Laptop HD in external USB case not recognised by P

  rob_gould 09:48 30 Aug 2009

Hi All,

A friend has given me their laptop HD in the hope that I can recover the data from it.

The laptop is an Acer Aspire 5003, and the issue they saw was that on booting Windows, the laptop would get to a point where it was showing the XP splash screen and then just restart and this would just cycle round and round.

I expected that I would be able to put the laptop's HD In my 2.5" USB HD case and then plug it into my PC and browse the files on there, but this does not work for some reason.

The PC does not even mount the HD so it's visible in My Computer, and when I look at Disk Management, the disk does not appear in there either.

Clearly the HD is not completely dead because it gets half way through the boot process in the Acer laptop, but despite this something is preventing me from seeing the HD.

Has anyone seen this behaviour before? Any ideas about how to recover the data on the laptop HD?

One more bit of (possibly relevant) info - the first (hidden) partition on the laptop HD has an image of XP on it so that the laptop can be restored to default settings. Could this be part of the problem?

Thanks all


  rob_gould 10:01 30 Aug 2009

ONe more piece of info :

I have tried jumpering the laptop HD so that it's device 0, device 1 and cable select, and none of these made a difference.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 12:27 30 Aug 2009

Any drive in an external USB caddy needs to be set as "master"

  rob_gould 12:36 30 Aug 2009

Yep - tried that and it has made no difference unfortunately

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 12:58 30 Aug 2009

"showing the XP splash screen and then just restart and this would just cycle round and round."

Usually a defective driver, Tap F8 at Boot and try last know good configuration or will it boot to save mode?
remove drivers one at a time until you find culprit

if still same then
Beg borrow or steal A XP CD and do a repair
Repair XP by install over the top of existing system

1. Boot the computer using the XP CD. You may need to change the boot order in the system BIOS so the CD boots before the hard drive. Check your system documentation for steps to access the BIOS and change the boot order.

2. When you see the "Welcome To Setup" screen, you will see This portion of the Setup program prepares Microsoft Windows XP to run on your computer:

To setup Windows XP now, press ENTER.

To repair a Windows XP installation using Recovery Console, press R.

To quit Setup without installing Windows XP, press F3.

3. Press Enter to start the Windows Setup.

To setup Windows XP now and Repair Install , press ENTER.

DO NOT choose "To repair a Windows XP installation using the Recovery Console, press R", (you Do Not want to load Recovery Console).

4. Accept the License Agreement and Windows will search for existing Windows installations.

5. Select the XP installation you want to repair from the list and press R to start the repair.

6. Setup will copy the necessary files to the hard drive and reboot.

Do not press any key to boot from CD when the message appears.

Setup will continue as if it were doing a clean install, but your applications and settings will remain intact.

Repair XP
click here

  rob_gould 12:10 31 Aug 2009

A quick update :

I managed to rescue the data on the HD by creating an Ubuntu boot disc. I booted Ubuntu on a different PC and that allowed me to be able to see the laptop HD when connected using my USB hard drive caddy.

I copied the data off and then was able to reinstall Windows in the way you suggested.


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