Laptop HD appears as RAW; Cannot access files

Microsoft Windows xp media center 2005
April 21, 2010 at 20:47:32
Specs: Windows XP, Intel Core 2 Duo 2.00 GHz; 2 GB RAM
Hello all,

My Sony Vaio laptop running Windows XP Media Center 2005 w/ SP3 crashed following a Windows Update gone bad. After the Windows splash screen, I am left with a black screen with control of the cursor. Booting to all three Safe modes results in the same thing. I need to recover some files from the hard drive and have tried several things to no avail. I have tried booting using Knoppix and Ubuntu, but neither could find the hard drive.

The laptop has dual 100GB SATA HDs (master and slave) to make a combined 200GB. I have removed the hard drives and tried connecting them to my desktop using an external USB dock. The desktop is running Windows Vista Home x64 with SP2.

When I connect the primary/master 100GB HD to the desktop, it is assigned a drive letter, but when I try to open it in My Computer, it tells me that is needs to formatted. Under Disk Management, it shows that the drive is Healthy (Primary partition) with 93.16 GB allocated. However, it shows the file system is RAW. When I connect the slave 100GB HD, its not visible under My Computer, but under Disk Management it shows that there is 93.16 GB unallocated and does not list a file system. Prior to the laptop crashing, I had about 180GB of information stored on the hard drive. Obviously, the file system was NTFS. I really need to recover some files from the hard drive, but I still have no way of accessing the drives.

I don't think this is a hardware problem since I ran the Hitachi Drive Fitness Test and both of the 100GB HDs were recognized and passed without any problems or errors. I welcome any help or suggestions in trying to access the hard drives and recover my data.

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April 22, 2010 at 11:38:55
If you have 2 100GB drives combined into a single 200GB drive, then they had to be configured as a RAID-0 array. RAID-0 stripes data across both physical drives to achieve better performance but there is no data redundancy. If either of the drives fail, you lose ALL data on both drives. It sounds like the drives are intact, but the array failed with the same results. Here's some information about RAID configurations.

Since a RAID-0 array can be fragile, it's extremely important to have a backup in place for just such an occasion.

You probably can't recover your data but going forward I'd make sure you have a backup plan in place so if this happens again you'll have a copy of all your data.

When you re-load your system you also have the option to use your drives separately (no array). That is to say, use the first drive for Windows and installed programs and use the second drive for your data files.

-- kptech

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