Trying to recover HDD data from crashed WINXP system

Not sure if this is the right forum for my issue, but I have a few questions regarding my Windows XP system that crashed awhile ago and I hope someone here can help or point to another site that can.

What I'm trying to do:
Recover any data or files I can from the HDD [HDD1] in that WINXP system.

What happened:
I had a PC that I built 8 or so years ago using an ASUS P4P800S MB & Intel P4 2.8ghz CPU WindowsXP Operating System. It ran great for several years until one day I had a major fault occur inside the power supply...Loud snap inside case, strong smell of burning, and tripped the circuit breaker for the house circuit I was plugged into.

What I've tried so far:
I replaced the power supply and powered on the PC using the same MB, CPU, and memory, but it would not boot up...I figured the fault must have also fried something on the MB, CPU, or maybe even the memory, so I am writing those components off.

I had another older WIN98 system I almost never use anymore. It runs fine with no issues, so I know the Asus A7V400-MX MB/CPU/Memory components are good. I am using these components and have disconnected the WIN98 HDD [HDD3]. I have another HDD [HDD2] that I'm going to format it to use as the new boot drive, so I can keep the data intact on HDD1 (was in the system when it crashed). HDD2 was NOT in the system when it crashed.

When I powered up the system, I get the MB splash screen, then it goes immediately to a screen saying system did not shut down properly last time, do I want to restart normally or in safe mode. No matter which option I choose, the system reboots.

I tried to get into MB Bios to change the boot priority so I can boot using WINXP CD and then format HDD2 to use as the new boot HDD for the system. On the MB splash screen it says press [F2] to enter the post screen. I tried Pressing [F2] once, several times, and holding it down during the splash screen...Still takes me to the safe mode screen. I tried to hook up HDD1 from the crashed system with same result. I also tried switching the master/slave jumpers around on each drive, and switched the IDE cables around, all same result.

Disconnecting all Cables from all of the HDDs and only having the CD-rom drive connected will allow system to boot from CD into WINXP setup, but then I have no HDD connected to the system to be able to format as a new system boot drive.

After trying all that out, I again hooked up the HDD3 just to check everything still working, and the system boots into WIN98 with no issues.

Other info:
I don't have alot of funds on hand at the moment to buy any other components such as a new MB/CPU combo, or take it down to a shop for repairs.

I do have a newer WIN7 PC. Is it possible to use WINXP HDD1 with the WIN7 system to recover the data or would it not be compatible? (If you are wondering why I still use these older versions of Windows, it is because I still use some older software that will not run on newer versions of Windows even though WIN7 has those backwards compatability options.)

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
3 answers Last reply
More about trying recover data crashed winxp system
  1. Buy an external SATA Case that will convert your drive to USB and try to recover files on another working system that way.
  2. Hello! I am still confused about your problem. But, referring to recover your important data on your drive, I think I can give you some suggestions. In fact, my WD pen drive has ever experienced the data recovery problem for some inaccessible issue. But, fortunately, I find a drive recovery freeware in this forum and restored all these important files back. So, I hope it could help you out, too. You could download it there:
    Remember: You should not save new file on this drive to rewrite the original data in case of data loss.
    You should always back up your important data at least on two separate drives in the future.
  3. I have made some progress since my first post...I finally managed to get Windows XP installed on HDD2 using the A7V400-MX motherboard system. I had been pressing the wrong key during bootup to get into BIOS so I could change the boot priority to boot off of the Windows XP install CD instead of the C drive...have to laugh at myself!

    Anyways, I was successful with formatting and installing WINXP onto HDD2, so that is now my boot drive. I made sure it worked, then connected HDD1 (which was the WINXP boot drive in the crashed system, so now it still has XP installed on it but is jumpered to be the slave drive) The system is able to recognize and even run programs that were installed on it before the system crashed without having to reinstall them.

    The system is running, and I now know that HDD1 still works and didn't get fried or corrupted when the old system crashed.

    However, not all is good. I had several Gigs worth of text documents, photos, MP3s, folders, and programs on HDD1 and most of these don't appear in the directory now including the Windows folder. Maybe there is a partition on HDD1 that I forgot about and the new system isn't recognizing that partition. (Note: Most of these files were backed-up a couple of months before the system crashed, it's the newer ones I've saved since the back-up that I want to recover.)

    I will try some file recovery programs next to see if that works. @Prosoftsuppor: What is involved with 'cloning' a drive? Would I need to get another HDD? I'm not sure, but I think that HDD1 (250GB) was almost full before the crash, and HDD2 is too small so I don't think I would have enough HDD capacity if cloning means that I would copy the contents of the HDD onto another drive.

    If that doesn't work, I'll try the suggestion by tripledouce and get an external SATA case to try to get to those files using the WIN7 PC, which does have lots of HDD capacity.

    Thank you everyone for your suggestions.
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