Drive not recognized

I have a laptop that is running Vista. I got the blue screen of death and now when I power up the laptop I get no OS found. I have tried to repair the OS, but with no luck. I am going to try and format the drive, but I need the files off the drive.

I tried to connect the drive to my desktop, but the desktop computer running Windows XP Pro does not see the drive.

The drive is a SATA drive and I am using a old external hard drive housing with a SATA to IDE adaptor to connect the drive to the housing. The housing is connected to the desktop computer via USB.

Can anyone tell me how to get my computer to read this drive so I can pull the files off of it?
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You had a catastrophic drive failure.  If the disk is not seen in the external USB enclosure, and the BIOS, then your only hope is a data recovery firm.  Gillware, ontrack, seagate are a few of them.  Be prepared to spend $500 or so.

There are software recovery programs that can be used on disks IF the BIOS can see them.  Google HDDRecovery.  

Assuming the drive isn't completely failed, your housing is probably the issue with your desktop computer not recognizing the drive.  

You can use a Windows CD or some other bootable media (like a flash drive with a bootable ISO) to boot the laptop with the drive in it then use recovery console or WinPE to transfer the files to another storage device.
As mentioned before, you may have lost the drive, nevertheless, you may still be able to recover the data. At this point, do not run chkdsk or any of the diagnostic's below. Your main objective now should be to recover the data.
Spinrite is very good.... ($89). It is an all time favorite and I cannot even start to tell you how many drives it has saved for me and my customers. Some of them with S.M.A.R.T. errors (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology) came back to life long enough for me to recover the data.

 You can also try to use HDD Regenerator as recommended by  dlethe from  ($39)
It is the new kid in the block. I have personally verified how good it works (it is now part of my personal everyday toolkit along with SpinRite) and have recommended it several times, it has already recovered several drives that even SpinRite was ignoring.
  • Ability to detect physical bad sectors on a hard disk drive surface.
  • Ability to repair physical bad sectors (magnetic errors) on a hard disk surface.
  • The product ignores file system, scans disk at physical level. It can be used with FAT, NTFS or any other file system, and also with unformatted or unpartitioned disks.
  • Starting process directly under Windows XP / Vista.
  • Bootable regenerating flash can be created from the program and used to automatically start regenerating process.
  • Bootable regenerating CD allows starting regenerating process under DOS automatically.
As per the developer:
"...Almost 60% of all hard drives damaged with bad sectors have an incorrectly magnetized disk surface. they have developed an algorithm which is used to repair damaged disk surfaces. This technology is hardware independent, it supports many types of hard drives and repairs damage that even low-level disk formatting cannot repair. As a result, previously unreadable information will be restored. Because of the way the repair is made, the existing information on the disk drive will not be affected!

Since the program does not change the logical structure of a hard drive, the file system may still show some sectors marked earlier as "bad", and other disk utilities such as Scandisk will detect logical bad sectors even though the disk has been successfully regenerated and is no longer damaged by physical bad sectors. If you want to remove these marks, repartition the hard disk drive

It uses a very similar algorithm method as SpinRite where it reads a 0 or a 1, writes and replaces it with the opposite on the drive, then deletes it a writes back again the original 0 or 1 thus making sure the drive is readable and writable.
It also has a 30 day satisfaction guarantee so if for any reason you do not like it... they offer a full refund.
After recovering the data (if you are able to) I would recommend you ran some tests to try to repair the drive. It will enhance your knowledge on how to tackle these things and you might even discover that the problem is something covered under the manufacturer's warranty.
I was looking up for a list of hard drive tests you can get depending on the manufacturer of your hard drive (these are usually very good):

IBM and Hitachi 
Western Digital

Here is a more extensive list of the top 7 Free Hard Drive Testing tools: 

You could also download from the boot cd and run the hard drive tests provided with knoppix there.
Bits ...

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dlethe: did you ever get to  hook up an analyzer to a running copy of HDD regenerator? I'm still wondering how different it is from SpinRite since it has been able to repair some hard drives that SpinRite would not even see.
Edeakin: you might want to try with another set of cables to connect the drive... I have found these to be so helpful and have been using these for years. They are great at providing the ability to plug in any hard drive to any other computer to recover data: 

Nope, never went down the path to look into HDD regenerator, because when I thought about it, if it did use something "special" then I would have reverse engineered their code and compromised trade secrets.  I am better off if I don't take it apart.

However, the fact that your USB->SATA bridge product DOES work with hdd regen, then this is revealing.  The bridge will not translate anything other than the standard read/write/seek/identify commands between the ATA and SCSI command-sets.  This proves that HDD regen limits their instruction set to commands that the embedded circuitry translates.  The software then can not possibly use read/write long commands, or do anything special with the ECC bits.  Those commands would never get to the disk drive.  So this means that their recovery logic is limited to block-level reads & writes.  It can not possibly do anything with ECC because those commands will not get mapped.

Well ... actually ... when using SpinRite I cannot use the above cables since SpinRite will not work with USB... (I suspect that HDD Regenerator will not either - I have not tested). We only use the cables on drives that have been previously recovered by either SpinRite or HDD Regenerator installed on a recovery desktop...
Edeakin, this might be confusing.
The advice to change the cables rather than to use your housing is a troubleshooting step just to make sure that the drive is recognized by the system (we want to make sure that the housing is not the problem).
Now, this said... the repair advise is intended to be done with the drive connected directly to the computer (not using USB).... (I'm trying to keep the wording here simple)....
So, before doing anything or running any test on the drive you want to make sure that the problem is not related to a faulty connection or BIOS configuration.
If after this it still fails, then you need to put it back into the computer to run either SpinRite or HDD Regenerator....
Bits ...
If it did work with the bridge, then we would know that it can't do anything "special".  But if it doesn't work with the bridge, then all we know for sure is that they write to the ATA command-set, which doesn't necessarily confirm what it does.  Best not to say anything else on the architecture beyond that and what is in their marketing materials, and, of course personal experiences.   Trade secrets are valuable, and as a proud holder of a storage-related patent (has been approved after a little over 5 years now, got the acceptance letter .. just waiting for the final paper), then I am more sensitive to honoring intellectual property than others. - not that we have done anything to compromise IP, everything up to now is fair game, but using my experience and resources to see what is under the covers of this software with an analyzer goes beyond what is right.  
HDD failures could be due to either faulty disk plates or faulty pcb boards. You mentioned that the drive is not visible when plugged via external chassis. My guess is the PCB board of the HDD is spoilt. Easiest solution is to borrow the PCB board of a working equivalent HDD, swap the board and copy the data out. Try borrowing from a friend who has the same notebook model.
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