ide hard drive failed, shows up in Windows XP as Raw unformatted drive but in DOS I can see all my old files

Posted on 2006-11-03
Last Modified: 2010-08-05
Hello, I need help. I have a hard drive that I put in an USB external case (the hard drive is really a IDE internal). Earlier this week I tried to copy several Gigs of information from another USB External to this particular drive. During the transfer the drive that I was copying to just powered off. When I powered it back on I reconnected it to my Windows XP PC with the USB cable and it shows up in My Computer but as a Drive that's empty and needs to be formatted.  I don't panic, I try several things to get my files back.  I have not reformatted the drive at all.  I got a Windows 98 boot disk and booted to DOS, when I get in DOS I can see all my folders, files and directories but when Im in Windows it shows up as a Raw drive that needs formatting.  I tried to use the XCOPY command in DOS to just copy the files to another drive and then reformat the damaged drive but this version of DOS does not have XCOPY. So I download earlier versions of DOS (6.22, Win 95) that have XCOPY and boot into DOS with those disk, Problem now is when I try to change to the drive letter of my hard drive it says invalid drive. The drive won't show up in any version of DOS earlier than Win 98. The XCOPY in Win XP only works from the C: prompt in windows and when Im in that it doesn't see the hard drive either.  I know my files are there cause I can see them in DOS.  I just need to know how to get them to another hard drive so I can reformat this hard drive to a working state again.  The damaged hard drive is a 200gb seagate IDE.  It has about 80gb of very important information to my business.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance.
Question by:Illyaas
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Accepted Solution

Callandor earned 250 total points
ID: 17867482
I recommend that you not perform any write operations to the is drive (including using any utilities to fix it).  Remove the drive from the enclosure and connect it as a slave IDE drive in a desktop.  Use GetDataBack from to read from the drive; if it can properly detect your data, you will need to pay for the program to save it to another drive.  GetDataBack is one of the best data recovery programs.
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Expert Comment

ID: 17868734
Was the drive formatted in FAT or NTFS?

Author Comment

ID: 17868924
The drive was formatted FAT32
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LVL 30

Expert Comment

ID: 17868994

 fdisk /status

let's see what is says.

Author Comment

ID: 17869204
Ok I will try that. Right now I am running the GetDataBack. If that doesn't work I will try the Fdisk /Status and let you know what it says.

Thanks for the help.

Expert Comment

ID: 17872503
Good call from Callandor to remove the drive from the IDE enclosure.  Some of these enclosures use a USB 2.0 chip that can cause problems reading and writing from the HD or CD ROM used in them.

To read what is on the drive once it is a slave drive, look at the following:

There you can read about SystemRescueCd.  You can download it from:

and burn the bootable image to a CD.

Specifically your looking at the tool Partimage.  You can read about it here:

These are open-source (free) tools.  I have used Partimage to make an image of a failing HD and then restored that image on a different HD successfully saving my data.

Good Luck!  Let me know how it goes.


Author Comment

ID: 17912423
Thanks Callandor! GetDataBack worked like a charm. I recoverd all my data and I am very happy. I really appreciate your help.
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Expert Comment

ID: 17919553
I'm glad the advice proved useful.

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