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How do I recover files off NT formatted drive?

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45 replies to this topic

#1
LostInSpace2012

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My friend's XP computer stopped booting several months ago.

His computer turns on, the fans blow for the CPU and power supply, but that is the only sign of life it makes. The screen doesn't even come on. I tested his computer with my monitor to make sure his monitor wasn't broken. Same, nothing. No error messages either. I put in a PCI video card just to make sure his onboard video wasn't broken for some reason. Again, nothing. It's as if either his hard drive is completely toast, or his motherboard is toast. Or else the power supply was dead. Inside his computer it was pretty clean looking. Anyway, I'm not trying to fix his computer, but salvage if I can, 14 years worth of his files.

My computer is Windows ME, in that case how would I go about reading his NT drive and getting files copied over to my FAT32 drive? Is there a software for reading that type of file system?

I had an old 40 gig FAT32 drive burried in my closet. I was able to install it as my second hard disk (D: drive) today. Now I have two hard drives working. I made sure to put the jumpers on the slave position and hook up the "slave" IDE cable to the new drive. Now that I've sucessfully done that, and have two working disk drives in my computer, my next step is, I'm hoping, to swap out the 2nd hard drive and place my friend's XP drive in there and recover his files.

I just don't know if I should do that right now... rush in there and do it... or first come on here and get an opinion, because I may require some special program to read his NT files system.

Would this work?
http://www.softpedia...FS-Reader.shtml

Any suggestions?

Edited by LostInSpace2012, 14 March 2014 - 06:31 PM.



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#2
Tommy

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I can't say for 100% sure, but I would assume it would. I've used this and I was able to access my external hard drive formatted via NTFS on my Windows 98 machine. So I'm guessing you should be good to go. Just take it easy and slow and you should be good to go. And as long as his main drive isn't bigger than 137GBs, you shouldn't have to worry about damaging anything. However, you might want to think about an external hard drive casing so you can turn any hard drive into a USB external one.


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#3
LostInSpace2012

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I installed his drive into my computer, DiskInternals says the drive is 145.9 Gb, but other than that I can't access his drive. I click on it, but the program just does nothing.

I'm going to install my old Windows 2000 drive into his computer. Could be that his XP drive is toast.

Well, my hard drive with Windows 2000 didn't work on his computer either. Something is weird. I don't get any error message or beeps when his computer starts. Can't get into the BIOS either :-/

Edited by LostInSpace2012, 14 March 2014 - 07:23 PM.


#4
LostInSpace2012

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Another thing I noticed when his computer is turned on, is that I can't even open the DVD Rom drive. I was going to put my Windows ME install CD in there, just to see if that would boot.

#5
Tommy

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I don't know how much into computer repair you are into, but I would invest in something called a POST card. It's a PCI card you insert in an empty PCI slot and when you turn the computer on, it'll display a number (at least the one I used did) and then you look it up in the manual according to the BIOS make (Award, AMI, Phoenix...) At least it could give you an idea of what's going on in the machine. As for his computer, the first thing I'd do is barebones the system, and reconnect piece by piece. There might be a faulty piece of hardware causing the problem. I've run into systems that did wacky things when something was wrong. It could be the CPU needs reseating as well. But I don't want to rattle on too much about it since you stated you're really not into fixing the computer, just recovering the drive contents itself. Can't you try to move the drive in an NT based computer and copy files that way or is that impossible to do?


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#6
LostInSpace2012

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I did a close visual inspection of the motherboard, and I did find something that looks bad. Some serious corrosion, or buildup of stuff on some transistors (?). They're right next to the CPU, they almost look melted or like an exploded battery. There is several of these. All the other ones on the board look shiny and normal. I'll attach a pic in a second.

Attached Files


Edited by LostInSpace2012, 14 March 2014 - 08:07 PM.


#7
Tommy

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I already know what you're talking about, but please post a picture! I sent you a private message explaining this very situation earlier. More than likely, the board is toast. You 'can' replace capacitors but I wouldn't, it's not worth it. But if they're by the CPU, that more than likely means the CPU isn't functioning so that

means...dead board.

 

*Edit* Yep, it's toast I'm afraid to say. I wouldn't even waste my time with it and I'd have your friend replace the board or get a different computer. Blown capacitors are always bad news.


Edited by Tommy, 14 March 2014 - 08:10 PM.

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#8
LostInSpace2012

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Sorry, pic is a little blury.

You were 100% correct, Tommy. Thanks for suggesting that, because I could've been messing around with hard drives and stuff for hours. There's a total of 9 of those capacitors, all right next the CPU, and they're all fried. They look like exploded batteries. Only out-of-the-ordinary thing I could see from looking at it. I'm pretty sure that's the cause right there.

Too bad really. But would that also ruin the hard drive as well? I couldn't access the drive at all using NTFS reader... I guess it just took out his whole computer. Bummer :-(

Edited by LostInSpace2012, 14 March 2014 - 08:26 PM.


#9
Tommy

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Actually, it shouldn't have taken the hard drive down with it. Here's what I do when it comes to IDE. Instead of messing with the whole Master/Slave effect, I set both to cable select which seems to work out quite nicely. But if you put it into your computer, see if the BIOS recognizes both hard drives. If the BIOS doesn't, then of course Windows won't either. But I don't think it would've hurt the drive unless some strange anomaly happened with the power and it zapped the drive, but I highly doubt it because I was able to salvage all the parts out of my Optiplex that did this and everything worked just fine, even the CPU I salvaged works just fine. So try the cable select settings if you can and report back with your findings. Even as of right now, you can see if the BIOS recognizes both drives. But I do recommend using the CS setting, unless someone else can say why not otherwise. You can always switch back later.

 

Edit: Does the drive at least spin up? Feel the drive when you power it on and see if it vibrates at all. If it gets power, that's the first good sign. Let me know if I'm telling you to do anything you already tried. I just want to make sure I exhaust every possibility before we dig even further down into the situation.


Edited by Tommy, 14 March 2014 - 08:19 PM.

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#10
LostInSpace2012

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I don't think the drive works, it's practically inaudible, no noise like it's spinning. However it did start making a scary clicking, grinding type sound... I promptly removed it because I didn't want to ruin my computer. As soon as I heard that noise I shut down my computer, but then it was really slow, and it was like almost frozen, and then it went to a blank black screen and sat there... I was like, "oh man!"

But thankfully my computer is fine.

Can't you try to move the drive in an NT based computer and copy files that way or is that impossible to do?


I don't have access to any NT Windows computers. I got Windows ME, and I have a newer Ubuntu machine, if reading from Linux would make any difference.

Edited by LostInSpace2012, 14 March 2014 - 08:27 PM.


#11
Tommy

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I have a newer Ubuntu machine, if reading from Linux would make any difference.

Ahhhhh!! That's perfect!! Ubuntu reads NTFS just fine! I use Ubuntu Live when my install of Windows 2000 goes south and is completely unbootable, and I have to evacuate data from the main drive to my external drive.

 

But the drive noise....that's not good....

 

Either which way, hook it up to Linux and give it a shot. At this point, you literally have nothing to lose.


Edited by Tommy, 14 March 2014 - 08:27 PM.

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#12
LostInSpace2012

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I'm not as worried about my Linux computer, so I will try hooking up the hard drive to that machine. If something went wrong, I would rather screw up my Ubuntu machine than my "priceless" vintage Windows ME computer :-) I'm just a newb when it comes to Ubuntu though.

#13
Tommy

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I've dabbled a bit into Linux and know for a fact that it's great for rescuing data from bad Windows installations. If you download the latest version of Ubuntu and put it on a DVD and use it as a live session and if you have an external drive or flash drive, you can rescue data from a broken computer (as long as the machine works that is lol) and back it up to an external source. MUCH easier than using plain DOS to try and rescue stuff. Linux is my friend for this feature alone. :) I've used this method when fixing customer computers that needed data backed up but the Windows installation was messed up and wouldn't boot at all. So this is definitely a valuable asset to any computer tech.

 

Also, Ubuntu works pretty much the same way as Windows when it comes to copy and pasting and making new folders for easier identification of data. Just use the Files Explorer found on the toolbar and you should be able to go from there. And no, I'm not trying to treat you like a newb, I just want to make the process as seamless as possible for you so I'm explaining it as thoroughly as I can. :)


Edited by Tommy, 14 March 2014 - 08:39 PM.

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#14
LostInSpace2012

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It's fine, no worries. I appreciate the help :-)

Made a lot of progress this evening on my friends poor computer! So that's good. I can at least tell him it's not his monitor :-)

I only have a Puppy Linux live cd on hand.... and I'm on dial-up, so can't download anything at the momen. The Ubuntu machine is an install courtesy of a different friend of mine... his attempt to get me off Windows ME :-)

I want to get working on this... but I have to drive my sister and her friends to the bar downtown. So I won't be back for an hour or more. That is, If I don't stay out drinking and listening to music with them :-)

But thanks Tommy for your input :-)

Edited by LostInSpace2012, 14 March 2014 - 08:49 PM.


#15
Tommy

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Glad to be of help! If you need anything else, post here or PM me and I'll help you out further!

 

Cheers! :)


Edited by Tommy, 14 March 2014 - 08:47 PM.

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#16
LostInSpace2012

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After looking inside the Ubuntu machine I noticed that it has different cables/connectors for the hard drives. SATA, I believe. Definitely not the IDE cables that both my WinME computer or my friends XP computer have.

Well, I tried :-)

However, you might want to think about an external hard drive casing so you can turn any hard drive into a USB external one.

This could be the best solution. I will look into it, thanks :-)

Edited by LostInSpace2012, 14 March 2014 - 11:21 PM.


#17
bphlpt

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However, you might want to think about an external hard drive casing so you can turn any hard drive into a USB external one.

This could be the best solution. I will look into it, thanks :-)

 


Another benefit to this approach is that if there was something bad wrong with the drive, then this would put one more protection layer between the drive and the computer to make it less likely that it would affect the computer detrimentally.  Good luck!

 

Cheers and Regards


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#18
dencorso

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A common USB 2.0 to IDE/SATA adapter is probably a cheaper and more versatile option, which however has all the advantages pointed-out for an external hard drive casing. It's another option to consider.



#19
LostInSpace2012

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Thanks guys, appreciate the help. I will probably get both the adapter and the external docking station. They both will be handy.

#20
Tommy

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I have an external hard drive casing myself which is really nice so that I don't even have to crack open the computer and worry about slaving and hooking up to the computer's power supply. Good luck with your project and keep us informed with your results!


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#21
jaclaz

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I have an external hard drive casing myself which is really nice so that I don't even have to crack open the computer and worry about slaving and hooking up to the computer's power supply. Good luck with your project and keep us informed with your results!

Sure. :)

And both we (dencorso and myself) even have an external USB (non)case that we even don't have to crank open to change the disk inside it (that's what dencorso was talking about), something *like*:

Spoiler

 

which has additionally the not-so trifling added feature that it is compatible with both 2.5" and 3.5" Pata disk drives and with Sata ones.

 

jaclaz



#22
CharlotteTheHarlot

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I did a close visual inspection of the motherboard, and I did find something that looks bad. Some serious corrosion, or buildup of stuff on some transistors (?). They're right next to the CPU, they almost look melted or like an exploded battery. There is several of these. All the other ones on the board look shiny and normal. I'll attach a pic in a second.


Those are capacitors. The picture is too blurry to be sure but one looks misshapen which is a bad sign for caps. Be aware they usually use a thick glue which is clear or white around caps and some other components to prevent any movement. Some folks mistake this for leaking. Please get a better photo ( you don't need to zoom in, that can be done by us. Instead take a high resolution picture with higher megapixel setting, with the "auto" turned off for longer exposure and no flash. Make sure it is in focus. You need to either hold the camera steady or set it down or use a tripod. ).

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#23
Tommy

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I have an external hard drive casing myself which is really nice so that I don't even have to crack open the computer and worry about slaving and hooking up to the computer's power supply. Good luck with your project and keep us informed with your results!

Sure. :)

And both we (dencorso and myself) even have an external USB (non)case that we even don't have to crank open to change the disk inside it (that's what dencorso was talking about), something *like*:

Spoiler

 

which has additionally the not-so trifling added feature that it is compatible with both 2.5" and 3.5" Pata disk drives and with Sata ones.

 

jaclaz

 

That is actually really sweet, Jaclaz. I've personally never see one of those but I'm intrigued. I might have to take a look into it. And using the NTFS program for 9x, you should literally be able to plug in any sort of hard drive and use it externally, right?


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#24
LostInSpace2012

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More pics.

In the second picture, compare the capacitor at the top left corner and the ones to right of the CPU. The ones next to the CPU have a corroded hard material on top, while the rest are neat and shiny looking.

Computer is an "Emachine T6410."

Attached Files


Edited by LostInSpace2012, 15 March 2014 - 02:39 PM.


#25
Tommy

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Yikes, not good at all. What brand of motherboard is it? Does it say on it? If it came from around the 2003-2005 era, it could've fallen victim to the bad caps produced around that time.


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