Retrieving SATA Hard Drive Data on Another Computer

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Jay Taylor, Feb 28, 2009.

  1. Jay Taylor

    Jay Taylor Supporting Actor

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    My wife's Windows XP tower computer won't boot. It has two SATA hard drives. Initial troubleshooting procedures didn't fix it.

    Prior to troubleshooting further, I'm considering connecting her two SATA Hard Drives up to my working computer to retrieve data as well as determine whether or not the drives are bad. I suspect that her SATA controller card is bad although it's possible that she has a boot sector virus.

    Her SATA drive number one has two partitions. Partition one is the boot partition with a logical drive address of E:. Partition two is C:.

    Will there be a problem with replacing my 4th SATA drive (logical drive address H: ) on my working computer with this two-partition SATA drive in order to retrieve data and determine whether or not it works?
     
  2. David Norman

    David Norman Cinematographer
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    I wouldn't think there would be a problem. When you boot up, your boot drive should assign the rest of the drives appropriate letters. After that you should be able to retrieve your information as long as the HDD is intact. If you suspect a virus, I guess I would be scared of cross contaminating.

    If you have a spare SATA empty HD laying around, you could remove the current and try to load your WinXP from its setup disc -- that would at least tell if the Controller Card is functional.
     
  3. Jay Taylor

    Jay Taylor Supporting Actor

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    Excellent idea David. Also thanks for the info on the drives being reassigned. I wasn't sure if the drives from the broken computer would try to retain their original drive letters and therefore conflict or would be reassigned different letters. I was also concerned about having two bootable hard drives on one system.
     
  4. David Norman

    David Norman Cinematographer
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    As long as your boot order defaults to your current drive you should be fine. I've often had 2 XP bootable drive on the same computer when I'm messing around with my system. It also make it easy to transfer large files from an old master drive to a new.

    I did it last week moving my Music files from an old single HDD to a new RAID5 setup. You can go through the setup upon initial boot to specify the HD boot order or usually there is a keystroke (F11 or F12 on my systems) at the boot screen that will give you a choice later in the boot sequence which drive to boot from (you really don't want to boot from a drive from another computer).

    If your SATA card is OK then you may have a corrupted OS or a bad drive. If it's a corrupted OS then you might be able to use the XP Setup disc to repair your WinXP.
     
  5. Jay Taylor

    Jay Taylor Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for the info and tips David. I have most of Sunday to work on her computer and you've given me some good ideas on where to start.
     
  6. Jay Taylor

    Jay Taylor Supporting Actor

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    Problem solved. Thanks for your help David.

    SATA drive #1 was dead and drive #2 was okay. No problem with putting her drives on my computer one drive at a time. We had a new SATA drive on hand to replace the broken one.

    Fortunately the important data was backed up onto drive #2 as well as a USB hard drive that we keep in a different location in case the house burns down or the computer gets stolen. For more day to day backups we also use various USB flash drives. So the computer is now up & running as before.

    My wife had over 100 GB of pictures and 20 GB in music on her computer and we didn't lose a single picture or song. Backing up is such a pain when you do it but it sure pays off when you need it.

    Over the years the devices that we use to back up have continued to improve as the technology improves. Our favorite device to use now is the Western Digital 500 GB My Passport portable drive. It's slightly larger than a cell phone and has no power cords because it only needs the power from the USB connector. We use a small retractable USB cord so both items fit into a small case. 500 GB worth of backup capability in a small handheld device with no power cord! Here's a link:

    Western Digital - My Passport Essential 500GB External USB 2.0 Portable Hard Drive - Midnight Black - WDME5000TN
     
  7. David Norman

    David Norman Cinematographer
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    Glad it worked out and specifically in the least painful way.

    I think I have around 3000 pictures on my main system, but about 400GB of music (all my CD, Cassettes, LP's etc from the last 30+ years) most of it in a lossless format. I'm so paranoid I think I have them on at least 3 drives and I'm seriously considering so sort of online storage for further backup.
     
  8. Jay Taylor

    Jay Taylor Supporting Actor

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    I have only 1GB of online backup available due to buying Webroot's AntiVirus with AntiSpyware program. Because it's only 1 GB I had to limit the backups to only the most critical files.

    It takes a long time to do the backup. First the files are compressed & encrypted on my computer, and then they are uploaded to their computer where they are encrypted again and verified. The files are not considered available for backup until they are verified. It only uploads the files that have changed but for example, every time I update DVD Profiler that currently is a 286 MB backup file it takes about 20 minutes to verify that one file!

    To backup 400 GB online the first backup & verification will take a huge amount of time.

    Another form of backup that we use is a Network 1TB backup drive. It's connected to our wireless modem via Ethernet cable. All of our computers as well as our laptops have access to this drive for backup & restoration. However, if the house burns down it's lost.

    So my favorite form of backup for the really large 100GB+ backups is still a portable hard drive that's stored outside of the home. Other backup hard drives are stored in the home and one is in my briefcase that I take with me to work. I rotate them periodically.

    It's a pain in the ass to do all of this backing up but for incentive I remember that my sister lost all of her family's pictures when her home burned down. My grandparents lost all of their pictures in a house fire as well, resulting in my mom not having any pictures of her childhood. It seems that every year a friend or family member loses all of their music & pictures stored on their computer because they had no backup plan whatsoever!
     
  9. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    I've always got hundreds of CD-Rs and DVD+Rs scattered around wherever I happen to be living at a given moment, and the vast majority of them are dated back-ups. Even when I do a newer backup, I'm afraid to throw away the old discs in case something happens to the new ones -- at least I'll have everything up to the last backup.
     
  10. sestamuch

    sestamuch Stunt Coordinator

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    That's pretty nice for an external drive.
     
  11. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Cinematographer

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    I used one those My Passport drives to hold a copy of my camcorder files during my European vacation while I mailed the original SD cards back to Canada. This ensured I had at least one good copy of my vacation footage once I got home. Great little devices, incredibly convenient, and growing in size every few months.
     

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