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FAT16 hard drive access

Posted on 2014-01-08
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Last Modified: 2014-01-09
a client gave me 2 computers that have been sitting in his basement since the late 90's. The computers do not power up anymore.

he has asked me to try to get some information off of them. I was able to remove them and then connect them via an Apricorn DriveWire connected my Windows 7 64-bit computer. One drive is recognized by the Apricorn by showing a power light on it and hearing the windows default connection tone. The other does not.

The one that does, does not show up in windows explorer. I believe that because these computers are so old, that they are using FAT16 formating on the hard drive. Is there any way of accessing the data on these hard drives without having a computer running FAT32.?
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Question by:RSchierer
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12 Comments
 
LVL 57

Assisted Solution

by:Pete Long
Pete Long earned 144 total points
ID: 39766556
Fat 16 is NOT supported on Windows 7, you would need an old XP machine.

Pete
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LVL 57

Assisted Solution

by:Pete Long
Pete Long earned 144 total points
ID: 39766561
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LVL 83

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by:Dave Baldwin
Dave Baldwin earned 213 total points
ID: 39766585
You may have to set the jumpers to 'master' or something.  Can you give us the models of the drives so we can look them up?  If they are old enough, there are other non-automatic 'features' that need to be considered.
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LVL 26

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by:pony10us
pony10us earned 143 total points
ID: 39766608
You could try this:

Start ->Mycomputer->Rightclick-> Manage ->System->diskmanage. See if your drive shows up without a letter. Assign a letter.

Windows 7 should be able to read (it's backwards compatible) but not create/format FAT drives.
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Author Comment

by:RSchierer
ID: 39766611
first drive, the one that powers up:

Maxtor model 7170AI
P/N: 17G3100
Capacity: 170MB
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LVL 83

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by:Dave Baldwin
Dave Baldwin earned 213 total points
ID: 39766653
Here's a text version of the user's manual: http://contents.driverguide.com/content.php?id=65632&path=7170AI.TXT  Notice the "CMOS Configuration:" at the bottom of the page.  This drive is old enough that it may not have the 'automatic' configuration that later drives do.  In the early 1990's, we still had to enter the CHS parameters to tell the hard disk driver software where to look for things.  When the ATA standard came, that function was transferred to the drive and a standardized interface was used by the computer and automatically translated by the drive itself.
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LVL 83

Assisted Solution

by:Dave Baldwin
Dave Baldwin earned 213 total points
ID: 39766680
This page http://support.microsoft.com/kb/140365 lists Default cluster sizes for FAT16 and includes Windows 7 in the last column.  So in theory you can read it with Windows 7 though there may be other details that are interfering.
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LVL 26

Accepted Solution

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pony10us earned 143 total points
ID: 39766724
Thanks Dave.

I have worked really hard to forget having to do all those settings and now the nightmares will come back.   I might as well go out to the garage and dig out my old 286 and see if I can get it to boot up.  Oh wait, I think I used the MFM drives for doorstops in my trailer when the ground settled and it leaned to one side.  

:)

Anyway, good find.
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LVL 83

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by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 39766809
I still have DOS/Win3.1 systems running and I have had to work on one or two in recent years.  Fortunately, I have the CMOS settings written down on the case or the drive for the ones I have left or I would have been in trouble when the CMOS battery died once or twice.
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LVL 26

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by:pony10us
ID: 39766836
I remember when Win3.1 came out.  My 286 had Win3.0 on it and it wouldn't let me upgrade so I took the drive out and took it to a friend that had a new 386 and put the drive in it and upgraded then took the drive back to my system.  It worked but just barely.

As for how this question was accepted I'm not real sure what the actual solution was.  I don't think my answer (the "accepted" solution) did it.
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LVL 83

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by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 39766862
I didn't see mention of an actual solution either.   @RSchierer, we're curious what you ended up doing.  ??
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Author Comment

by:RSchierer
ID: 39768070
I am going to try to find a windows XP computer and see if it will read it. I did try bringing up Computer Management>Storage>Disk Management; it showed that 'Disk 4 is not initialized. When I clicked on it, it said that it was not available.'

As for the accepted solution, I have to say that I didn't mean for the one that is shown as being the accepted solution as the one I chose.  Pete Long's first post should have gotten it. My apologies for the mistake.
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