Urgently need to recover data from damaged laptop

  cyberphobic 13:00 01 Oct 2006

My wife's laptop no longer works after an incident on Friday night involving a glass of red wine! On the laptop are documents and emails she needs to deal with before she goes to work tomorrow. The laptop "was" an HP DV4145 running XP Home with all her messages stored in Outlook. My initial solution was to buy a 2.5inch to 3.5 inch adaptor so that I could drag/export the documents/emails I need onto the hard drive of my desktop (running XP Pro). I then intended to insert the hard drive from my laptop (HP ze4800) and drag/import the files back on to that so that it would be usable until my insurance company provide me with a replacement. When I did this however, although the contents of the laptop hard drive were visible I could not find "My Documents" or Outlook - although Programme Files, Windows, Documents and Settings etc were visible. My second attempt at a solution was to put the laptop hard drive into my ze4800 to see if I could use the "Repair" function to make the drive work in that laptop but it doesn't "see" the other windows installation so the Repair option isn't available. When I boot the laptop I get the "Windows was unable to start properly" options of Safe Mode etc, Last known good configuration, start windows normally etc - buut none of these get me anywhere. I've now spent several hours on this and am getting increasingly desperate! Can anyone help please?

  brundle 13:57 01 Oct 2006

When you tried the first method, did you have Explorer set to show hidden and system files?
click here

  Giant68 14:00 01 Oct 2006

"My Documents" would be in the Documents and Settings folder under "All Users" or your wifes account name. I can't remember where Outlook keeps e-mails, and as I am at work now I can't have a look on my own PC. If i get time when i get home I'll have a look and post back if no one else has given an answer.


  brundle 14:04 01 Oct 2006

.pst files;
click here

"Documents and Settings\[...account name...]\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\Outlook.pst"

  keja 14:09 01 Oct 2006

With the laptop drive connected to the desktop, did you try a search on (e.g.) *.doc files to see if they are somewhere else?
Also, might there be a problem with file permissions (I think it's r/click folder/properties/security)?

  cyberphobic 15:24 01 Oct 2006

Thanks for your suggestions, have tried them all, but no success. I don't understand what is going on, there is no way that the HDD could have been affected by the spillage - I know all the documents and e-mails are on there so why can't I see them. Would the fact that one is XP Home and one is XP Pro have anything to do with it?

  brundle 16:07 01 Oct 2006

If it's XP Home, there should be no problem - only if the drive is damaged or corrupted.

File Manager click here - check among options to enable viewing of hidden files

Search tool to find /anything/ , hidden, system etc click here

Last resort - data recovery; there are lots of free tools, PCInspector is quite good; click here
and some more free ones; click here

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 16:55 01 Oct 2006

Access Files
If you get Access Denied in WinXP Pro. Try “taking ownership” of the file/folder before it can be accessed. First of all go to Folder Options, View Tab and in the Advanced Settings at the end, untick “Use simple file sharing”, which will allow the Security Tab to be shown in the file’s properties. Also, in Folder options, make sure hidden and system files can be viewed.

To take ownership of the file (it’s best done at the folder level), right-click it, Properties, Security Tab, add your user name, fill in all the permissions and Apply. You can now access it.

  cyberphobic 17:03 01 Oct 2006

Thanks for your suggestions - have tried file sharing/search options, access denied isn't a problem, finding the files whcih I want is. I just don't understand how the HDD from a prevously working laptop does not show "My Documents" or "Microsoft Office" files which were previously there.

  cyberphobic 17:58 01 Oct 2006

Have tried the Windows repair option with the HDD in another desktop, but again when it tries to find another version of Windows none is found, is it possible therefore that the operating system and/or some programme files were damaged as the red wine hit the motherboard while the laptop was still powered up?

  cyberphobic 19:37 01 Oct 2006


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