Slave Hard Drive. Access without having to format.

I have a second 100MB Maxtor slave hard drive. I partitioned it with Maxblast. The main system running Windows XP became so slow I decided to re-install. I backed up EVERYTHING using Backup devil to the slave Maxtor drive. It was all copied and accessibility checked. It was all there. Carried out re install and wow the speed now makes it all worth while...BUT initially Windows refused to recognise the slave drive at all. Running Maxbalst got it to recognise the drive as K. But it now says it is a 30 gig disk and wants me to format it! How can I access all my old data on the slave drive without formatting....if I lose all our photos then I am a dead man!
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nobusbiljart fanCommented:
What operating system was on it? and what file system?
richardheggieAuthor Commented:
OS is XP. Main boot drive is NTFS but on checking the "Properties" of the slave K drive in My Computer it shows a RAW as the file system. Also it shows that there is neither any used space or free space.
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Sounds like it wasn't initialized.  Leftclick on the drive letter in the administration console (not explorer) and see if it's an option.  Have you tried that?  Sometimes Partition Magic can repair bad data.  30GB almost sounds like the jumpers are set wrong.  There is a 30G clip jumper setting on some HDDs.  Does the BIOS show the correct size?  If not, it's most probably a jumper issue.
richardheggieAuthor Commented:
To clarify...this drive has worked perfectly in the recent past...jumpers set properly. It originally started out with capacity issues but Maxblast sorted this out and the full 100Gb was recorded. BIOS shows the drive..I will check what size it shows. As I say the data is all on the drive because I checked it was all there prior to re-installing XP. I will try the initialisation point. Thanks everyone.
WhitePhantomIT ProfessionalCommented:
Before I even begin, I have made some assumptions, which may be incorrect:
I assume MaxBlast was installed at some point (before you made the backup) to manage the hard drive due to a BIOS that was unable to read its full capacity.
I assume your current BIOS is capable of reading the drive's full capacity and that MaxBlast is still installed as your hard drive manager.

Because this is such a lengthy post, I will give you my suggestion up front, and you can read the rest if you think it could be the solution you need.

Suggested Solution:
I believe you may need to remove the MaxBlast software to let your BIOS take control of the hard drive before you will be able to read the partition that existed when you made the backup.

On to the details, and I apologize for the detail in this post, but it was required for me to make sense. I sympathise with your situation and I sincerely hope you get your data back.  I may or may not be pinpointing your problem, but it's definitely possible.

Back when you had capacity issues and sorted it out with MaxBlast, did MaxBlast augment the system BIOS?  In other words, was the BIOS unable to read the full size of the hard drive until you installed MaxBlast to manage the hard drive?  If that is the case, then that may be why you are having problems reading the data now.  I used to use similar software, which was called EZ-Drive.  I have run into many different types of hard drive management software that has kept me from being able to read the data on a hard drive.  In every case, I used EZ-Drive to replace whatever other software was managing the hard drive, and then I uninstalled EZ-Drive, after which I was able to read the drive's data.  Here is an example of why this had to be done:

Suppose I installed an 80GB hard drive into a computer, but the BIOS was only capable of handling 32GB.  I booted up to DOS and setup EZ-Drive to manage the hard drive and format as FAT32.  After that, every time I  began to boot up the computer I would see a message indicating that EZ-Drive was starting and I could press a couple of keys if I wished to boot to a floppy disk.

Ok, this can get confusing, so I'll explain (trust me, this will bring me to a relevant point).  Why did it give me the option to boot from a floppy disk after EZ-Drive was initialized?  Because at that point, the BIOS had already given the go-ahead to start booting from the hard drive.  Once the BIOS did that, EZ-Drive took over completely.

Here are two scenarios, both booting from a floppy disk, but only one in which the drive would be readable.

1.  If I enable booting to the floppy drive in the BIOS and leave a bootable floppy disk in the 3½" drive, the system BIOS (not EZ-Drive) will boot to a floppy disk, but the EZ-Drive managed hard drive will not be readable in DOS.

2.  If I disable booting to the floppy drive in the BIOS and leave a bootable floppy disk in the 3½" drive, the system BIOS will ignore it and boot to the hard drive.  However, as I mentioned earlier, EZ-Drive will then give me the option to press a couple of keys in order to boot to the floppy drive.  After booting up to DOS from the floppy drive, the 80GB drive is completely readable because the EZ-Drive software was loaded before booting up.

Back to your problem:
As I said before, I believe you may need to remove the MaxBlast software to let your BIOS take control of the hard drive before you will be able to read the partition that existed when you made the backup.  If MaxBlast offers the option to create a boot disk, that may be the best way.  You need to remove it from the drive itself, not Windows.  Even deleting the partition would not remove the software I'm talking about.  I've always removed hard drive managers (including MaxBlast) with an EZ-Drive boot disk (very old software; I only use it for removal).  That is why I suggest a boot disk, but you may know of a better way.  Good luck!

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