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Getting files from harddrive on broke computer?

Posted on 2006-06-06
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I have a broke computer and I was told that I could get my files from my broke computer.   I was told that I can connect my Harddrive to another computer and get the information.   Can anyone give me information on how to do this?  The more the information the better.


Thanks Chad
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Question by:college_fellow
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by:Irwin Santos
ID: 16849376
yes you can do this..

But you have to provide more details..

What operating system is the working computer?  what operating system was running on the broken computer?

The method is to open your system, and attach the drives via the IDE cable.

If you have the SECONDARY IDE channel available.. then you configure broken computer's hardrive as MASTER, then attach to your system.  Turn it on.

Provide specifics as requested, and we can streamline a procedure.
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by:college_fellow
ID: 16849392
Both computers are windows XP.   What is a IDE cable?

Thanks Chad
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by:Irwin Santos
ID: 16849415
The IDE cable is what is attached to the hardrives in the system.

Most machines are configured this way..

PRIMARY IDE channel  Hardrive (master)  CD/DVD ROM (slave)
SECONDARY IDE channel - nothing.

Somewhere along the line, you will have to open something up.
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by:college_fellow
ID: 16849429
How do I open something up?
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by:Irwin Santos
ID: 16849433
do you have desktop or notebook computers?
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by:college_fellow
ID: 16849438
a desktop
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by:garycase
ID: 16849440
Well ... let's not make any assumptions here.

First, you WILL have to open the computer.

Second, the hard drives in the computer will either have connections that look like the wide LEFT connector (IDE) or the small RIGHT connector (SATA) here:  http://lib.store.yahoo.net/lib/directron/sata3large.jpg

Open your computer and post which kind you have in EACH computer (the broken one and the one you want to use to recover your data).

If the computers involved are fairly new, you may have the SATA connectors.   If they're a bit older, they almost certainly have IDE connectors.

Once you know the types of connections you have to deal with, it's pretty simple to walk you through what you need to do ... but first you have to identify those.

... don't worry about the terminology here (Master, Slave, Primary, Secondary, etc.) ==> you don't need to understand any of it;  and it won't even apply if you have SATA drives.   Just post the details of kind of drive connections you have.

By the way ... since you want to recover the data from the broken computer, there's one IMPORTANT rule:
DO NOT USE THAT COMPUTER anymore -- don't even turn it on;  don't connect the hard drive to any other computer; etc.   In other words, if you use the drive at all you will DRAMATICALLY reduce the chances of getting the data you want off of it.

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by:Irwin Santos
ID: 16849462
"How do I open something up?"
Yikes....... you want to attempt the fix?
http://port.inst.cl.uh.edu/portfolio/AyalaA5660/Webpub/articles/HardrivesART.htm
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by:college_fellow
ID: 16849472
I have the wide IDE connector
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by:Irwin Santos
ID: 16849496
Ok.. and do you want to attempt the fix?  The guide provided describes the installation...  You need to open the broken computer up and take out that drive and temporarily transplant it into a working computer.
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by:garycase
ID: 16849499
Okay, the EASIEST way to do this (without having to worry about how the drive is jumpered; or even what that means) is to:

(a) CAREFULLY remove the drive from the broken PC

(b)  CAREFULLY disconnect the IDE cable in the "working" PC from the optical (CD/DVD) drive and connect it to the drive from the broken PC

(c)  Connect a power cable (a plastic connector with 4-pins -- like you removed from the drive in the broken PC)  to the drive

It seems obvious, but just in case:  DO ALL OF THE ABOVE WITH THE POWER OFF (in fact disconnect the power cord).

Now boot the working PC -- and you should "see" the old drive as an additional hard drive on the working PC.   You can then just copy the files from it to the main hard drive on that computer.

After you've copied what you need;  turn off the computer;  disconnect your old hard drive;  reconnect the optical drive;  and you're DONE !!
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by:thoffman
ID: 16849560
I've found that something like this <http://www.mwave.com/mwave/viewspec.hmx?scriteria=AA42580> makes jobs like this much easier and safer. I got one at work and can't believe I worked all these years without it.

Basically, you'll pull the hard drive out of the old computer as described above. Then, instead of opening up the good computer, you plug the cable for this adapter into the hard drive, connect the power cord, carefully place the hard drive on a flat, hard, non-conductive surface, then connect the USB cable to your good computer. It shows up as a drive in Windows, and you can copy the files off the old drive without opening your new system.

It's useful for newbies as well as experts. For newbies, it makes it safer, since you don't have to worry about mucking up your good computer. For experts, it saves time, especially if you're doing this all the time.
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by:garycase
ID: 16849599
I have one of those in my collection of computer gadgets -- it does work very well.   But it's not something a college student's likely to have laying around.   But I agree if he wants to buy one it is a very simple way to do this :-)
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by:college_fellow
ID: 16849750
This may be a stupid question but where is the harddrive usally at???


chad
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by:garycase
ID: 16849770
You may wish to find a friend who feels more "comfortable" working inside a PC to help you with this.
It's not "hard" ==> but it's very useful if you've had a bit of experience.

... but to answer your question:  You've obviously opened the case since you said you have an IDE cable.   There are probably two IDE cables in your PC.   Both of them have one end connected on the motherboard (the large circuit board).   The other end of one of them connects to your hard drive :-)   (the other one connects to your CD/DVD drive)    ... so that's where your hard drive is => just follow the IDE cable.
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by:garycase
ID: 16849776
I'm off to bed ... but if you follow the sequence of instructions I posted above (Date: 06/06/2006 10:51PM PDT) you should be fine.   Post back if you have further questions and I'm sure someone will help you with the details.

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by:college_fellow
ID: 16849799
Ok I found it So If I get the IDE to USB connector will it take longer to transfer the file.  
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by:garycase
ID: 16849910
No -- if you buy the IDE to USB connector the file transfer will take about the same (technically it is slower; but not enough that you'll notice it).   .... but it is MUCH easier ==> you never have to open the 2nd computer :-)
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by:Callandor
ID: 16851295
Here's an illustrated guide to adding a hard drive - removing one is similar, except you reverse the directions.  Ignore the sections on partitioning and formatting the drive, since you have data on it that you want to retrieve.

http://www.pctechguide.com/tutorials/HardDrive1.htm
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by:college_fellow
ID: 16857071
Can someone help me I just found out the computer that the running computer at windows 2000.   Will this matter if I hook up my hard drive from windows XP.


chad
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by:Irwin Santos
ID: 16857134
you should be OK.
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by:garycase
ID: 16857263
Microsoft did upgrade NTFS (the file system you are most likely using on the disk)  from v3.0 in Windows 2000 to v3.1 in XP;  adding some quota improvements, real-time encryption, reparse points, and better sparse file support (large, mostly empty files consume very little disk space).   There are, however, no on-disk format differences, so you should have no difficulty reading your disk on a Windows 2000 computer.

The only possible exception to this is if your security permissions require you to "take ownership" of the drive.   I think this is VERY unlikely in your case -- but if you do have difficulty accessing the drive, post back and we'll tell you how to do it.

If, by any chance, the disk uses an older file system (FAT32), then you will absolutely have NO issues reading it (as long as the disk is physically okay).
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by:college_fellow
ID: 16857388
I pugged it into the computer and it did not read the drive.   do I need to give power to the harddrive in the broke computer?

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by:garycase
ID: 16857395
Yes !!
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by:garycase
ID: 16857409
To repeat what I posted earlier (and notice Step c):

(a) CAREFULLY remove the drive from the broken PC

(b)  CAREFULLY disconnect the IDE cable in the "working" PC from the optical (CD/DVD) drive and connect it to the drive from the broken PC

(c)  Connect a power cable (a plastic connector with 4-pins -- like you removed from the drive in the broken PC)  to the drive

It seems obvious, but just in case:  DO ALL OF THE ABOVE WITH THE POWER OFF (in fact disconnect the power cord).

Now boot the working PC -- and you should "see" the old drive as an additional hard drive on the working PC.   You can then just copy the files from it to the main hard drive on that computer.

After you've copied what you need;  turn off the computer;  disconnect your old hard drive;  reconnect the optical drive;  and you're DONE !!
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by:college_fellow
ID: 16857438
I did all of that and the drive did not show up.   Do you know why?

chad
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by:college_fellow
ID: 16857446
also it says

)  CAREFULLY disconnect the IDE cable in the "working" PC from the optical (CD/DVD) drive and connect it to the drive from the broken PC

So do I connect the working hard drive ide cable into the slot the cd drive came from then plug the CD dive to the harddrive in the broke computer


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by:garycase
ID: 16857528
It's not clear what you're referring to here.

The BEST advice is what I said yesterday:  "You may wish to find a friend who feels more "comfortable" working inside a PC to help you with this."

But if you don't have someone available, let me try and explain:

The GOOD computer should have the following:

(1)  An IDE cable that is plugged into the motherboard that goes to its hard drive.  DO NOT TOUCH this one.

(2)  An IDE cable that is plugged into the motherboard that goes to the CD/DVD drive.   Unplug this one FROM the CD/DVD drive end; and plug it into the hard drive from the broken computer.   ALSO plug a power connection into the hard drive from the broken computer.

So ALL you should have done at this point is REPLACE the CD/DVD drive in the good computer with the hard drive from the broken computer.

... and BE SURE ALL OF THE ABOVE ARE DONE WITH POWER OFF !!!

Now turn on the good computer -- you should have an "extra" hard drive in "My Computer" -- which will be your old hard drive.
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by:college_fellow
ID: 16857617
Ok I did all of that just as you said and there is not a drive on my computer.   What could the cause of this be?

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by:Irwin Santos
ID: 16857621
there IS a drive in your computer. Please re-review this:
http://port.inst.cl.uh.edu/portfolio/AyalaA5660/Webpub/articles/HardrivesART.htm
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by:Irwin Santos
ID: 16857629
Ultimately if you are fearing the worse and are not confident in repairing your own computer, then let a professional computer repair company do it for you.  Just keep in mind that it will cost you $$$.  Not sure where you are located, but from what we are looking at, I'll would bill you $150 at least.

Feel confident now to take a stab at it?
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by:college_fellow
ID: 16857654
what do you mean there is a drive in my computer?
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by:garycase
ID: 16857798
Okay ... let me say this one more time, but a bit stronger:  "FIND a friend who feels more "comfortable" working inside a PC to help you with this."

... or do what irwinpks suggested and take it to a shop.   To simply remove and slave a hard drive I don't think it will cost you more than $75  ==> unless, apparently, you're in Hawaii :-)

If you REALLY can't find someone to help you ... post the Make/Model of your PC and I'll post a picture of YOUR PC and notes on how to remove the drive.
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by:college_fellow
ID: 16857886
I did everything that I was told to do but my system does not see the drive.

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by:garycase
ID: 16857958
Let's make this as safe and simple as possible:

(1)  Put your working computer back EXACTLY the way it was -- so you have a good computer.

(2)  Buy this (as suggested by thoffman):
http://www.mwave.com/mwave/viewspec.hmx?scriteria=AA42580

(3)  When it comes, plug it into the drive;  then just plug the USB cable into your good computer and you'll have an external drive that you can copy your files from.
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by:Irwin Santos
ID: 16858119
@garycase "To simply remove and slave a hard drive I don't think it will cost you more than $75  ==> unless, apparently, you're in Hawaii :-)"
I have to pay for the blue sky and the fresh air.  Those costs I pass down to my customer ;-)
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by:garycase
ID: 16858138
Been there many times -- the blue sky and fresh air IS expensive :-)
... going to Tahiti, Bora Bora, Moorea, etc. this year => they also have blue sky and fresh air :-)

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by:Irwin Santos
ID: 16858180
@garycase...I haven't found the passion to travel other parts of Polynesia yet...though Tahiti is on my "word traveler's list".  I'm going to sit back and just watch this q, while you "kindly" take care of our asker ;-)
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by:Callandor
ID: 16860680
Gary's going on vacation soon, so it's up to the rest of us to pick up the slack ;-)
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by:garycase
ID: 16861635
... Gary's always on vacation :-)   (retirement has its advantages)    ==> but yes, we are travelling for 2-3 weeks starting next week (Tuesday) -- with almost NO internet access (!!)   Withdrawal symptoms are already kicking in :-)
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by:Irwin Santos
ID: 16863905
"with almost NO internet access (!!)"

My heart bleeds for you.. ;-)  how are you going to help college_fellow?
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by:Callandor
ID: 16864072
Hopefully, he will have resolved it before next week ;-)
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by:college_fellow
ID: 16866461
Ok I bought a external hard drive enclosure today.   It says in the instruction it says"Before you begin the hard drive installation, please make sure the jumpers on your hard drive are set to MASTER.    Now first question is what hard drive are they talking about the one in my good computer or the one hooked up to the external.   Second question how do I make the hard drive an MASTER.


Thanks For All Of Your Help.

Chad
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by:Callandor
ID: 16867018
The external hard drive which you are going to install in the enclosure should be set to master.  See the pictures here that describe the jumper settings: http://www.helpwithpcs.com/upgrading/install-hard-drive.htm.  You need to place the jumper in a certain position (some require it to be left out completely).
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by:garycase
ID: 16867246
As Callandor said, the one you're installing in the external enclosure is what they're referring to ==> this should be the drive from your BAD computer.   Look on the drive -- it should have a small picture showing how to set the jumpers for Master.   If you have any doubts, post the make and model of the hard drive and we'll tell you exactly how to jumper it.
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by:Irwin Santos
ID: 16867309
I'm still watching this ;-)
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by:college_fellow
ID: 16867339
I switched the jumper to the master.    But When I turn on the hard drive it does not show me the drive on my computer.  I can here the drive running when I turn on the power.  Does anyone know why???
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by:garycase
ID: 16867416
college_fellow -- I noticed you've asked this same follow-up question (r.e. the external enclosure) here:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Desktops/Q_21880287.html

Your question HERE was "... Can anyone give me information on how to do this?"  -- we've now told you how to do that => and with the drive installed in the external enclosure you should be easily able to copy your old files IF the drive is okay.   If it's not, then the recovery process is clearly something where you will need to follow the advice I've given you several times already:  "Find a friend who feels more "comfortable" working inside a PC to help you with this."

IF the drive is correctly installed in the external enclosure;  and IF you are turning on that drive and then plugging the USB connection into another computer that's working correctly; the the drive should show as a removeable drive on that computer.   IF that is not happening, then the old drive has probably failed.   To recover the files off of it will require use of some specialized software that costs about $100, or of a data recovery service that costs about $400.   ... and in the first case you REALLY need someone more knowledgeable to help you with it.   If you want to simply use a data recovery service, then call Gillware (www.gillware.com) => it will cost about $400, but they'll get your data.

... are you SURE the other computer is working okay?   Does anyone have a USB flash drive (one of those little "sticks" that you can keep in your pocket) or an iPod that they can plug into a USB port on the computer and confirm it's working okay (a digital camera would let you test this)?

... if you want to continue trying to get the external enclosure to work with the drive, I'd suggest you continue the dialogue in your other question that's targeted at that specific task.



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by:Irwin Santos
ID: 16867460
@garycase...I'm cheering for ya'.. better you than me ;-)
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by:college_fellow
ID: 16867646
Well just to let you guys know I plugged the external into my other computer that HAD WINDOWS XP and the drive showed right up.   So that was the problem the whole time.   I remember asking if having windows ME on one computer and Windows XP on the other was bad.   I was told that it would not have any issues.
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by:garycase
ID: 16867668
Just to set the record straight:

In your post at Date: 06/07/2006 03:00PM PDT you said "... Can someone help me I just found out the computer that the running computer at windows 2000.   Will this matter if I hook up my hard drive from windows XP."

NOTE that you said Windows 2000 -- NOT "windows ME" ==> they are two very different operating systems!!

In reply to that question, I noted "... Microsoft did upgrade NTFS (the file system you are most likely using on the disk)  from v3.0 in Windows 2000 to v3.1 in XP;  adding some quota improvements, real-time encryption, reparse points, and better sparse file support (large, mostly empty files consume very little disk space).   There are, however, no on-disk format differences, so you should have no difficulty reading your disk on a Windows 2000 computer."

Again -- the reply made note of Windows 2000 ==> what you had said the other computer had.

IF, in fact, the other computer has Windows ME, then it's perfectly understandable why it did not see the drive ==> Windows ME cannot recognize NTFS partitions (the file structure used on your drive from the XP computer).

If you had provided the correct information we could have told you that it wouldn't work on that computer.

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by:garycase
ID: 16867674
... however, all's well that ends well ==> and you have apparently now recovered the files from the failed computer that you needed :-)
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Author Comment

by:college_fellow
ID: 16867697
Sorry for the misunderstanding that is my fault. I do want to thank everyone for all of the help you have provided me during this very new learning experience.
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by:garycase
ID: 16867713
You're welcome -- don't forget to close this question ==>  "Accept" an answer [Mine of course :-) ] or "Split points" as you see fit.

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by:Irwin Santos
ID: 16867755
@garycase...you can have my points ;-)
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garycase earned 2000 total points
ID: 16867825
college_fellow,

Just noted you apparently are still having some issues accessing your files.  It's VERY easy to get the files you need off that disk.   I'll outline the process for you here, and you can ask on your other question for details on how to do it ...

You're having trouble accessing what you need because you need to "Take Ownership" of the files.  Ask how to do that on your other question and someone will guide you through it.   Note that you will have to disable simple file sharing to get access to the "take ownership" option => just ask how to do that on your other question.

Then, if X: is the drive letter of the external disk, you simply need to go to:

X:\Documents and Settings\<User Name>\Desktop and you'll see all of your old files from the desktop.

Now I'm going to bed :-)   Don't forget to close this question !!
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by:Irwin Santos
ID: 16868324
@garycase...the madness is over.... ;-)
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