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Help with Win XP repair - urgent request

Last response: in Windows XP
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November 3, 2006 3:50:40 PM

Hi
Anyone help me with this wee difficulty
My friend uses his pc to run his own business and I recently suggested that he buy an external hdd for backup. He bought a Western Digital 200 MB drive - plug and play type. When we plugged it in it ran through the "found new hardware" but the drive did not appear in my computer. It seemed to be installed but unavaliable. No matter how many times I plugged it in it would not show up.
He has had this pc for about 4 years and doesnt really maintain it, and it has always been a bit dodgy ( wouldnt recognise usb2 devices even after SP1 and 2 were installed AND WinXP with SP2)
I suggested we format and reinstall Windows but he didnt want to lose all the info so I inserted my Win XP disc and did a repair. It went through the "loading files" bit but when it gets to "installing windows" ( always 35 minutes remaining it just stops. The windows messages still scroll on screen but the HDD light was inactive for 10 to 15 minutes so I rebooted .
Thing is : It keeps on going back through setup prog and freezing at 35 minutes remaining. I have tried cahnging the boot sequence etc but it seems caught in a loop - it keeps trying to install windows and I cant get it to reboot so he can access the data.
The original Win XP was one of those pre loaded Tiny jobbies and mine is a pukka XP pro copy so could this be the prob ?
Otherwise how the fek can I get the hdd working or get the data off it
This is really urgent so any help appreciated
Thanx
November 3, 2006 4:18:37 PM

Best bet is to put the drive in another computer, copy over any info needed, put drive back in origional computer, boot to the cd and format the drive and install a clean copy of windows.

Your origional problem with the external drive was probably due to the fact that the drive was not paritioned and formatted. Drives will not show up in my computer until this is done. You need to go into drive management and parition the drive and format it.
November 3, 2006 4:48:06 PM

Thanks for that
I was trying to avoid losing all the data on the hdd
Basically if the reinstall did not complete, can I get out of the loop of trying to install WinXP, then the installation just stops with 35 minutes remaining. You can still see the information display changing ( the one which tells you about the features ) but the hdd light stops flashing and the install stays as it is with 35 minutes remaining. It doesnt crash - just stops installing and everything seems normal - just no progress
Is there any way to recover the data or to complete the installation rather than a full format
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November 3, 2006 10:20:38 PM

hi.
does your external usb hdd drive appears in bios.
if yes,then install windows on that drive and boot from usb to acces the data in your pc.
if not,then the above procedure must followed,
or in a 3 pc you install windows on usb drive and boot from that drive.
November 4, 2006 2:59:13 AM

unplug all non-essencial prepherals from the box, you only need a monitor, mouse, and keyboard...hell it'll work even without the mouse

if it doesn't pull through, then disable usb controllers and onboard junk that are not required and give it another try, if you just need to do some disaster recovery and backup the data, as suggested, put the drive in another box...also next time use devmgmt.msc to get your external drive up and running
November 4, 2006 1:48:07 PM

Thanks very much guys
One question I have is from where can I retrieve e-mails on the drive, I checked my own but cant see them in the Outlook folder
November 4, 2006 9:51:47 PM

i don't know what app. you're using for your emails, but if it's outlook express, your email profile should be in here somewhere, it's a hidden folder

C:\Documents and Settings\blabla_user\Application Data\Identities\some###
November 5, 2006 2:04:32 AM

I have plugged the original usb ext drive into my machine and it was recognised immediately - I had formatted it first
I have also plugged the faulty disc into my own machine - I used one of the cd rom cables, but it didnt appear in my computer
I am a complete noob at these things: but is there anything else I should do to allow me to access the data on the disc that wont boot
Thanks
!