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    Can you take hard drive from one computer and open it in another to retrieve files?


    Situation, I am working with two Win XP computers. One will not boot, keeps wanting to run the restore program. Although there are backups of most files, some of the most recent aren't backed up, and I want to know if you can take the hard drive from the first computer and connect it to the second, which is working properly. I want to be able to open the hard drive to retrieve files. The first XP computer runs with one hard drive and it is partitioned with a recovery console.

    It appears the connections are the same.

    Hard drive number one - Seagate Ultra ATA.
    Hard drive number two - Western Digital WDC WD1600PB-55FBA0 Can't find more info on that.

    I have been reading and it seems like people try this, it tells them it is a local disk and they get the message that the disk is not formatted, do you want to format? I am thinking, I surely don't want to do that. Mostly because my plan is to put the non-booting hard drive back in, and then run the restore program and I don't want to lose the Windows files in the restore partition.

    The jumper information on the number one hard drive says for the first set of pins master on, slave off. Second set of pins is cable selected. Third set of pins has no information and fourth set of pins says drive capacity limited to 32 GB.

    So, is there a way to retrieve these files? Thanks for your help.
    Last edited by cea; September 20th, 2010 at 10:09 PM.
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    I think the easiest way to do this is use an external drive enclosure. It looks like your drive is an IDE drive. External drive cases for IDE drives are fairly cheap, check newegg.com for one.

    This is a bit less risky than connecting the 2nd drive in the computer, and you don't need to mess with jumpers, plus you don't have to rip into a working computer and run the risk of breaking something else by accident.

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    • TheJim01 agrees
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    I have never heard of anything like this. Do you slip the IDE drive into the case and it then becomes a USB connection? Or am I totally not understanding?
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    Originally Posted by cea
    I have never heard of anything like this. Do you slip the IDE drive into the case and it then becomes a USB connection? Or am I totally not understanding?
    Yes, that is exactly what it means. It's really easy to do, doesn't cost a lot, and can save you a lot of headaches.
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    newegg sells several such enclosures (linky - 5.25" enclosures) I assume it's a 5.25" drive. I have about a half dozen of these things, some old hard drives from previous computers I keep around in case I need data from, others for backup or more portable storage. I never buy external hard drives, I just buy a hard drive and one of these it's usually cheaper and you can be more selective about the actual drive you put in it. Notable however, it will be slower than if you mounted the drive internally since you're going through USB.
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    I bought this doohicky and have had pretty good success with it. It's basically the cabling component to the external enclosure. It's good in a pinch and converts multiple types of HD to a USB connection. It's not quite as secure as the enclosure so should only be used for short-term data recovery (e.g. like grabbing all the data off a drive before junking it.) It's also extra cheap compared to a full enclosure.

    Comments on this post

    • TheJim01 agrees : I've used one of those--really nice and convenient, if you don't want to deal with putting your HDD in a box.
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    That doohicky doesn't appear to support an IDE/ATA drive though. I have a couple docking stations for external sata drives which I really like, much easier than cables, you just set the drive in the dock. But I haven't ever found one for IDE. I got something similar off the shelf at Fry's Electronics that's kind of a IDE cable with power pack to USB without an enclosure around it.
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    Thank you. I had never heard of such a thing. I love this forum. I always learn a lot. I wish I knew enough to contribute. It is nice that people help out the rest of us.
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    AdamPI, I looked at your link again and this time saw that it's an IDE adapter. I could swear when I clicked the link a few hours ago it showed a SATA adapter Oh well, must be sunspots.

    I got a multi-function doohicky that I mentioned above, it's this one http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...?EdpNo=2329300 which looks strangely similar to the link Adam posted, but mine costs a bunch more :P
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    Yours just has some printed words and some pretty lights on it, that's why you paid the extra $10.
    Adam TT
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    Ensure that the drive enclosure has the voltage required to power your drive (as some USB versions do not).

    The HD should list the voltage required, just compare that to the enclosure/caddy you are thinking of buying.

    I swap drives in and out of my desktop regularly without issue (but took my first computer apart in the early '80s so I have a bit of practice).
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    Yes, It is possible to connect a hard drive to another computer and can save all the files and resources which are stored in it. The only required thing is that the CPU in which the hard disk is connected should not contain a Jumper but the master harddisk should have a Jumper other wise
    you cannot copy the data in master hard disk. If it is a SATA then also it is possible to collect data and stored in master hard disk.

    Comments on this post

    • AdamPI disagrees : This is confusing and (if I read through the lines correctly) incorrect.
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    Bought an enclosure


    I got the enclosure and put the hard drive in it. My system recognizes it. Even though I am plugging it into a USB port, it is showing under My Computer as a D: Local Disk and the size is only 10 GB, though the HD is an 80. When I click on the disk, it shows 3 files, Bootex.log, ntdetect and ntldr, but those 2 last files I may have put on myself, in an attempt to get the hard drive to boot.

    So I went into Disk Management and it shows it as

    (D Partition Basic Fat Healthy(Active) 10 MB 10 MB

    and 100% free.

    The box below it shows it as Basic 74.5 GB Online and then in the next box over Disk 1 (D 74.5 GB Fat Active.

    So how do I get to the other partition to try to get the files?



    Originally Posted by Doug G
    I think the easiest way to do this is use an external drive enclosure. It looks like your drive is an IDE drive. External drive cases for IDE drives are fairly cheap, check newegg.com for one.

    This is a bit less risky than connecting the 2nd drive in the computer, and you don't need to mess with jumpers, plus you don't have to rip into a working computer and run the risk of breaking something else by accident.
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    In Disk Management, ensure that the drive letters are available. For example, if the "75GB" partition says its drive letter is "E:", but you already have a CD drive using "E:", then the 75GB partition won't appear in My Computer with your other drives. Just change the 75GB partition's drive letter to something not being used, and it should appear.
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    When I plugged in the hard drive that I placed in the enclosure, in Disk Management, it showed as D, a local disk with 10 GB. C shows it to be local disk, (system). My CD ROM is E and if I plug in a thumb drive it shows it as F.

    So in Disk Management, I right clicked on the D: which shows it as 75 GB and I told it to assign another letter, which I did, to an M and it still just see the same 3 files.

    Note, I was able to add 2 files to the hard drive in the enclosure.

    Any more suggestions?
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