Here's a quandry! How do I know what OS is on a drive that won't BOOT?


  1. Posts : 56
    Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
       #1

    Here's a quandry! How do I know what OS is on a drive that won't BOOT?


    I have lots of old IDE hard drives that I was sifting through at the weekend and plugging in to see what was on them.

    These drives were very probably plugged into an old HP xw4600 workstation and now I have a Z420 Workstation with AHCI SSD, different motherboard, different RAM, different hardware full stop.

    Is there any way, or indeed so clever way, that I can unplug all my current drives and plug in each of these drives one at a time and restore them to a bootable state please?

    Let's just say I cannot remember what is on any of these drives, in which PC they actually were located or where any backup images are or recovery discs for that matter!!!

    Basically, I've been under an extreme amount of pressure in the last 2.5 years and seem to have lost a lot of mental capacity to remember what I did when, how and where!

    It's very frustrating.

    I want to get onto these drives to see if there is anything worth saving.

    Thanks in advance.

    I'll be duplicating this thread on the Windows 10 forum also. Not sure if that's a good idea but I am sure that at least one of these drives is Windows 7 (one may even be Vista or XP).

    I hope there is a solution.
      My Computer


  2. Posts : 16,225
    7 X64
       #2

    run dism++ and it will list any os on attached disks

    https://github.com/Chuyu-Team/Dism-M....1.1002.1B.zip

    if the disks have ide connectors you could try an ide to usb to connect to your current pc. then run dism++ and it will tell you which os is on it.

    example
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mcbazel-Con...zcF9hdGY&psc=1
      My Computers


  3. Posts : 56
    Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
    Thread Starter
       #3

    SIW2 said:
    run dism++ and it will list any os on attached disks

    https://github.com/Chuyu-Team/Dism-M....1.1002.1B.zip

    if the disks have ide connectors you could try an ide to usb to connect to your current pc. then run dism++ and it will tell you which os is on it.

    example
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mcbazel-Con...zcF9hdGY&psc=1
    Hi. Thanks for introducing me to DISM++. Looks mightily powerful but complex.

    I've searched the forum for examples but most are dated 2019. Is there a standard Windows 7 Ultimate x64 wim file available somewhere where I can pull any necessary files from? I have a few ISO's on various drives which I have seen whilst looking into this but they are not labelled sufficiently enough for me to know what version they are. Is there a way to tell by mounting it and looking for certain files would you know?

    But I did find this post of yours which is really useful:-

    Update your Win 7 installation media

    I have read the first page and the last page. It looks as though you keep this 7UPv64Q.zip file maintained despite the post being nearly 6 years old as I can see that the first post was updated only a week ago. I did use Simplix at some point a couple of years ago but have since forgotten everything I learned about so don't even now if Simplix is valid or even working anymore. Do I even need to concern myself with Simplix? Do I just follow the instructions in your first post only?

    My issue is mainly my lack of confidence in these matters.

    SO... HERE GOES!

    1) Are these drives technically not booting potentially because they came from an extinct PC / Laptops I once owned and the drivers for things like the drives are not installed on my current up-to-date system?

    2) One I have plugged in at the moment is Windows 7 Ultimate and is actually a old style 2.5" SATA drive and NOT IDE as I first thought. I got my terminology mixed up. I guess it's a non SSD SATA drive as it states 5400 rpm on it. So if SATA why would it not start on my current PC?

    3) Maybe the BIOS settings need changing but I am operating on legacy MBR if that helps. I'm sure it does.

    4) Maybe I should restore BIOS to default settings and plug only this drive in and see if it works? I am on an HP Z420 and have save a replicated setup file to a USB stick this morning as a BIOS settings backup. I think this allows me to change BIOS to default and simply restore CPQSETUP file to return it to its current working state?

    5) I want to be able to get each of these drives to a bootable state on my new setup which is Windows 10 Pro x64. Would I be correct in thinking that some of my 7 drives might even be x86 and if I do not have x86 drivers on my current system then it wouldn't be able to boot a 7 x86 drive?

    6) I have Macrium Reflect on a trial at the moment and have 4 days left. The drives seem to appear when I boot but selecting them doesn't work. Maybe I should be updating BCD for system with drives connected. I don't know.

    Basically, I am talking a stab in the dark here by guessing so if you could advise it would be greatly appreciated.

    I do have a W7 64 bit repair disc but for some reason it is not reading. It doesn't look scratched but I'll give it a quick polish to see if it is a scratching issue.

    Thanks for your help this far.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Well. I've spent the time since earlier post today polishing up the Repair DVD.

    Got it to read finally after several attempts but without risking changing BIOS settings, which I won't do just yet, it won't load. I can see the name of the DVD.

    For some reason, I cannot select DVD as boot drive in the BIOS so I copied contents of drive to a USB stick.

    It still won't boot to the repair option from the USB instead asking me to enter password for an account on Windows 10 that I cannot remember the password for. The joys of getting old...

    DVD also sounds very clunky with this DVD in. Sounds fine with other DVD's in it.

    Here is a screenshot of the folders contents (Perhaps it's missing something):-

    Here's a quandry! How do I know what OS is on a drive that won't BOOT?-win7-dvd.png
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Here's a quandry! How do I know what OS is on a drive that won't BOOT?-win7-usb.png  
      My Computer


  4. Posts : 529
    Windows 7 x64 SP1
       #4

    A possible way to do this would be to locate and purchase a computer from that era, then hook the drives up and, hopefully, they will boot. If you found a cheap enough machine it might be worth the gamble.

    Otherwise, quite a project to hook up to modern equipment, find the right drivers; find a way to see what's on them; etc. Personally, I would use Linux to do this. It can see and open many Windows files, such as documents, pictures, spreadsheets etc. Plus, you would get to know Linux, which is a great thing in itself.
      My Computer


  5. Posts : 56
    Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
    Thread Starter
       #5

    michael diemer said:
    A possible way to do this would be to locate and purchase a computer from that era, then hook the drives up and, hopefully, they will boot. If you found a cheap enough machine it might be worth the gamble.

    Otherwise, quite a project to hook up to modern equipment, find the right drivers; find a way to see what's on them; etc. Personally, I would use Linux to do this. It can see and open many Windows files, such as documents, pictures, spreadsheets etc. Plus, you would get to know Linux, which is a great thing in itself.
    I do have a couple of PC's from that era already but I am trying to get these drives to work on current machine so I can simply boot to the drive I want. Basically, I am wanting to access some legacy software on a new faster machine. Both machines are x64.
      My Computer


 

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