted and tries to prompt me to format it... but of course I don't want to loose the data. Both the old computer and my current one use Windows XP Pro. Any idea how I can get to the files on that hard drive without formatting it?
  2. B00kWyrm

    B00kWyrm TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,436   +37

    System Specs, including OS?

    System Specs, including OS of the dead computer?

    Was the old drive a boot drive?

    Are you confident that the drive is safe/clean?
    (ie no virus/malware - up to date with AV, etc, and clean scans).

    Your answers may affect recommendations for how to approach.

    In anycase... DO NOT Format!
    You will loose your data if you do.
  3. cmykundone

    cmykundone TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Best I can recall... The dead sys was a gigabyte board with an AMD 3000 proc, 1 gig DDR, the hard drive is 7200rpm 120 gig, Windows XP Pro. The hard drive was a boot drive. I'm assuming the drive was basically clean, as it had Norton on it. It was my sisters computer. The power supply went bad on it and as long as she was spending any money on it she decided to upgrade to a all new computer.

    Current sys is a Biostar board with an Intel Pentium 4 proc, I want to say 2400. 2 gig DDR, 80 gig hard drive, Windows XP Pro.

    I tried and had the same results in her new computer too, which is an Intel board with a 3000 dual core Proc, 400 gig SATA drive and 4 gigs of DDR2. Also running Windows XP Pro.
  4. B00kWyrm

    B00kWyrm TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,436   +37

    Okay... Your XP drivers likely will not be compatible.
    (I was going to suggest trying to boot from it. but that won't work)

    Another question... is this a SATA drive?
    Are you connecting it to a SATA board?
    Or is it IDE / EIDE / PATA?

    Regardless of the answer to this question,
    I need to research this...

    someone here likely has the answer right off the top of their head.
    Hang tight...
    Good - solid answers will be forth coming.
  5. cmykundone

    cmykundone TS Rookie Topic Starter

    The drive is IDE, as is the system that I'm trying to access it from. No SATA.
  6. B00kWyrm

    B00kWyrm TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,436   +37

    Make certain that it is properly set up as slave...

    Chances are your PC supports the Cable Select protocol.
    But your old, defunct computer may or may not (?) have supported it,
    (It probably did, but if it did not, then...)
    The jumper setting on your old hard drive might be the problem.
    Often times, the different jumper settings will be labeled on the drive itself.
    If not, visit the website of your old drive's manufacturer
    to find out the appropriate jumper configuration,
    and reposition the jumper block.
    You said you had set it up as slave, so you may have this step already covered.

    Bios SHOULD have properly recognized the drive...
    but... On the off chance that it did not...
    Check your bios information about the slave.
    Does it match what it should be?

    Was this old drive partitioned into two or more logical drives?
    Is it possible that it was originally recognized as a smaller drive than it really is, due to BIOS limitations?
    If so, (to either of these)
    I think there is a way of recovering this information without damaging the data,
    but I don't want to steer you wrong and cause an accidental erasure of the partition(s).

    Do you have the disk utility software from the drive manufacturer?
    This software may help you recover data, and/or
    help you determine the current quality/health of the drive.

    You didn't say why the old PSU was dead.
    Did it take a power surge?
    If so, the drive may be damaged too.
  7. cmykundone

    cmykundone TS Rookie Topic Starter

    The jumpers are right, double and triple checked, and the BIOs reads it correctly. The drive didn't originally have extra partitions, it was set up pretty straight-forwardly.

    I'm not certain what made the PSU go, maybe it was a power surge, that would make sense. When I look at the properties on the drive as it shows up in Windows it shows that it is 100% full, so I wonder if the partition is already gone. I'm thinking I may have to look into data recovery for this bad boy, I'll check with the manufacturer as you recommended, and go from there.

    Thanks for the advice & input!
  8. B00kWyrm

    B00kWyrm TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,436   +37

    See if this strategy does the trick for you...

    Mount your old drive as the primary on IDE Channel 1.
    Do not install your new drive yet.

    Boot to your XP cd, and make the following choices
    (we're gonna do a repair install):

    Press ENTER to install XP

    Press F8 for the license agreement

    Press R to repair an existing installation

    There should only be one choice next, so press ENTER

    Let Windows repair the installation.

    Once you're back in Windows, load all your drivers
    (motherboard, SATA, video, etc.).

    Run Windows Update - there may be many that need to be installed,
    and some may be "exclusive", so you may need to run it a few times.

    Now shut down, install the new drive, and boot back into Windows.

    Through "Disk Management" (right-click MY COMPUTER and select MANAGE) you can partition and format the new drive.

    Your disk management software for the new drive should then help you migrate everything to the new drive, and may allow you to then (after successful migration) clean and reformat the old drive for use as a secondary/slave.

    Let us know how it goes.

    Added thoughts...
    I am not sure why your old drive is not being recognized properly when connected as a slave... BUT...

    Another strategy, with perhaps fewer steps...
    If your new drive is already set up with XP and your system boots properly...

    This is a strategy that I have actually used with success...
    ... Upgraded an OLD Toshiba laptop with a new drive and expanded ram...
    ... THEN set up the Old Drive in a usb enclosure...

    So You might try the same... (You will still need the slave jumper...)

    On the really wild "off chance" that the jumper itself is defective
    (missing the metal contacts inside the plastic housing... )
    try swapping the jumper.
  9. FoReWoRd

    FoReWoRd TS Booster Posts: 204

    beat me right to it buddy
  10. gguerra

    gguerra TS Guru Posts: 319

    If data is really important put it back in the old system and use the power supply from the new. Just another suggestion which will quickly tell you if drive is good
  11. B00kWyrm

    B00kWyrm TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,436   +37

    Is the Drive Password Protected?

    I know the thread is stale now, and maybe everybody lost interest but me...
    but my mind kicked in on this again today... and I did some experimenting.

    Did the hard drive have a password?
    If so, it needed to be removed at the bios portion of boot...
    If p/w protected... (without removing pw) all you have is a fancy brick.

    I have tried to remove a pw with the drive as a usb drive, and set to be boot drive...
    but without success...
    I don't know if a different BIos would have had better results...

    For my pw protected drive... this seems to be the only process...
    Reinstall only the old drive in the computer...
    Reboot...with this drive the only one on the system...
    Go into the bios and remove the password.
    Save and exit, and shut down without booting to Windows...
    reinstall the new drive & install slave jumper on old drive...
    install old drive as secondary (or usb drive)
    and you should be in business...

    Would you let us know your progress/results?
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.

Similar Topics

Add your comment to this article

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...