XP boot floppy can't detect hard drives

By Miznia ยท 6 replies
Jun 30, 2008
  1. A week ago my XP emachines computer boot drive (C:, a 60gig Seagate partitioned with a recovery partition) started to go bad so that it hangs when trying to boot. Once I was able to boot to safe mode with command prompt, and once I almost got it to boot normally (only hung after displaying the desktop icons), but I can't do these anymore.

    There's a second hard drive, call it F:, a 40gig Seagate. No reason to think there's anything wrong with it.

    I need some data off of both drives if possible.

    I tried swapping the jumper settings and booting off of F:, which has XP from a previous computer, but this gives a STOP error, B7 I believe. That's expected I guess.

    So, I bought a new Vista computer (which may itself go back to the store as defective, but at least eventually I envision owning a Vista computer).

    I can't put the old hard drives in the new computer because I don't think the old technology is supported in this machine, with its 320 gig hard drives. (Haven't dared to open it up to check for sure.)

    I bought a Nexxtech USB enclosure and that didn't work with either drive (though it failed to work in different ways). However it doesn't claim on the packaging to work with Vista, and there's no updated driver on their site for Vista, so I need to try a different enclosure.

    Now, the last thing I tried is to make some bootable floppies on my work XP machine. It boots as "Windows Millennium command prompt." And on my computer, it only gives me a "C:" hard drive, which appears to be the recovery partition of C:. Useless.

    The BIOS recognizes both drives. So why can't I access them with the command prompt?

    What would you do in my shoes, to try to get data off of these drives?

  2. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    The ME disk only boots up to see Fat32 (being your Recovery console only)
    To see NTFS you can use boot CDs such as the Ultimate Boot CD (free)

    But in your shoes
    I would probably plug the drive in as Slave to your new computer
    And recover that way
  3. Ididmyc600

    Ididmyc600 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,415

    If you can boot in safe mode you can still copy files from drive to drive, so no problem there

    YOur drives are partitiioned with NTFS and you would need a floppy that can be booted from that can read NTFS go to bootdisk.com and download the disk there that can be used.

    I cant see any reason why the USB enclosure wouldnt work, i have used several types and they all work fine, however i havent used one with shista (yep I hate it), so i cant be sure if thats the problem.

    The drive with the old XP on it wont boot as its built on a seperate PC, however there is no reason why you couldnt boot from an XP install Disk and do a repair on it that would get it working enough to get the data of the drives, oh wait you dont have a disk do you??? see I hate it when stores sell a PC with a recovery partition and no actual disk, what happens in your case when the drive goes bad.

    Your new machine may use SATA drives however there may be IDE sockets on the board, you would need to look inside, however be careful as this can void guarantees on shop bought equipment.

    By the way in answer to your last question, the term "Backup" springs too mind, i never leave valuable data sitting on one HDD in case it goes bad, however if all else fails your local PC shop would be willing to help for a small price.

  4. Miznia

    Miznia TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for your responses.

    I am fortunately mostly backed up, because I have an external HD. If I can get files off the internal HDs using floppies, that will be good enough... I mostly want source code and documents.

    I can't boot into safe mode command prompt anymore, so stopped trying.

    My new computer hates the enclosure so much that it will not even boot if it's connected. (You can't tell whether Windows has even started to load yet.) You can plug it in after booting, but Vista acts very confused (repeatedly bringing up alerts, and being unable to remove the device).

    I can't afford to void my guarantees on the new computer...

    I will try adding some software to the floppy disk to read NTFS.
  5. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Good ol' NTFSPro
  6. Miznia

    Miznia TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ok, I made a boot floppy with Avira NTFS4DOS, and this allows me to copy files between the hard drives and to floppy.

    The only really flipping bizarre thing is that DOS wildcards don't work. If you copy *.*, you only get the first file it applies to. You can't do "for %x in (*.*) do copy %x d:" correctly either.

    Next step is to try using the driver(s) that lets you use USB HDs from DOS... Not sure if that will be successful since I think I might then need NTFS4DOS to detect the drive as well... Not sure. You'd think a driver that makes USB drives usable from DOS would also have to handle its NTFS issue...? We'll see.

  7. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    My NTFS4DOS allows *.* wildcards

    But this boot floppy idea is getting more difficult

    I still say to either use Ultimate Boot CD, and or plug in internally
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