Offloading information off a bad hard drive

By dawnrabbit69 ·

I have a laptop in my possesion that has a bad hard drive, it says
there is no operating system when booting. I have use Knoppix to
get into the drive, I am trying to save the pictures off the drive before
reformatting and reloading windows back on the system. But, I can
not seem to find a way to get the pictures off the drive.

I even tried removing the drive and plugging it into an external drive
jumper and that will not read the drive.

Any ideas?

Thank you,

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All Answers

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It would help if you where to say what error messages you where getting

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Offloading information of ...

If it is that you are unable to access anything at all on the Drive it's likely to be faulty but if it's just being unable to access Data Files on the drive there are several things to look at.

If this had XP Pro loaded you may need to do a couple of things the first is to Take Ownership of the Data Files by following the directions here


If the system had XP Pro there is the possibility that the Windows EFS was used so you need to look for Encryption Keys and save them by following the directions here NB if this unit had XP Home this doesn't apply


Since you have had the drive out you will know the maker of it so visit their web site and download their testing utility and test the drive as well just to make sure that it's actually working correctly.


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Drive non accessible

by dawnrabbit69 In reply to It would help if you wher ...


I can access the contents of the drive if I boot using
Knoppix Linux from the CD-Rom. But, if I just boot
regularly then the system complains there is no operating
system loaded and it will not let me go any further.

I tried removing the drive and installing it in an external
jumper but it would not access the files that way. But, I
can access them all in the Linux based platform.

I am not sure which operating system was on the
machine, one of my friends girlfriends killed the machine.
But, I do doubt if there was anything on the computer
using EFS.


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Time-money-value tradeoffs

by mdhealy In reply to Drive non accessible

At this point you need to stop and think: how much is the content on that drive worth, how much time are you willing to spend on rescuing it, and how much money? Depending whether the problem is a hardware failure or a software failure, efforts at recovering data by a person who is not an experienced data recovery specialist could make matters worse.

So if you suspect a serious hardware problem and you place a high value on the data, then your drive should not be powered up until it is in the hands of an expert.

Unfortunately, data recovery services do not come cheap, because recovering from hardware failures may require opening up the drive mechanism, and the sealed mechanism can only be opened up in a special "clean room." Any place that does not have special air-filtering systems, the air contains a bazillion microscopic particles that will destroy any drive mechanism (that's why they are sealed). Such a "clean room" costs more than my residence, so they are way beyond the reach of small shops.

I fear I cannot give you any advice on selecting a data recovery service -- I've always been assiduous about doing backups, so when a drive dies first I try reformatting and restoring from backup, then if that doesn't work I replace the drive.

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data recovery services

by CG IT In reply to Time-money-value tradeoff ...

might give them a call see how much it will cost


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OK since you can read the HDD with Knoppix

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Drive non accessible

I would suggest that you plug it into a USB Caddy and use the Recovery Agent with an XP computer and preferably an XP Pro because I know that this works as I use it all the time on Customers HDD.


This way you can defeat the File Protection that is built in when a Password is enabled and safely recover all the data. Remember to pickup the Address Book as well as the stored E-Mail, the Favourites and the My Documents Folder.


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Try a drive to usb adapter

by deedplot In reply to Offloading information of ...

You can get this device if the drive is readable. I think it is similar to one of the previous posts.


Hope this helps.

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If you have not found a way yet

by huoml In reply to Offloading information of ...

then: have you tried this?

Connect a USB drive (external) to the laptop
Boot via Knoppix
Since you can see all the files via knoppix, just copy all the files to USB connected drive.


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