Can't access hd on old computer (XP)

Ok so I'm in a bit of a bind. I backed up a whole bunch of files from my parents computer to their second hard drive, which was set up using some sort of western digital tools. I do what i do on my own system and copy all the files i want to keep to a secondary hd and then while I redo the operating system I unplug that second hard drive to make sure nothing gets lost. But now I have the problem that windows won't recognize that there are files on it.

Windows recognizes the drive itself, but can't seem to read it or recognize the file system it is using. The Western Digital data lifegaurd tools recognizes the drive and that it has files on it, but the only way it wants to "initialize" the drive is to erase it. Is there any way to save the information on this drive?? It's a 200gig western digital drive on windows XP home.
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  1. Now I've tried to access the drive using linux and that won't work either. Both windows and linux are saying it's using some unrecognized file system. How can this be??!?! Just before i reformatted I was copying files to the drive inside of windows. what could have happened to the file system? how could it have been so different that now it won't recognize it? Does anyone know of anyway to recover the files? any program to use?
  2. Ghost9, not sure what happened to your drive, perhaps ther is a minor adjustment that will make it readable but don't panic - lacking that there is a good chance a data recovery/partition recovery utility can save those files. Just don't use the drive or attempt to partition it or write to it until you have tried a recovery tool.

    Not sure if those programs have a free trial, I suspect they want you to pay to actually recover, though you can probably at least run their free version to at least see if there is anything to recover. I have an old version of 'get data back' which has saved many a lost drive for me. There are quite a few recovery programs out there - perhaps if you search the web you can find a free one. These programs are pretty powerful tools and can often get back stuff you think is lost. As long as the drive still runs the chances are good.
  3. unfortunately it doesn't seem it will work as windows won't even assign a drive letter to it.

    edit: ooo oo it looks like it may work.
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