Solved Need assistnace with an external USB HDD Reader

October 13, 2014 at 11:41:51
Specs: Windows 7
I am having a problem with a similar, if not the same, HDD reader. I have a WD 250 BG 3.5" HDD that was in an old desktop of mine. I place it in the drive reader and it spins up and reads the drive. The problem is that it is only displaying 50 GB of the 250 GB HDD. The 50 GB that show are split between two separate letter drives, one with 40 GB and one with 10 GB. The 50 GB drive has about 4 Gigs reflected as used and the 10GB drive reflects less than s Gig used. Most of the files on these two drives are unreadable and appear to be boot up files and other administrative and operational type files. I can find no files with any of the collected and saved data that should be in my documents folder and desk top. I basically can't find any such files. Is there some reason why these would default to hidden files? Is there some way to unhide these files if hidden? I am having a similar problem with a IDE drive that was used for back-up storage and has mostly movies on it. I am using a Toshiba P series laptop with Windows 7 right now if that is any help as well in diagnosing what to do next. If anyone has any ideas on how to access the files that should still be on these drives I would be most grateful. Thanks.

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October 13, 2014 at 11:52:50
Is the drive actually formatted into different partitions, or is it only displaying it this way?

How is the drive partitioned (what file system)?

If the drive has been partitioned, is it possible that some of the drive is unallocated space?

What OS was on the drive previously? Is it possible that the files aren't being shown because you don't have the proper 'permissions'?

If so, you might have to boot from the drive to access the files.

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October 13, 2014 at 12:14:02
Thanks! That was fast. I think the drive was operating on Windows XP, possibly Windows 97. I can't remember if it was partitioned originally. I thought it was not, but if it was, it was only a small section that would have been partitioned. The 50 GB drive should probably be more like 240 if the partition came from the factory. The drive use to be in an HP I purchased in 2002. As for permissions I guess it is possible, but I did not do much in regards to security back then so I never maintained separate administrator credentials and had no user log in to access files. If I were to try and boot from it, how would I do that? Could booting from that drive hurt my current computer?

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October 13, 2014 at 13:46:53
✔ Best Answer
Does the drive show the normal capacity in Device Manager?

By default, Windows automatically prevents certain files from being accessed by a non-system administrator.

To boot from the drive, turn off the laptop but leave the drive attached. Turn on the laptop, and you should see a brief prompt to enter a 'Boot Menu' by pressing F10 or something. If this doesn't show up, you'll have to check the manual for which key to press.

In the menu you should see some options like Hard Drive, Network, CD/ROM, and USB. It'll likely be USB, though if you see multiple Hard Drive entries, select the one that says the proper size.

No, I highly doubt booting from the old drive would 'hurt' your computer...the worst that would probably happen would be that it simply won't boot from the drive, and we'll have to find some other way to access the files.

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October 13, 2014 at 14:04:01
Thanks so much! I will give this a try and let you know how it goes.

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October 13, 2014 at 23:55:03
I've never heard of a 'hard disk reader'. Do you mean you installed the drive in an external enclosure or maybe used one of those USB drive converters?

You're sure it's a 250 gig drive? What's the drive model number? An HP computer from 2002 wouldn't have come with a 250 gig drive. So it must have been upgraded at some point. Quite possibly the old drive was cloned to the new one but the partitions weren't resized.

Also if it was running, uhh lets say 98 and not 97, the partitioning tool FDISK wouldn't have been able to create a partition larger than 64 gig without using the update and even with the update the partition size would have been limited to about 128 gig. XP before SP1 had the same 128 gig partition limitation.

So I'm guessing the partition sizes you're seeing are correct. Someone bought a big ole drive, cloned their old OS to it and didn't realize they had 200 gig of unused, unallocated space left on it.

You might not be able to find the files because searching through a drive you're not booting from can be more difficult than looking through the boot drive. For 98, documents default to C:\MY DOCUMENTS. For XP it'd be

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