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Cannot view hard drive in Windows Explorer using USB to Sata adapter.

Posted on 2011-10-07
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Last Modified: 2012-08-14
I have a computer in the shop that has Ununtu loaded.  It booted once into the Ubuntu OS.  I put in some other sticks of ram and got all kinds of errors trying to boot.  I put the old ram in and know I get a partition error.  I decided I would just install Win XP on this drive instead of messing around with Ubuntu but need to get the pictures and files off before I install.

I pulled the hard drive out and hooked it up using a USB to SATA apdater and plugged it into another computer.  Windows Explorer does not recognize the drive.  I went into the manage computer area and can see the drive, but there is no option to add a drive letter or anything else.  The only option on these partitions is "delete".

Let me know if you know of a way I can view the files and backup the data.
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Question by:northernknight
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klodefactor earned 668 total points
ID: 36934889
The problem is that Ubuntu doesn't use the NTFS file system.  It uses a Linux file system, probably ext3 or ext4.  So MS Windows can see the partition but can't do anything with it.

The easiest way to get at your data is to leave the drive connected via USB, and boot your computer from a live Linux DVD or CD.  Such CDs contain a bootable version of Linux that can be run entirely from the DVD/CD drive without having to be installed onto your hard disk.

I recommend using Knoppix (http://www.knoppix.org/).  It's fairly straightforward.  After booting, the Knoppix desktop will be accessible.  Just copy the data from the (Linux) USB drive to the (Windows) internal drive.

BTW the data corruption caused by bad RAM would have occurred under Windows too.  Hopefully that bad experience isn't what turned you off of Linux.

--klodefactor
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by:nobus
nobus earned 668 total points
ID: 36935358
when you have your data, i would find the time to check the basics, RAM and disk
best download UBCD, and run memtest86+ for ram (you can test all your sticks, to be sure)
and run the diagnostic for the disk brand you have also
http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/      

here the direct link to knoppix iso : ftp://ftp.gwdg.de/pub/linux/knoppix/KNOPPIX_V6.7.0CD-2011-08-01-EN.iso 
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by:Gerwin Jansen, EE MVE
Gerwin Jansen, EE MVE earned 664 total points
ID: 36935479
Do you happen to have a NAS device running in your shop? NAS devices are often Linux based and will recognize the Linux (Ubuntu) EXT2 or EXT3 file system just fine. Connect your drive to the NAS using your SATA-USB adapter and you can copy your data, for example to your NAS.

Otherwise I'd use some bootable Linux CD like Nobus and klodefactor are suggesting.
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by:northernknight
ID: 36937698
Klode: Yes, it makes sense to me now since Linux uses a different file system.

Nobus: Yes, I have a UBCD, and will check the RAM once I get the data off the drive.

Gerwin: I don't currently have a NAS device but it sounds like something to buy for the future.

Thanks all, I am working on the suggestions and will let you know how it turns out.
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by:northernknight
ID: 36939678
Ok, so now I have a full installation of Ubuntu running on my laptop (since I was not getting anywhere with the live) but still cannot not read the hard drive because of the following.
Error mounting: mount: wrong fs type, bad option, bad superblock on /dev/sdb1,
       missing codepage or helper program, or other error
       In some cases useful info is found in syslog - try
       dmesg | tail  or soerrors.  

I used the disk utility and it says it's dirty, but gives no way to fix the errors that I am aware of.

Is there a way to fix the errors?
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 36940737
you have installed Ubuntu on the same disk? or on another one?
anyway - it looks like a bad disk to me - - did you test the drive yet?
you can try HDD regenerator too :  http://www.dposoft.net/hdd.html      
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Author Comment

by:northernknight
ID: 36944095
Nobus: no I didn't install it on the same drive.  I installed Ubuntu on my laptop and then used a USB to SATA connector to try to mount the problem drive in Ubuntu.
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Expert Comment

by:Gerwin Jansen, EE MVE
ID: 36944267
(as root), give a
dmesg

Open in new window

in a terminal window, you should see the device like sdb or sdc

Then as root do a
fdisk -l /dev/<device>

Open in new window

to show the partition table of your problem disk. Please post back your the output you get.
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Author Closing Comment

by:northernknight
ID: 36952345
Thank you all for your help.  Always more to learn.  The drive was corrupted, but I was able to get some of the data off using Easeus Data recovery.  I also tried testdisk and got all kinds of stuff, but a lot of it was old deleted files and junk from internet pages.  Too much to go through.
I installed Windows XP on the computer and tested the new ram with memtest before booting into Windows and sure enough the ram had lots of errors.  I put the original ram in and it works fine.
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