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EMERGENCY .....HOW TO RECOVER MY HARD DRIVE...PLEASE HELP..

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December 18, 2009 12:20:08 PM

This problem is very confusing and I'll try and keep it as simple as possible. Basically one of my hard drives lost all of its files or the OS is not recognizing it. They are very important files and I desperately need to get them back.

DESKTOP 1
Drive A: 160GB ATA, Windows XP OS installed, Master
Drive B: 160GB ATA, no OS installed, Slave, Used as a storage Disk

DESKTOP 2
Drive C: 40GB ATA, Windows XP OS installed, Master with no slave


I took the Drive B out and attached it to DESKTOP 2 as a slave.
When I turned DESKTOP 2 on after, it went through a long boot process and it said something about "...reconfiguring your hardware...."
Sensing that there is something wrong, I turned it off and put back Drive B back into DESKTOP 1. Now, Drive B is coming up as a RAW drive (0mb capacity and used space) and it says, "Drive is not formatted. Do you wish to format it now?". HOW CAN I FIX THIS??
What just happened to all my files in Drive B? Please HELP~~~~

Checked BIOS and cables....found nothing wrong....

How can I fix this without using very time consuming and expensive File Recovery progs? There must be a simple way to fix this. Please advise me..thanks..
a b G Storage
December 19, 2009 4:44:01 AM

Assuming no physical damage, it is likely that you corrupted the HDD B's Master Boot Record (MBR). You could try the MBRWizard!. Go to the Downloads tab on the upper right of the page and choose your operating system. I have successfully used it on occasion.

Next time, let the receiving machine boot into the operating system - don't pull the plug! The machine was likely reading the HDD B MBR and writing the new info to the operating system when it lost power.
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December 19, 2009 4:54:17 AM

First of all, a few questions to ask yourself, have there been symptoms that signals the imminent failure of the hdd? like funny sounds? intermittent slowing down?

The reason to ask this is that hdd usually dies slowly and gradually (it can definitely die suddenly, then....). Assuming it's dying of old age, and it's still spinning, you could try to sit it out for a while then put it back in, hoping for an intermittent come back (they do!).

Most file recovery software can recover files from damaged partitions or even drives that have been quick formatted, cause the files are still there until it's been overwritten. If it doesn't damage your moral that much, go download one ... a trial version. (try "Restorer Ultimate" to see if it can still access the drive and "see" the data, then you can plan your next move)

If it is an actual hdd failure like you hinted, there no fixing the problem except to call fema and hope to recover as much as possible, whenever possible, if possible at all. Good luck / God bless
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a c 357 G Storage
December 20, 2009 2:29:18 AM

Although actual hardware failure of Drive B is possible, it's not the only way this can happen, so let's assume it is still OK but just has some data issues.

1. One potential problem is that, once it was re-installed in its original Desktop 1 machine, that machine failed to recognize it properly and assign it a drive letter. Thus Windows cannot use it. You can fix this using Disk Management. Click on Start in lower left and, in the menu, RIGHT-click on My Computer and choose Manage. In that window expand Storage if necessary and click on Disk Management. You will see two SCROLLING panes on the right. The upper one shows you the disks Windows can use now. The LOWER RIGHT pane shows you hardware disks, each represented by horizontal blocks, and each of these has a label to its left end and some other sub-blocks representing the Partitions (drives) on that unit. I expect there will be two main blocks there representing your two 160 GB IDE drives, and maybe a third representing your optical drive (you did not mention). For each of the HDD units, look at the block representing the main Partition (probably the only one) on it. It should have a Volume Name like "Boot disk" or "My C Drive", or whatever you named it, a letter name like (C: ) or (D: ), a size, and a status message. Does the malfunctioning drive have a letter name? If not, you can RIGHT-click on that block and choose the option to Change its Name. You can assign it any letter not already in use. Now, if the name it should have (like D: ) had already been re-assigned to something else like your optical unit, first change the name of the optical drive back to something like E:, then go back and assign the freed-up letter name to your HDD that needs it. Once this is complete, exit out of Disk Manager and reboot to set the changes. HOWEVER, if the drive is NOT missing a name and the name is the correct one, you have other problems. It probably shows here that you drive is RAW. You are right - do NOT Format it!

2. Another possibility is that Computer 2 where you temporarily installed Drive B could not handle a drive of this size (over 128 GB) properly and somehow wrote some new data to it, either in the Partition Table or in the Directory files. This should not happen, but there is the complication that turning off during the boot process did something strange. So you can try two types of tools. One is Partition Recovery and / or repair, and treefrog07 has recommended one to try. If the problem is just bad data in the track that holds the MBR and Partition Table, this could fix it all.
The other type of tool is data recovery software, most of which does not try to fix Partition problems but does recover files on Partitions with errors in the File System. There are freeware tools for this, and pay-for-it tools. Among the latter, one that many here have found works well is GetDataBackNTFS. Go to their website. You can run their free trial version which will analyze your disk and show you exactly what its directory structure will look like if it does its job for you. If you think that does everything you need and like the deal, you pay for it and it finishes the job immediately. You have just bought a software package that is now installed on your disk, and you have all your data back. But if you don't pay for whatever reason, it does nothing to your disk and you can proceed with other tools.
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December 21, 2009 12:49:30 PM

It turned out to be that I didn't use the correct cable plugs and messed up on the jumper settings.
Everything is okay now. No harm was done...
I am going to keep and print out all of your postings just in case something goes wrong again and jumper setting fails to correct the problem..lol.
Thanks for all your awesome feedbacks...
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