Why does my old hard disc look empty?

By fox_iacmnf ·
I had trouble booting up Windows, so I bought a new hard disc and installed the OS (XP Home). I made the old hard disc the slave, and the computer reads it but says there is no data on it. The old disc has a partition on it that is readable.

What could be a reason for not finding any info on old hard disc?

Thank you.

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When you say : . . .

by OldER Mycroft In reply to Why does my old hard disc ...

"The old disc has a partition on it that is readable."

Do you mean that the computer can see this partition or do you mean that you know there is a partition on the old drive?

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Sorry about confussion... I mean

by fox_iacmnf In reply to When you say : . . .

When I plug in the old drive the computer reads that there are two partitions on it. First one where windows used to be looks completely empty , the other one seems fine.

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OK, so one partition seems empty. Mind you . . .

by OldER Mycroft In reply to Sorry about confussion... ...

You originally posted that you replaced the old drive due to booting problems, so it is not beyond possibility that the structureof the partition where Windows used to live, is actually damaged. That would explain the booting problems.

Have you checked this disk?

Go to Start > Run > type chkdsk (assuming your 'old drive is now your drive) and see what it comes up with.

If it reports any Cluster problems just answer YES to any questions it may ask. Then do it again, only this time type chkdsk /r /f and, if the disk has any errors, the errors will be repaired as best they can.

Although, from what you originally posted, if you have encountered boot problems sufficient to warrant the purchase of a new drive, on which you now have a fresh installation of Windows XP, quite why you would be bothered that you cannot find any content in the old-Windows partition is puzzling to me.

If your other 'data' partition remains intact, why not just format the old partition and be done with it?

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I am not sure what happened with the hard disc originally...

by fox_iacmnf In reply to OK, so one partition seem ...

I didn't have access to internet when the booting problem happened so I was not sure of the case and/or solution to it. That is why I thought easier route seemed new hard disc and installation.

Part of the reason of looking into my old drive, there was some data present that I would be thrilled to recover.

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How big is the blank partition?

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Sorry about confussion... ...

If it's reasonably small you could be looking at a partition setup to carry the Partition Information or some other data that was never used.

What is in the other partition on this drive?


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Reposted under correct account

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Why does my old hard disc ...
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When you performed the new Windows Install

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Why does my old hard disc ...

Was the old drive connected as a Slave? If so it's possible that the Windows Install Process deleted the Windows Data on the Slave drive.

If you have data that you would like to recover you can try Taking Ownership of your files by following the directions here


Or you can try something like Spin Rite to see if you can recover any Data.


That's if your data is worth that much.


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No, not possible...

by fox_iacmnf In reply to When you performed the ne ...

because the old drive was not connected. I took out the old drive, put a new one in and put the old drive in a new case.

My plan was to do what you refer to with the first link, but when I click on properties there is no Security tab as described in the steps.

Thank you for the help

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when I click on properties there is no Security tab

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to No, not possible...

Are you logged in as Administrator and looking at the running Windows Install?

If you are it has to be there but if you are attempting to find this Security Tab on the old Windows install because it isn't the running OS it isn't there. Similarly if you have a restricted user account you will be unable to do the necessary things that are required so you need to log in as the Admin.


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yes, I am logged in as an admin...

by fox_iacmnf In reply to [i]when I click on proper ...

but as I said before the partition where Windows used to be appears completely empty, so when I follow the steps on how to bypass Windows on a secondary drive it stops because there is no security tab.

I moved files from a hard disc where windows was installed before and thought (hoped) this was a similar situation. So I wrote to see if someone had a similar experience + if and how they solved it. Mostly I am trying to understand what could cause the disc to read as empty and if there is some hope for the data...

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