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Windows 7: Recovering files from old hard disc

11 Sep 2012   #1

Windows 7 Home
Recovering files from old hard disc

I have been forced to dispose of a previously reliable desktop PC (running XP) but have retained the hard disc in the hope of recovering the files from it. The hard disc is now in an external enclosure connected to a new laptop (Lenovo G580 running Windows 7 Home Premium).

The old hard disc was partitioned, "C:" and "D:" - each half the total disc size 320 Gb. I was using C: for programmes and active files and D: as an archive for older files. Now when attached to the laptop I can "see" just two folders; one is the archived files, which is great; the other folder has a strange name comprising mainly numbers. I can't see any evidence of the partitions. I apparently don't have permission to access this second folder. Will this be the original C:? And, if so, is there a way of accessing the files within?

Finally, if I do succeed in retrieving the files and moving them somewhere more accessible (this time backed up!) can I reformat the old hard disc as a single storage device to give me extra space or has the partition to remain? How would I do this?

Very grateful for any advice.

Incidentally, I find these forums quite difficult to search and know it's likely that, somewhere in here, there is already a useful contribution that would help me resolve my questions. If anyone could direct me to the appropriate thread it would be helpful.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Sep 2012   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

Yes, you can reformat the old drive as a single storage device. You'd normally do that through Windows Disk Managment. Just locate the drive and delete any partitions you see on it, create new partitions as desired, format, and use.

I have no idea why you are seeing what you now see. If I had a C drive and a D drive on an old hard drive and connected it to a new PC, I'd expect to see 2 partitions---whereas you say you see folders.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Sep 2012   #3

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1

You can have a look at what (free) Partition Wizard makes of your old HDD. It has an explore partition option which should bypass privileges etc.
Best Free Partition Manager Freeware and free partition magic for Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Vista and Windows XP 32 bit & 64 bit. MiniTool Free Partition Manager Software Home Edition.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

11 Sep 2012   #4

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit

Have you taken ownership of the drive ?? You'll likely need to do that in order to make sense out of anything.

..and yes you can wipe and repartition the drive and use it for future storage. Disk Management, or my personal favorite diskpart, will do that for you.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Sep 2012   #5

Windows 7 Home

Many thanks everyone. Tried accessing old disc in friends XP machine and was delighted to find everything was accessible. Not sure why Windows 7 didn't let me in but all sorted now. Have yet to reformat but not too concerned about that being a problem.

Thanks again
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Sep 2012   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit

That sounds good.

Now that you are in a relaxed mood, wipe that hard disk clean with HDD Low Level Format Tool (Windows executable requiring no installation) HDDGURU: HDD LLF Low Level Format Tool ( Run it as administrator)

This will write zeroes to each and every sector in the hard drive and thus remove any remnants of the old inhabitants, reinitialising it to factory condition.

Once the process is over - which may take sometime as you can see in the progress bar - you need to format the HDD, the way you want.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Recovering files from old hard disc

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