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Lost data and Pics during transfer.....HELP!

Customer with a Dell XPS 430 model Vista 64 PC is running slow and I went to look at it.She has a 1 TB hard drive that is 85% full. 500 GB of that is Pictures. I got the pc running good enough to bring back to the customer's house while I ordered parts to build a new pc.When at customer's house I backed up all documents, pics, and music to a seagate 1 TB external network hard drive. I told customer not to use the PC while it was backing up. I was told by customer she never touched it since I brought it back to her. After PC parts came in and new windows 7 computer was built I went and picked up the customer's old Dell PC. I then moved all documents, pics, etc. to my PC. When I went to look for data moved to my PC,it was empty. I then looked at customer's Dell Vista PC and data was gone but the hard drive was still 85% full and I still can't find where the data is. It's not on my Windows 7 PC, her Dell Vista PC or the external back up. I don't understand where the data could be if the Dell PC's hard drive is still 85% full but no docs or pics can be found on customer's Dell Vista hard drive. Can someone please explain to me what I can do now to retrieve data.
I also ran a disc defrag and check disc after moving data. If any questions please ask as I am in a bind .
Thanks,
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After moving the data I was trying to free up more space and moved her window folder to my her folder on my PC. In insight I should not have done that until I knew the data was safe because now the old Hard drive will not boot up. I am  not sure if the customer has the vista cd or not. Maybe that can repair the OS.

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Well, if the drive is still showing as full, then most likely the data is still there.  Try using a drive utility like winDirStat to show you where everything is.  It isn't a data recovery tool, but it will show you the largest folders and files based on size.  So it will show you where the 500 GB of photos are on the drive, and let you right click and open folder.  The exe is small and there is also a portable one in case you don't want to install anything to the drive.

As for the repairing, I would just stop.  If you start installing anything you will start losing the ability to use any actual software recovery tools in case things were actually removed.  Pull the working drive and connect it to an external USB case or bay and access it from there.

Also to make sure I understand, you have a back up of data on a NAS drive.  Then you have physical possession of old computer, wanted to copy data to your computer, but found the data files no longer there?
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Yes correct. The problem that baffles me is I saw the data on the old computer before I moved it the my PC. It was going to take a while so I went to bed. When I went to go look at the ata on my PC I saw the folder "My Pictures" but it was empty and when I went to the old hard drive the "My Picture" folder was empty.
I will find that finding the drive utility program you suggested and see if I can see the pictures.
Thanks,
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David Johnson, CD
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vi3ofa,
in the command prompt write  exactly what you have typed: (takeown /f x:\users /R) with x being the drive letter of the hard drive from the old PC?
Thanks alot if this works but please, reply when you can because I am not doing anything to lose this data until I am sure what to type in the command line.

example: the new drive letter is E. from the command line type:  takeown /f e:\users /R
Thanks again,
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if what you said is correct i get an error message saying: ERROR: The current logged on user does not  have ownership privileges on the file (or folder) "e: \users"

Thanks
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Is this because the drive is not mounted?

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Then why am I getting the error message?
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I have the internal drive connected to my PC. I selected my hard drive to be the boot drive and booted up.
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It still says:  The current logged on user does not  have ownership privileges on the file (or folder) "e: \users"
When I type in the command line what you ask me to do. Why am I getting this error message?
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Ok I figured it out. I had to go to properties and share the folder and then I had permission to open the folder and sub folders to see the pictures.
I will ask a new question about me moving the windows folder and the putting it back but the Old PC want boot up since the OS is corrupted.
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Thanks a lot for the info. From what you told me opened my eyes to finish the job.
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I thought this drive was on the techicians computer? Did you get the pictures back? I don't think you can recover the o/s
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The drive I hooked to my PC. I am the tech. I think the customer as the d installation disk. Hopefully it is the tight one and I cam do a repair.

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I got everything back that is on that drive. What I did is went to properties on the e:drive and shared it with my PC and allowed me to do anything I wanted in the permission list. I hope this clears things up?
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