My Desktop PC is dead but I'd like to retrieve the data in it....

By fcui21 ·
how do I go about doing this?? I have a dead Emachines w2888 Desktop (only a 2 1/2 years old mind you) that won't power up for anything. I have analyzed my options and went with the best one and that is to purchase a new PC vs trying to revive this one. With all that said, I still would like to keep the data that's in this dead PC. Someone here on TR advised me to create a "slave drive" to keep the saved data (pictures, documents, etc.). How do I go about getting this done? I'm not an expert on PCs but I'm not a novice either. I'm a quick learner so if someone could show me the light I would really appreciate it! There are just way too many pictures of my 8 month old daughter in the PC to just allow it to go to the dumpster. Yes, my mistake for not backing up my data but to be honest I'm done kicking myself

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Here's how

by ozi Eagle In reply to My Desktop PC is dead but ...


Take the hard drive out of your old computer.
On the label there is a diagram of how to set jumpers. It will be in either the CS (cable select) or MA (master) position. If the new computer has an IDE drive, change the jumpers to be in the SL (slave) position, then connect it to the second (middle) connector of the ribbon going to the new drive. Connect power.

If the new computer has a SATA drive then you can leave the jumpers as they are, but also take the ribbon canle from the old computer as well. Plug this into one of the IDE connectors on the motherboard.

Another way would be to purchase a hard drive caddy and run it from a USB port. NOTE the jumpers must be set for master.


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Thank you both!!

by fcui21 In reply to Here's how

Both of your replies are full of information that I am sure I can take advantage of. This will allow me to work on this little project of mine this weekend. I will reply if I get stuck!!! LOL

Thanks again.

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Even if you don't get stuck...

by Pringles86 In reply to Thank you both!!

Be sure to come back and let them know that it worked. Also mark their post as helpful if their advice provided you useful information.

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Hi Ozi Eagle / Herb I did what you told me to do....

by fcui21 In reply to Here's how

and it still didn't work. You stated "Another way would be to purchase a hard drive caddy and run it from a USB port. NOTE the jumpers must be set for master."

I bought an external hard drive enclosure/caddy and installed it accordingly and connected the USB to my PC with windows XP. It recognized the new hardware via USB but it says "memory free 100% of 31.5 GB". I try to access the drive where the USB is connected and it states "The disk in Drive E is not formatted. Do you want to format it now?". If I click on yes it states it will lose the data. How do I make this work so I can retrieve the data that's on this HDD? Please let me know soon because I need to know if I need to return this new piece of hardware. Thanks in advance!

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Anyone know the answer?

by fcui21 In reply to Hi Ozi Eagle / Herb I did ...

to my previous post on 05/15? Please? Thanks :)

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Don't format

by ozi Eagle In reply to Hi Ozi Eagle / Herb I did ...


Sorry about the delay, but I've been on the road.

Check whether the disk is recognozed by Windows.

Control panel - administrative tools

Computer management - Disk Management

Does it appear here? Is it being recognized?


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Yes I did see it

by fcui21 In reply to Don't format

appear in Disk Management. It's being recognized but when I double click on it to access the drive it does not let me. It tells me I must format it but I would lose the data in it. Any way around this? Thanks again.

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here you go...

by starwin33 In reply to My Desktop PC is dead but ...

follow these steps:

take out your old harddrive from that piece of junk your trying to dispose or try to giveaway that to some charities. (lol)

if you have a new pc now, plug it in there, if you don't have an extra IDE cable, use the one that connected to your CD or DVD ROM, just make sure to set that old HD as slave (refer to jumper settings on your harddrive, its in there), that old HD will be automatically detected by your new pc.

when the windows start up, open My Computer to check if that old HD has been installed, if you haven't created a partition, it will appear in your pc a two harddrive, one is "C:" the other one is "D:"

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Didn't work!!!

by fcui21 In reply to My Desktop PC is dead but ...

Hey Ozi Eagle, Pringles86 or anyone else who can help: I followed your directions but it didn't work. I tried several times, different ways mind you. Here's what I did step by step. I removed the hard drive from the dead PC which happens to be a Emachines W2888 with Windows XP. I then opened the PC I was moving this to an older PC which is an HP Pavillion 8650C which has windows 98 on it. Before I continue with what I did, could this be the problem?? Anyway, I then opened up the HP Pavillion. I unplugged the DVD/CD drive that is using up the space I need for the slave drive. I used the same ribbon that was connecting the DVD/CD, except instead of connecting the end of it which clearly states "MASTER" I used the middle part which says "SLAVE". I powered up the HP Pavillion and nothing...no secondary drive. What am I doing wrong and how can I make this work?? Please be as detailed as possible just so I know I'm not missing any steps. Thanks a lot everyone and have a great and safe weekend!!

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by ozi Eagle In reply to Didn't work!!!


The problem here is that Win98 cannot read disks formatted in NTFS, like XP uses. You will need to find an XP computer to plug your old drive into.

Also if the cable you are using has MAster / slave connectors, make sure your drive has the jumpers in the CS (cable select ) position.


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