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Recovering data from a PATA drive

My wife's computer recently went kaput...it crashed and won't even try to boot now.
There are files on the PATA IDE drive that we want to recover, mainly photos.
I've hooked the drive into my computer and it gets recognized, but when I try to open the PATA, the computer will only allow me to format the drive.
I get an error that says "This drive is not formatted...format now...yes...no".

Why can't I just see the files and copy them?

Any ideas out there in Tom's World??
12 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about recovering data pata drive
  1. How did the other computer die? It might have took the IDE drive with it.
  2. Could we see the partition table and boot sector with Microsoft's Sector Inspector?
    http://www.users.on.net/~fzabkar/SecInspect.zip

    Extract the above archive to the one folder and execute the SIrun.bat file. The procedure will generate a report file named SIout.txt.
  3. Try to put this PATA IDE to separate cable first then go to your BIOS make sure it gets detected. Their is a switch in your hard disk for IDE (master and slave) so connect it to a separate IDE cable and make sure it gets recognize with your BIOS first.
  4. I used a dedicated cable and the PATA gets recognized in BIOS as a Primary IDE Slave. It also gives me all kinds of info as to the brand, size, etc.
  5. The PC froze, no mouse, couldnt access task manager. Had to hard restart the PC. Nothing comes up on the screeen...remains black...gives no signal to the monitor. I can hear the HDD humming and all the fans run. I get no boot "beep" or other indications of the PC trying to boot :(
  6. Check your jumpers/cabling. If its the only device on the cable, then it should be the primary (or secondary) master. Not the slave.
  7. Is it ok to set the PATA as the primary master? Wont my PC try to boot from it?
    Ill try to set it as the secondary master, will this allow me to access the files?
  8. Best answer
    The bios should boot whatever drive you tell it to. It might try to boot the IDE drive, but you can go back in there and change it back to your normal drive. Depending on your board you might have only 1 IDE channel.

    The point I was trying to make is that if you have a single device on the IDE channel and its jumpered as a slave device, thats your problem. You have to have a master, then a slave. Make sure the drive is jumpered correctly, and plugged in. Only then can you rule out some sort of hooking up problem.
  9. Best answer selected by goel0012.
  10. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! I set the jumper to master, set a dedicated IDE cable, restarted my PC and viola!!!
    Again, thank you, you helped recover 5 years worth of our family pics. I've already purchased an external HDD and will back them up ASAP.

    Thanks to you and Tom's Hardware
    goel0012 (Matt Goeltl in Stillwater, MN)
  11. No problem, glad it worked out.
  12. The drive is not formatted, do you want to format it now

    It happended to many usb drives, memory card, pen stick, flash drive... The boot sector got problems. Whenver you need files from the not working drive or card, you can get them back. And this one may work

    http://www.icare-recovery.com/howto/the-drive-is-not-formatted-do-you-want-to-format-it-now.html
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