I have an hdd rescued from another system (which was shot) which has an Active FAT32 partition containing data I need! How can I access the data on my other PC?

Well, as always the question is right there in the Title!
I’ve tried adding the old hdd as a slave drive to see if I could just copy the data over, perhaps using DriveImage XML if I had to for some reason.
Alas, it was not to be… The funny thing is that when I loaded Computer Management and went to Disk Management, the computer seemed to recognize the disk drive even to the extent of knowing it was Active e.t.c.
Unfortunately the only action I could perform on it when it was highlighted was to reformat it. Of course that was of no use to me!
I then looked under Device Manager and sure enough, the Maxtor hdd was showing. However, no Drive Path Letter was assigned to it, and under My Computer I couldn’t see the drive.
Is there any way I can retrieve this data!?

Much appreciated,

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If drive is operable, should be able to read it on another system.  First thing to do is connect it as only drive on secondary IDE channel.  That will resolve any master/slave issues.  If drive still cannot be accessed, post back and we'll try some other things.
Using a live cd may cut through any OS problems reading the drive. If you can access the data, transfer it to either optical media or another hard drive.
BartPe: http://www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/
Knoppix: http://www.knopper.net/knoppix/index-en.html
If the drive is seen in BIOS, there are other issues that may affect reading the drive:
--Damaged partitions
--Damaged MBR
--Faulty IDE cables
--Inadequate power supply

If the data is important, you may want to use a data recovery program before making changes to the drive:
Getbackdata…excellent record, free to try, pay to retrieve: www.runtime.org
PCInspector, free recovery, not as good as above: http://www.pcinspector.de/file_recovery/uk/download.htm
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Zuhir ElgmatiApplications and Systems AdministratorCommented:
what the file system of your HDD that u made it as slave ? meybe it's NTFS file system ...and as you said the master HDD FAT32 ... so you have to connect your HDD with system have NTFS file system
"However, no Drive Path Letter was assigned to it"

Have you tried assigning it a drive letter? If you have'nt already done so but not sure how, click on the below link for step-by-step instructions!
Please excuse me, I see you've already tried, and the only option you got was to re-format the drive!

Have you tried using the fat32 drive as master, with the other drive disabled/unplugged? If it boot's and you have a burner, concidering if that the data is'nt too large, tranfer the data that way. Then reconfigure the drives to how they are now, reformat the fat32 hdd for use with window!
Try tweakui to make sure drive letters are available. Also try unplugging your cdrom and put it on that cable on its own.
PapaDozAuthor Commented:
There are quite a few replies here. I started by using maramom's idea of data recovery. The PCInspector program recognised the data on the rescued drive and transfered the data across to the new hdd. However, when I attempt to open these files I get an error message from every program: e.g. Windows Media Player says I don't have the right codecs to play video OR audio files, pictures can't be viewed, pdf files appear to be 'damaged' or 'incorrectly encoded'. But most importantly, Word documents appear as gibberish.

zuhairGmaty could be on to something when he mentioned that one drive is FAT32 and the current one is NTFS. Could that be corrupting my files?

BTW nep1, I tried your option. Goback 3, which was on my old hdd, loaded up fine and things were looking good. I ran into a seemingly minor error to do with the Time and Date settings, but I just changed the settings as instructed. Just when I was about to breathe a sigh of relief however, the pc rebooted just before/at the moment the OS is supposed to load up. This happened everytime. I configured the old hdd as master on the Primary IDE, unplugging the current drive as you suggested. However, both the DVD and CD/RW drives were plugged into the Secondary IDE, whereas the other experts in this thread say I should remove all drives and plug the old hdd into the Secondary IDE alone. I'll try that and post the results to see whether I can actually boot into Windows XP...

You mentioned Goback. If you used this on your old system, Goback writes at a very low level to the disk, and the disk will not be recognized unless Goback is installed and running or the low level write is removed. (Tools from Symantec)
PCInspector is free, but GetbackData has a great record. I've heard several cases were PCInspector failed.

Decision....possibly write to the drive to fix the Goback low level write
Try Getbackdata...........costs $$, but great results
Install Goback to your current system to see the drive.

An NTSF system can read FAT32..just not the other way around.
It appears your problem is Goback

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Zuhir ElgmatiApplications and Systems AdministratorCommented:
no not corrupting your files but your FAT32 can't see the NTFS Drive ... so i suggest to connect your drive with NTFS file system ...then you can take your data out to the other drive .... or convert FAT32 to NTFS  by: Run-->CMD command -->
and write this commend :
CONVERT volume /FS:NTFS [/V] [/CvtArea:filename] [/NoSecurity] [/X]

  volume      Specifies the drive letter (followed by a colon),
              mount point, or volume name.
  /FS:NTFS    Specifies that the volume is to be converted to NTFS.
  /V          Specifies that Convert should be run in verbose mode.
              Specifies a contiguous file in the root directory to be
              the place holder for NTFS system files.
  /NoSecurity Specifies the converted files and directories security
              settings to be accessible by everyone.
  /X          Forces the volume to dismount first if necessary.
              All opened handles to the volume would then be invalid.
Now that the fat32 hdd will at least load GoBack. I'd recommend you enter the windows recovery console, run chkdsk /r then attempted to read the data while still in recovery!
PapaDozAuthor Commented:
I'm not sure, but I'm 99% certain that maramom's idea of Goback being the root of the problem was right. After following his link to the Microsoft Article I followed their instructions and disabled Goback.

 At this point the FAT32 drive was set up as the Primary IDE Master (and only) hdd...and still wouldn't load Windows. However, for some reason I decided to try what I had done before starting this thread, i.e. connecting the FAT32 drive as a slave and trying to just copy the files onto the current Master hdd. And it worked.

The FAT32 hdd was automatically assigned a Drive Path Letter and I could access all my data! I went to the Disk Management console and, sure enough, all the Actions were available to use on the old drive. I had tears in my eyes at this point, let me tell you!

I can only assume that the 'low level write' that Goback was running on the drive affected Win XP's ability to read from it.

I'd like to thank everyone very much for their help on this issue. I'm a very relieved and happy guy at the moment! Points are on the way! (I hope they are fair).
PapaDozAuthor Commented:
BTW, some of your suggestions appear useful, even if they didn't resolve the issue. I think they deserve some points too.
Great, glad you resolved the issue :0)
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