PC says hard drive is RAW but I know it is ok


Not sure if I should have posted this on an operating system forum or not. But here goes....

The short version of my problem is:
I have a Seagate 80g hard drive. It is divided in to 3 partitions. I have 3 pc's. 2 pc's recognise hard drive ok. All data is accessible. But 3d pc says 1st partition on hard drive is RAW in windows XP file explorer. Other 2 partitions are fine.

The complicated version of the problem is:
I built my wife a new computer. She has lots of user data on her old hard drive. So retained her old hard drive and intended to use it as a slave. I left the existing XP install on her old hard drive. Installed a fresh version of XP on her new master drive.

Bios reports hard drives as it should. Boots up fine. XP file explorer shows correct label and allows access to data files. But when trying to access her previous "my documents" (on what is now a slave drive), access was denied. A bit of web browsing led me to understand that the security settings needed to be altered. I changed these via Safe Mode. This seems to have been successful.

I decided to test file access prior to reinstalling this drive in my wifes new computer. Tried this old drive as a slave on my own computer. Works fine. I can access everything I have tried to, so far. Then tried it in her old computer. Yep, that was fine, too. It was even still quite happy to boot up when I set the jumper back to Master. No problem there, then.

I then returned it to my wifes new computer and installed it as a slave. Windows XP now reports that the 1st partition is corrupt and inaccessible. The 2nd and 3d partitions are absolutely fine.

I have double checked that the 1st partition is still working in the other 2 computers. It does.

Checked it in safe mode in my wifes new pc again. Xp says 1st partition is corrupt.
At this point I decided to create an image of the hard drive using powerquest Drive Image (better late than never, I suppose.)

Bear in mind that the 1st partition works fine in 2 other computers and that it was fine in my wifes new computer (albeit some file access was denied) before I started fiddling with security settings.

I am reluctant to simply port the files she wants via any other means. She has files and data scattered all over the hard drive and it will probably be months, if not years, before we finish trying to locate and copy some of them.

Any idea, please, how I can make this 1st partition accessible as a slave in her new computer?
5 answers Last reply
More about hard drive
  1. This is my guess, so if I'm wrong, don't sue me. 8)

    Short answer:

    Upgrade your wife's computer to at least XP service pack 1 before putting the slave drive back in it.

    Long answer:

    You just installed a fresh XP installation on your wife's computer with a Windows XP RTM (Release to manufacturing - i.e. no service packs) CD-ROM and you haven't downloaded and installed any service packs for it yet.

    This limits XP to recognizing partitions that are <137GB.

    The slave hard drive's 1st partition is >137GB, so the fresh installation of XP is having problems with it.

    Once you upgrade the XP installation to SP1 or higher, it will then have the capability to recognize partitions >137GB, and will then read the slave drive fine.
  2. Somejoe7777,
    Thanks for taking the time to answer. It's appreciated.

    It's an 80GB drive. I installed XP, activated it online and downloaded all updates available. Must've been near 200mb of updates. It took most of an afternoon and umpteen reboots and checks with microsoft before windows update said "no updates available".

    Then I installed her old hard drive. Then started fiddling with the files.

    Keep the ideas coming.

    Now, I'm off to see my solicitor about suing someone :wink:
  3. Let me see if I read this correctly. You have XP installed on a partition on an 80G drive. You did a fresh install of XP on a different drive. Let's assume for the sake of argument that you didn't go out and buy a new copy of XP. Now the "new" drive can't see the partition that has XP on it that is using the same key. Hmm. Nope. I can't figure it out.

    If you have all these systems available why don't you just copy the files to a third drive and xfer them as needed?
  4. It sounds like the disk controller on the new system is detecting a problem and reporting it where the older systems don't care. I assume the disk has the first partition as a primary partition and has an extended partition with two logical partition within it. Since you are able to boot from this disk the first partition is also set to active. The first partition also holds the MBR. The point is the first partition is (and should be) different than the other two. This could be where the issue lies.

    A couple of things to check
    1) try using some disk diagnostics (from the manufacture's site) to see if it detects problems (try on both the old and new system)?

    2) can you set up the new system to be cable select rather than master/slave and see if that makes a difference (I have better luck with cable select settings)?
    3) are there BIOS settings on the new system that would affect the disk controller?
    4) rebuild the MBR
    5) (if you suspect it is because of differnt controllers) can you make a backup image of the partition on the old system and format and restore it on the new system? (are your systems networked?)
  5. Problem solved.

    Tried fixing the mbr from windows recovery console. Made no difference.
    Tried updating drivers for motherboard/hard drive. Windows said no better drivers available. Didn't try uninstalling then reinstalling (cowardice).

    Reformatted the partition I was having trouble with. The pc then could access the drive ok.
    Used powerquest to restore the drive. Problem recurred.
    Formatted it again. This time restored only the folders from the backup. Chose not to restore the individual files in the root directory. All now ok.

    Perhaps it was one of the files in the root of the partition which was causing the trouble. Then again, perhaps I was just lucky this time.

    Many thanks for your suggestions. Much appreciated.
Ask a new question

Read More

Hard Drives Windows XP Storage