Help with hard drive

So, I have an internal hard drive from some old computer that I’d like some files from.

It’s not important enough to spend wads of cash on like some data recovery company, but I think there are some pictures and music on it I’d like to have.

It went or is going bad, and I can’t get XP to recognize it. I have a patch cable to USB that it has worked on in the past, but now it won’t. It’s the type of cable you’d use if you put it in an external case.

The port works fine; other drives get recognized. This drive powers up, spins up, and gets warm after a while, but plugging it in to the USB port does nothing.
XP won’t see it anywhere.
Any way to force Windows to see it?
While we’re playing, let’s harken back to another problem I’ve never gotten an answer to.

I have a folder full of jpegs. Over 3,000. Windows will paint thumbnails for the first half or so of the pictures, but will never finish the page. The pictures all “work” if you click on them. Nothing wrong with the files that I can see. Windows simply won’t show a thumbnail past a certain point in the folder.

How can I force it to do my bidding?

You’re not clear what kind of drive it is, or what OS/platform it might be from.

USB translator cables don’t always work well. Try jacking it in (maybe to a borrowed older system, if need be) using a native connection. Make sure BIOS recognizes it; you might have to adjust some settings for the system to read it. You also don’t say how you’re powering it; USB can only supply a modest amount of power and some older drives need more.
Copy the folder of JPEGs to multiple folders with no more than 1000 and ideally fewer than 512 files in each.

It’s just a 3.5" Samsung 250g, 7,200 rpm internal drive from an old machine.

The connector I have is like this; There’s a power cable that connects directly to the drive, and the patch cord from drive to computer.

It has worked with this particular drive in the past, but not now. I suspect the drive itself since it won’t work with any other computer I plug it into.

If you’ve tried everything and still can’t get it to work, can’t hurt to try the good old drive-in-freezer trick.

I can’t remember how XP works, but W7 doesn’t always list a drive in Explorer. For some reason, a drive might not get assigned a letter and that has to be done manually.

In W7, you go into storage management and add the drive letter. Not sure where this functionality is in XP.

If that’s not the problem and the drive isn’t making any unhealthy noises, can you feel it spin up when it gets power. Dead drives are almost always attributable to the circuit board not the mechanism. At least historically that’s been true.

So if it seems healthy, focus on software/firmware issues.

You sure that is the correct cord? Never seen a standard internal HD connected to the computer with a plug like that for the computer side. It says a SATA connection but that is not a SATA connector.

Really need the computer type

A Mack? E-machine? Got the MOBO #'s?

If the power lead is making it spin, then it is cable or OS or ???

More INFO please.

It sounds like yours is further gone than mine was, but there’s a program I used to recover data from a hard drive with a corrupted index. The full version’s $50 but there’s a trial version that lets you transfer the most important 1 gigabyte of files, so you could try it and see if it works. I’ll have to look for the name of the program, though.

That’s usually the last-ditch fix for drives with bearing problems - the OP’s drive is spinning up OK.

If you can find another drive of exactly the same specification, it may be worth swapping their PCBs - this is scary the first time, but it’s actually quite simple and may resolve the problem if it’s the onboard electronics that have gone wrong.

Go to Disk Cleanup, check the Thumbnails box, then click OK. Windows will remove all thumbnails and regenerate the cache. For such a large folder, it will take quite some time when you first open it.

I did that once and it worked but the only reason was that I’d gotten several drives at the same time with the same specs and some happened to have boards with what was called the same ‘microcode revision level.’ I don’t think you’ll find that by chance if you order another drive even if of the same model.

But as long as the drive isn’t making any noise, that’s probably not the issue. IDE drives of the vintage I think we’re talking about tended to make a clicking or other noise when the board died. If it’s spinning up and seems to be behaving normally otherwise, I’d push that down on the list in terms of what is or isn’t likely.

Any chance of trying it on a linux machine? I’ve had success in the past where Windows refused to acknowledge a drive but linux did.

Interesting. Does Linux automatically assign drive designations (letters?) or is like windows where that has to be done manually sometimes through a system utility?

I’m thinking more, “I haven’t seen a USB-powered adaptor that can power a 3.5” HDD", and I’d like one, if there is.

If your drive isn’t showing up, one step to go deeper is to right-click on My Computer, click Manage, then Disk Management. It’ll show up more drives and partitions (and shows which partition exists on which disk).

If you read the text, there is an external power adapter that is not pictured. USB alone does not have enough power to spin up an IDE drive.

The adapter shown has four connectors:
[li]The USB “A” connector at the end of the cord (in foreground), to connect to the computer;[/li][li]A 44-pin connector for 2.5" IDE drives (facing toward the viewer);[/li][li]A 40-pin connector for 3.5" IDE drives (facing away from the viewer);[/li][li]A 7-pin data connector for SATA drives (on the right-hand edge of the adapter);[/li][/ul]
The near-universality makes such adapters extremely useful items in any electronic toolkit.

The plug in ducati’s picture is an ‘B’, for the device end. It actually should have an ‘A’ as you say. That picture is not an ‘A.’

More than you ever wanted to know.

A ways down the page is a diagram that splains a lot.

An IDE drive requires an separate power line.


I gots power, cheerins. Sucker spins up great. It’s just not sending any signal to Windows that it’s there.

Disk management doesn’t show it. Tried that first. I’m just wondering if there’s another way to query the drive or rub XP’s nose in it to get a smell!

I know it’s toast, but I just don’t want to give up. All my Red Sovine songs are on there!:smiley:

Ducati’s link clearly shows an ‘A’ plug. A ‘B’ plug would be useless in that situation, given that it needs to plug into the host computer.

True for 3.5" IDE drives. Many/most 2.5" (i.e. laptop) IDE drives can be powered by the +5V lines in the 44-pin connector shown in ducati’s link, hence being powered entirely by the USB link.

Did you look at my link?
Where did ducati say it was a laptop? I missed it somehow? :smack:

Linux has a step called mounting a drive before it is usable, as a directory like any other. This step can be manually performed although it’s usually handled automatically. A manual attempt might at least get an error message pointing to either the problem or a more likely solution.

It might be worth the OP’s time to try Puppy, a small (~100mb) Linux distro intended for CD booting and see if it can read the drive.