Solved Missing Files on Win 98 HDD

December 10, 2013 at 13:22:33
Specs: Windows 98
I recently wanted to recover some files from a HDD which I ripped from an old Win 98 computer tower. The tower is no longer operable, and thus I bought a hard drive dock so I could recover the files off of it. I'm able to pull up the drive on a Win 7 laptop, but I really feel like there are files that should be there that are not showing up.
I tried to boot the drive on the Win 7 laptop, and I'm stuck at a black screen after the Win 98 splash screen, and upon rebooting I get the 6 or so boot options (i.e. safe mode, cmd prompt, safe mode w/ networking, etc). Safe mode gives me the "Insufficient memory to start Windows error" and I've already made the modifications to system.ini. So, I'm at a loss as to how to proceed.
So basically I'm wondering if there's any way to either view the files via another OS, or if there's an easy way to boot the HDD on one of my laptops.
To anybody curious, I was originally looking to recover some old gamesaves, and cannot for the life of me find them, and I know they must exist.

Hardware:
Win 98 tower: Compaq Presario CM0204 (Tower I ripped the HDD from)
Connectland External Enclosure for Hard Disk (HDD Dock)
Acer Aspire 5733-6838 (Win 7 computer I'm trying to view/boot from)
Also available:
Macbook Pro w/ OS X 10.9
Toshiba Qosmio w/ Win 8.1

Any tips/ideas would be most appreciated!


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✔ Best Answer
December 14, 2013 at 17:25:52
If you know the file extension of the gamesaves you could do a search that way. For example, according to this:

http://www.file-extensions.org/file...

the file extension for roller coaster tycoon saved game file is .sp4.



#1
December 10, 2013 at 14:25:03
If the external dock sees the Win98 drive what do you think is going to be different by installing it internally?

You can't boot to the Win98 hard drive in a modern computer.

What type of files are you seeking? You could try changing the attributes in properties to show hidden files.

Did you look at Windows Disk Management to see if there are multiple partitions? If so, verify the partitions are all visible. If formatted using FAT16 Windows 7 will not be able to read them.

Verify the total capacity and the label capacity are in sync. Multiply the label capacity by .91 to get the approx. actual capacity.


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#2
December 10, 2013 at 14:59:02
If the external dock sees the Win98 drive what do you think is going to be different by installing it internally?

I'm not sure, but I did manage to boot the drive to the Win98 desktop, although I only got to explore for about 10 seconds before the computer froze. In that time I was able to see files on the desktop that I cannot seem to find when I browse the drive on Win7. These files have to exist on the drive, right?

What type of files are you seeking? You could try changing the attributes in properties to show hidden files.

I did, and still viewing hidden files didn't reveal much toward what I'm looking for. There should be loads of personal documents and files on the drive, and I'm seeing little to none when I explore it.

Did you look at Windows Disk Management to see if there are multiple partitions? If so, verify the partitions are all visible. If formatted using FAT16 Windows 7 will not be able to read them.

There is one 4.01 GB FAT32 partition on the drive.
The HDD is a 4311 MB Seagate Model ST34311A


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#3
December 10, 2013 at 15:22:39
You might have better luck attaching an external HDD to your current computer then seeing if you can transfer the files over from your Win98 system to there then to your Windows 7 system. That's the only option available now because as already mentioned the file systems used in Windows 98 compared to what's being used in Windows 7 are too different, so a direct transfer from 1 internal hard drive to another is out of the question. It still might not work, but at least you've got a fighting chance and can perhaps run your files in compatibility mode.

message edited by techninja


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Related Solutions

#4
December 10, 2013 at 15:55:39
If the Win98 computer runs, but only for ten seconds, I would guess it is overheating. The CPU fan may not be turning.

It may be a matter of taking ownership of them. See the links below to learn how.

https://www.google.com/search?q=How...


message edited by OtheHill


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#5
December 10, 2013 at 16:23:37
If the Win98 computer runs, but only for ten seconds, I would guess it is 
overheating. The CPU fan may not be turning.

I guess I wasn't very clear on this, I actually managed to boot the drive into Win98 on the Win7 laptop, and that worked for about 10ish seconds. Wasn't an overheating problem, but I'm sure rather just a compatibility problem.

It was then that I was stuck at the boot menu/blank screen, and I am unable to boot to the desktop again (All on the Win7 laptop). Sorry about the confusion. The Win98 tower is completely inoperable at this time.

It's just frustrating how I know the files SHOULD be there, but I am unable to find them. I know I'm looking in the right directories, but I'm almost wondering if the personal files created on the Win98 computer wouldn't show up when viewing the drive via the dock because of compatibility reasons?

message edited by fakeskyline


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#6
December 11, 2013 at 01:25:14
As I recall, files showing on the desktop are in c:\windows\desktop. So that's where you'd look for those files. Of course some may just be links. Most document files are in c:\my documents but may be stored elsewhere depending on the software. How are you searching for the files you can't find?

There shouldn't be any compatibility issues when using the drive externally.

Shouldn't be a problem copying files from the 98 drive to windows 7.

Does the 'dock' for the drive have its own power or is it solely from the USB?

Go ahead and boot to 7 with the 98 drive attached as non-booting and try again. Besides you can't copy files from a running 98 drive to the 7 drive because 98 doesn't recognize NTFS partitioning so it won't even see the windows 7 drive. You probably just need to do a better search.


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#7
December 11, 2013 at 17:41:56
There are very few files in the desktop folder, and I know when I booted up the drive to the Win98 desktop, I saw without a doubt files on the desktop which are not appearing in this folder. Unfortunately, I cannot provide a screenshot of what I saw, seeing as that was seemingly a one time thing.

Desktop folder screenshot

I also know that I had multiple games stored on this computer, and I can find little to no data for them. For example, I have evidence of RollerCoaster Tycoon on the drive, and all I can find are a few links in the game's folder.

RCT folder screenshot

But no actual gamesaves, or even the program itself. So my question is, where are these files that won't show up?


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#8
December 11, 2013 at 20:40:08
The 'programs' folder in the start menu folder doesn't always contain the actual files. Those are usually in c:\program files. What shows in the 'programs' folder are just links.

I'm not sure why the desktop folder seems to be missing items. I'll have to fire up my 98 machine later and have a look and see if some of what shows on the desktop is coming from somewhere else.

If your intention is to extract the games from the 98 drive, copy them to another drive and have them work, well that's probably not possible. When software is installed windows puts numerous files in various places and then modifies the registry to reflect the changes. So manually tracking down all the files and knowing what changes were made in the registry is going to be near impossible.


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#9
December 12, 2013 at 09:00:01
DAVEINCAPS brings up a good point. What is the purpose of copying the files?

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#10
December 13, 2013 at 20:41:49
DAVEINCAPS brings up a good point. What is the purpose of copying the files?

As I said in original post, I was originally looking to recover some old gamesaves for some older games I have, (i.e. Old RCT parks) to load on the newer computer. (I would assume that gamesaves for the exact same game would work even on a newer computer). Also, I was looking to recover some old personal documents. I really didn't think it would be this much of a challenge to pull some old documents or old gamesaves from this drive.

message edited by fakeskyline


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#11
December 14, 2013 at 07:22:18
You've taken a simple task & made it difficult. All you need to do is put the Win98 HDD in the dock & attach the dock to another PC or laptop. Make sure "show hidden files & folders" is enabled & "hide file extensions" is disabled in the Folder Options settings. The saved games are probably in My Documents.

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#12
December 14, 2013 at 17:25:52
✔ Best Answer
If you know the file extension of the gamesaves you could do a search that way. For example, according to this:

http://www.file-extensions.org/file...

the file extension for roller coaster tycoon saved game file is .sp4.


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