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Laptop Hard Drive Not Recognized by USB

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October 5, 2012 1:44:40 PM

Hi Everyone,

My cousin gave me her Toshiba Satellite (I believe L455D-S5976, http://us.toshiba.com/computers/laptops/satellite/l450/...) laptop to try to fix. At first she thought the hard drive went bad, but I started up the computer and it loaded up but when it tries to load windows it gives an error message about missing files or missing something that deals with boot, so I'm assuming her boot information is corrupted and hopefully I can do a recorvery/restore for her. I don't think I can boot into Safe Mode. When I do f8 the computer gives me a list of options with "recovery console" as the most prominent option to use. Before I attempt any of this recovery/restore stuff I want to pull what files I can find for her as they are her portfolio work for her photography.

So I pulled the hard drive out and hooked it up to my computer (Intel i5, windows 7 pro 64bit) via an IDE/SATA to USB adapter. I know the adapter was recognized because it made a "duh dunt" sound telling me something is plugged in, but it did not bring up the hard drive. It seems like the hard drive wasn't spinning, so after lightly messing with the adapter's cables (I lift the power cable up a little bit and it seems to fix the connection), I got the hard drive to start up and it was spinning. Still not recognized by the computer and I am not finding it in my "disk management" screen.

She is prepared to buy the recovery/OS discs from Toshiba so it will not be a problem to reinstall a fresh OS. But, I really need to salvage what I can of her work/files. My question is does anyone have an idea of how I can get the adapter to work or another way I can pull the files off the laptop hard drive?

Also, I do have an Acronis system repair/cloning program (actual retail version from Tigerdirect)... Would this be able to help me out? I don't know why I haven't thought about it until now... I know the cloning will not help because I'd only be cloning the damaged filesystem.

Thanks in advance!!

Best solution

a b D Laptop
a c 84 G Storage
October 5, 2012 3:19:54 PM

Set it all up so that the disk is spinning properly and plug the USB then.
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a b D Laptop
a b G Storage
October 5, 2012 3:41:34 PM

Aunnix said:
Hi Everyone,

My cousin gave me her Toshiba Satellite (I believe L455D-S5976, http://us.toshiba.com/computers/laptops/satellite/l450/...) laptop to try to fix. At first she thought the hard drive went bad, but I started up the computer and it loaded up but when it tries to load windows it gives an error message about missing files or missing something that deals with boot, so I'm assuming her boot information is corrupted and hopefully I can do a recorvery/restore for her. I don't think I can boot into Safe Mode. When I do f8 the computer gives me a list of options with "recovery console" as the most prominent option to use. Before I attempt any of this recovery/restore stuff I want to pull what files I can find for her as they are her portfolio work for her photography.

So I pulled the hard drive out and hooked it up to my computer (Intel i5, windows 7 pro 64bit) via an IDE/SATA to USB adapter. I know the adapter was recognized because it made a "duh dunt" sound telling me something is plugged in, but it did not bring up the hard drive. It seems like the hard drive wasn't spinning, so after lightly messing with the adapter's cables (I lift the power cable up a little bit and it seems to fix the connection), I got the hard drive to start up and it was spinning. Still not recognized by the computer and I am not finding it in my "disk management" screen.

She is prepared to buy the recovery/OS discs from Toshiba so it will not be a problem to reinstall a fresh OS. But, I really need to salvage what I can of her work/files. My question is does anyone have an idea of how I can get the adapter to work or another way I can pull the files off the laptop hard drive?

Also, I do have an Acronis system repair/cloning program (actual retail version from Tigerdirect)... Would this be able to help me out? I don't know why I haven't thought about it until now... I know the cloning will not help because I'd only be cloning the damaged filesystem.

Thanks in advance!!



You have too many variables for an accurate diagnosis but it sounds to me like a bad HDD. Try using a known good HDD in the questionable external enclosure to see if it is detected. If so then you know what to expect from the questionable HDD. If not then get a good enclosure. You need a starting point. I have a feeling someone is about to get a lesson in the value of backing up.
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October 5, 2012 4:07:52 PM

ram1009 said:
You have too many variables for an accurate diagnosis but it sounds to me like a bad HDD. Try using a known good HDD in the questionable external enclosure to see if it is detected. If so then you know what to expect from the questionable HDD. If not then get a good enclosure. You need a starting point. I have a feeling someone is about to get a lesson in the value of backing up.



I don't have the HDD in an enclosure. It is one of these deals: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UsOoildy-Y

I have used and formatted a few 3.5 HDDs with this adapter, so I know it isn't the adapater. Is there another way to test the HDD to see if it is bad as it very well could be the HDD?

As for the many variables, I am only interested in finding a way to pull the data right now. The rest was just for some back story to keep everyone up to speed with what I've noticed and had tried. If the HDD is bad, no big deal, but can I/is there a way to pull the data from a bad HDD? I don't care about any programs on it... that is her problem to come up with them, lol.

And, yes haha, it does seem like my worst fear for her... it does appear someone is going to learn a valuable lesson, but I figured I'd try to find some other methods to pull her data before I start wiping the drive clean..
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October 5, 2012 4:09:17 PM

noidea_77 said:
Set it all up so that the disk is spinning properly and plug the USB then.



This is how I always go about hooking up the adapter... but I don't think the HDD was spinning when I tested it out. I will give this method a shot over the weekend.
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October 5, 2012 4:26:18 PM

Aunnix said:
Hi Everyone,

My cousin gave me her Toshiba Satellite (I believe L455D-S5976, http://us.toshiba.com/computers/laptops/satellite/l450/...) laptop to try to fix. At first she thought the hard drive went bad, but I started up the computer and it loaded up but when it tries to load windows it gives an error message about missing files or missing something that deals with boot, so I'm assuming her boot information is corrupted and hopefully I can do a recorvery/restore for her. I don't think I can boot into Safe Mode. When I do f8 the computer gives me a list of options with "recovery console" as the most prominent option to use. Before I attempt any of this recovery/restore stuff I want to pull what files I can find for her as they are her portfolio work for her photography.

So I pulled the hard drive out and hooked it up to my computer (Intel i5, windows 7 pro 64bit) via an IDE/SATA to USB adapter. I know the adapter was recognized because it made a "duh dunt" sound telling me something is plugged in, but it did not bring up the hard drive. It seems like the hard drive wasn't spinning, so after lightly messing with the adapter's cables (I lift the power cable up a little bit and it seems to fix the connection), I got the hard drive to start up and it was spinning. Still not recognized by the computer and I am not finding it in my "disk management" screen.

She is prepared to buy the recovery/OS discs from Toshiba so it will not be a problem to reinstall a fresh OS. But, I really need to salvage what I can of her work/files. My question is does anyone have an idea of how I can get the adapter to work or another way I can pull the files off the laptop hard drive?

Also, I do have an Acronis system repair/cloning program (actual retail version from Tigerdirect)... Would this be able to help me out? I don't know why I haven't thought about it until now... I know the cloning will not help because I'd only be cloning the damaged filesystem.

Thanks in advance!!

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October 5, 2012 4:32:05 PM

There is a freeware product Trinity Rescue Disk,
http://trinityhome.org/Home/index.php?wpid=1&front_id=1...

It will boot the machine in Linux.

Follow the Utilities

"Mount" the Windows file systems on the Hard Drive

Assign the File Systems as a Network File Sever(s)

It will assign an IP Address to the Laptop automaticaly or you can assign one manually.

Access the File server from another computer on the local network, and you will be able to retrieve the files you want from the Laptop.

The Trinity Rescue disk is also very useful for re-setting and recoverying passwords on a "locked" Windows system.



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October 5, 2012 4:43:34 PM

sdoherty said:
There is a freeware product Trinity Rescue Disk,
http://trinityhome.org/Home/index.php?wpid=1&front_id=1...

It will boot the machine in Linux.

Follow the Utilities

"Mount" the Windows file systems on the Hard Drive

Assign the File Systems as a Network File Sever(s)

It will assign an IP Address to the Laptop automaticaly or you can assign one manually.

Access the File server from another computer on the local network, and you will be able to retrieve the files you want from the Laptop.

The Trinity Rescue disk is also very useful for re-setting and recoverying passwords on a "locked" Windows system.



Awesome. I will try this after noidea's adapter comment.

I'm assuming I make a bootable ISO disc for Trinity to use on the laptop? What happens to my windows OS after I mount the hard drive on the Linux platform? Is it overwritten or lost? Do I need to unmount it once I'm done retrieving the files? (In this case it most likely won't matter as I will need to do a fresh install of Windows, but I ask for future reference)..
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a b D Laptop
a c 84 G Storage
October 5, 2012 4:47:27 PM

Aunnix said:
This is how I always go about hooking up the adapter... but I don't think the HDD was spinning when I tested it out. I will give this method a shot over the weekend.


Teh background: the pnp feature of disks is totally dependent on powering the disk electronic first so it can propagate the device type and so on when connected to the data port. That's why the power connectors of an SATA device are little longer, then the data connectors. If you plug the caddy in, it first gets power. That's the same for the adapter.
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October 5, 2012 4:52:48 PM

booting from the trinity mearly loads the Linux operating system in memory.

Mounting the windows files systems is a software call, that will have NO physical effect on the Hard Drive before or after the "mount".

I have used this a 1/2 dozen times to retrieve precious data for some clients from otherwise "dead" non-bootable hard drives.
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October 5, 2012 5:11:13 PM

noidea_77 said:
Teh background: the pnp feature of disks is totally dependent on powering the disk electronic first so it can propagate the device type and so on when connected to the data port. That's why the power connectors of an SATA device are little longer, then the data connectors. If you plug the caddy in, it first gets power. That's the same for the adapter.



Makes sense. I will let you know how it goes... I will probably try this out tonight and if it doesn't work I'll look into the Trinity Rescue Kit or whatever is mentioned above.
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October 5, 2012 5:13:19 PM

sdoherty said:
booting from the trinity mearly loads the Linux operating system in memory.

Mounting the windows files systems is a software call, that will have NO physical effect on the Hard Drive before or after the "mount".

I have used this a 1/2 dozen times to retrieve precious data for some clients from otherwise "dead" non-bootable hard drives.



Awesome! I'm actually in my beginner stages of Linux as I'm trying to setup a file and web server out of my old machine using Debian Squeeze. I've yet to ever "mount" anything, but it doesn't look to be too difficult..
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a b D Laptop
a b G Storage
October 5, 2012 6:37:52 PM

The specs say your laptop has a SATA drive. You could open up your case and connect it directly to your motherboard. All you need is a sata data cable and a sata power connector from your power supply. If your power supply doesn't have any sata connectors available you can get a molex to sata power connector cheap at any pc parts place. That usually works better than usb.
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October 5, 2012 7:03:30 PM

zdbc13 said:
The specs say your laptop has a SATA drive. You could open up your case and connect it directly to your motherboard. All you need is a sata data cable and a sata power connector from your power supply. If your power supply doesn't have any sata connectors available you can get a molex to sata power connector cheap at any pc parts place. That usually works better than usb.


Yeah, it is SATA, and I believe I have a free power connector. If not, my PSU is modular and I still have one more set of connections I can plug in. I'm not sure if they are molex or SATA, but either way, I have a few adapters.

I wanted to avoid opening the computer at all costs if possible. I don't want to take a chance on messing up my brand new build, and not to mention it would be a pain to have to open it up everytime I try to do repairs for people. So, I was looking for alternatives and opening my computer up would be my last resort, lol.
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October 5, 2012 11:10:13 PM

noidea_77 said:
Set it all up so that the disk is spinning properly and plug the USB then.



So, this is what's working for me so far. I hooked the adapter SATA power cable up and tried to mess with it to make the a connection for it to spin. Nothing seemed to happen. So, I plugged in the USB cable to the my computer and nothing happened. Back to my initial problem at the start of this thread. I started to play with the power cable again and the drive started to spin... but, still my initial problem. The drive was not being picked up.

I took the USB cable out of my computer and let go of the power cable to allow it to stop spinning. After a second or two I put pressure on the power cable to see if it would spin again, and it did. I hooked up the USB cable to my computer again and it has installed drivers and I'm reading the HDD as we speak.

Hopefully this means the HDD isn't shot and I can still install a fresh copy of windows for her!? Thanks for the help everyone.
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October 6, 2012 5:15:35 PM

So, I've got the laptop HDD being recognized by the USB adapter. I can pull open the drive and browse through it without any problems. When I try to start copying the files over it takes forever, almost as it frozen. The only files I've tried to copy are two PDF files. The folder I'm trying to copy that includes them is only 21.4MB.

Any ideas on why I'm unable to copy, or why my copy process is so horrible?
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October 15, 2012 12:48:49 PM

Best answer selected by Aunnix.
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December 14, 2013 2:25:58 PM

aunnix I think ive got the same problem had old har drive put it into one of othse external cases w usb connector, but its not being recognized by new laptop that's running windows 8. the old one was vista I think ..
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