How can i access my hd without reformating it

I have a machine running XP and I got the MBR error...I ran fixmbr but now i get a blank screen with an operating system error at the top.

I tried using my XP install disk to try and fix the install but instead it told me I had to format my drive to install XP, no option to repair the install.

I took the drive out and hooked it up to my Win7 machine and BIOS recognized it and so did Windows but it only let me access the Recovery partition. When trying to access the main partition with XP on it, an error came up telling me I had to format.

I tried Checking for Errors and it said there was an error accessing the drive so Check Disk wouldn't run.

So i believe the drive is unusable without a format.

There are important files on the drive that I need. Is there anyway I can recover those files before formatting the drive?
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  1. looking more in to it i guess what I'm asking is what a good data/partition recovery tool. Preferable a free one, and one that can boot from so i don't have to open up my towers again.
  2. I would recommend using a Linux boot CD and transferring the files from within Linux. Assuming you do not have a copy of Linux, and since you can't access your OS right now, you will need to use another computer for the first 2 steps.

    1.) Download Ubuntu.

    2.) Burn the .iso file to a CD/DVD, the file is roughly 685MB.

    3.) Go back to your computer and Boot to Ubuntu.

    4.) You will get to a screen that gives you the option to "try" Ubuntu or to "install" Ubuntu. Select "Try Ubuntu".

    5.) Once it loads, select "Files and Folders" from the pane on the left of the desktop.

    6.) Under "places" in the left pane of the folder your hard drive should be available, probably under the name 282GB File System (282 is just an example). Once you click on it you should be able to access all your files and then transfer them to an external drive.

    Navigating will be a little slow because you are running it from an optical drive, but transfer speeds should remain the same. After you transfer all the files you want to salvage then you can reformat and reinstall Windows or whatever OS you please.

    If you have any questions then feel free to ask. Good luck recovering your files!
  3. Totally agree. You can backup your files and repair partitions under Ubuntu easily.
  4. Will I be able to use USB through Ubuntu?
  5. I was unclear on something.

    Can you access the files on your Windows 7 machine when you boot to Windows 7 and it's basically a second hard drive?

    If you can, then you should:
    a) get another hard drive or SSD (the Vertex 3 Agility 120GB is awesome)
    b) Reinstall Windows, drivers etc...
    c) search for and copy the files on the second hard (delete nothing until certain you have it all)
    d) once the files are copied, then FORMAT and run full diagnostics (get diagnostics from the drive manufacturer). If it passes now then use it, if it fails RMA it if under Warranty.

    The ONLY program that I found (I tried more than 10) to recover data from my hard drive was the program "EASEUS data recovery wizard"; it is not free but again the only one that worked.

    I can't remember now if I was required to copy the files to another hard drive while running the recovery (it may depend on the problem). I think it took 12 hours to complete.
  6. Yes, definitely. Just plug in your USB device and transfer the files you want to save.
  7. jsanthara - Does it have any system requirements? It started booting up (saw a screen with Legoblock = Vitruvian Man at the bottom), then went to a black screen. The HD light is blinking but it's been sitting there blank for about half an hour or more. I know you mentioned it might take a while and my roommate's PC is from the dark ages.

    photonboy - I will give that a shot if Ubuntu doesn't work. There is a big emphasis on the freeware thing. She is very much against spending $$ unless totally necessary
  8. It does take a while to load, but the screen shouldn't be going black. I have never tried to run any of the recent Ubuntu releases on a computer with less than 1GB of RAM, but I also have never had a problem running it.

    Since you are running it from a CD/DVD or USB drive then the only requirement that matters would be 384MB of RAM (according to Ubuntu's website). To play it safe I would have atleast 512. How much RAM does the computer have?

    Is there any way you could gain access to another computer, preferably one that is a little more modern?
  9. The Try It/Install screen finally came up. I believe has 512. But yea, if it ends up taking too long I'm gonna put the drive in my tower and do if from here. I'll let you now how it turns out.
  10. Cool. Like I said before, it could take longer than usual to navigate around the OS, but the transfer speeds should remain the same. Best of luck!
  11. Alright. I'm in the OS but i don't see a way to access the drive. The only File System that comes up is the Ubuntu system files. The HD did come up in the Disk Utilities, but all I can do there is format or create/delete partitions.
  12. Did you get to "Files and Folders"? It is one of the boxes on the left, you might need to scroll down one or two boxes. It should be there, along with whatever USB external device you were going to use to transfer the files to.
  13. There is 'Computer' the popup balloon says 'browse all local and remote disks and folders accessible by this computer,' so I think it is the right area. It has all the drives listed CDROM etc. but the HD isn't there. The USB drive shows up but I can't open it (that is, I double click or right click > open and it does nothing).
  14. Ok. I'm in Ubuntu on my PC now and I see what you are talking about, all of my drives came up like you said. I'll pull the other drive out tomorrow or this weekend and hook it up on this one and see if it recognizes it. I'm fearing that the drive might be done though. Not even sure if the EaseUS that protonboy mentioned up there will work. It seems like BIOS will see it and knows it's a drive but operating systems refuse to acknowledge it.
  15. I tried to boot in to Ubuntu with the drive plugged in and it wouldn't start up...i just got a blank screen with a cursor...I tried EaseUs and I was able to salvage about 45% of the files I was hoping to recover...I'm going to try DiskDigger next and see if it yields different results, but i doubt it....EaseUs brought over all the files but only 45% were i expect that DiskDigger won't be able to recover the corrupted files either
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