data recovery from hard drives

  bigfoot141967 11:46 30 Nov 2016
Locked

My Windows Vista Ultimate pc died last week. I suspect a dead motherboard.I was due to get a new pc any way so have bitten the bullet and ordered a new custom built one, with windows 10. If possible I would like to recover some files and programs and even possibly settings from the dead pc hard drives.I am planning on using pc mover pro to achieve this if the hard drives are o.k. The dead pc has 2 x 320gb drives in a Raid 0 striping formation. I borrowed a hard drive docking station to try to ascertain if the hard drives are still intact. The docking station only takes 1 hdd so I put one in at a time and connected to my wifes laptop. The first drive was found, but was told I needed to format it to use it. I did not do this as I assumed I would lose any data on it. The second hdd was not found by the laptop at all. I am now thinking it is because of the raid set up. If I purchased a 2 bay external enclosure that supports Raid, would I have better luck in accessing the drives ? How can I determine which drive was the first and which was the second, and does it matter ? My plan is to salvage the data ( I have back ups of some of it but not all) and then use the drives in the new enclosure as extra storage. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated, but please bear in mind that I have limited computer knowledge and skills. I have though learnt not to order my new pc with a raid 0 striping formation, and have opted for a mirror formation. Thank You.

  Secret-Squirrel 12:31 30 Nov 2016

I am now thinking it is because of the raid set up.

It is. Your data is striped across two disks so no one disk contains any usable information. Both disks are required to access your data.

If I purchased a 2 bay external enclosure that supports Raid, would I have better luck in accessing the drives ?

There's no guarantee that it will work. There's no industry standard for RAID and different chipset providers implement RAID slightly differently. If however your RAID is a Windows software version then it'll probably work.

.............and have opted for a mirror formation.

That's an odd choice for a home user. Some folks think it's a backup but it's not. RAID 1 is normally used in corporate web and file servers so if one drive fails there's no disruption to the business operations. RAID 1 makes read operations faster so may be that's why you've chosen it.

Sorry I didn't give you the good news you were hoping for.

  bigfoot141967 12:50 30 Nov 2016

Thanks for replying secret squirrel. As time goes on I am pretty resigned to have lost everything anyway. Hopefully I can salvage something, either some data or hard drives for re use. As for the choice of raid 1 mirror, I guess that shows my lack of knowledge. It was based on the builders website info, that said if 1 hard drive failed then you can replace the failed one and restore from the other one. To my mind that would be a sort of back up against a hard drive failure, and as each hard drive is plenty big enough for my needs, I thought it would not matter too much. But you live and learn. I appreciate your comments and time.

  Secret-Squirrel 13:01 30 Nov 2016

To my mind that would be a sort of back up against a hard drive failure...........

Yes it is although technically speaking it's called "fault tolerance" and not backup. The problem with using RAID 1 as a backup is that if you get infected, lose some files or folders, or suffer a devastating Windows problem then those problems are instantly copied to both drives so there's no way to recover.

...........the builders website info, that said if 1 hard drive failed then you can replace the failed one and restore from the other one.

There's no need to replace or restore anything as the computer will automatically switch to using the good drive if the other fails.

Thankfully, hard drives don't usually fail catastrophically without warning.

  Jollyjohn 13:40 01 Dec 2016

If you can identify your motherboard, you could look on eBay for a replacement, rebuild the old PC and recover your data.

Then strip it down and sell the parts on eBay

  bigfoot141967 18:52 01 Dec 2016

Thanks Jollyjohn, its now nearly 9 years old and not worth investing any more money into. Not sure that it is the motherboard either, I have ruled out what I can. The only parts available for it now are second hand anyway so no guarantees with them. The bullet has been bitten and new pc ordered, along with a dual bay raid external enclosure. If I can salvage anything from the drives I will now view that as a bonus, if not I can just use the enclosure for extra storage. Luckily I had back ups of most of my data, just not everything. I aim to be more careful in future.

  Jollyjohn 11:28 02 Dec 2016

I appreciate the age of the old PC, I suggested this more as a project to recover the data than a resurrection of the old PC. You would probably be able to pick up a motherboard for less than the price of a caddy and once data retrieved you could sell the old parts on eBay.

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