I would like to be able to access data on hard drives pulled from "dead" computers (computers with bad motherboards, etc). This never really gave me any trouble when I was using XP on my computer, I could view files on hard drives attached to my machine with a USB adapter. Now using Windows 7, this is proving to be quite difficult; needing to take ownership of files and folders to be able to view/copy their contents. There doesnt seem to be an easy way around it.
I work at a computer repair shop and very recently, we had an issue with a customer leaving their laptop with us and the state police came looking for it. The state police showed warrants and such that they needed access to this customer's laptop to scan it for whatever they were looking for. They could not take the laptop from our shop unless they found whatever they were looking for. So for four hours, they sat with the customer's laptop's hard drive connected via usb adapter with a write blocker to their laptop, running Windows 7. A write blocker is needed so that files and time stamps wont be modified while they do their investigation.
The state police were able to access all of this guy's files without being able to write (change permissions) and they were running Windows 7. The customer's laptop, I believe, was also Windows 7.
So, I'm wondering how they did it. The quick and easy answer would be that they were using some kind of specialized software. I'm looking for a more specific answer.