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New XP Install wont recognize my Back-up External Hard drive.

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by HalfJoey, Jan 17, 2007.

  1. HalfJoey New Member

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    This has to be a simple solution but i cant seem to find the answer. I know i have to assign the external hard drive a drive letter but i don't know how to do it without formatting the drive. I obviously don't want to format the drive because it has all of my backup information from my old hard drive.

    The HDD is a Western Digital OEM 320GB IDE put into an external enclosure. The external enclosure worked perfect on old computer, but it was formatted on it. When i turn on the HDD my computer recognizes it as a USB mas storage device, it just doesn't assign it a drive letter.

    When I run Western Digital's Data Lifeguard Tools it wants to set up the drive and make it additional storage, but it also must partition and format the drive before it can do so...

    For some reason i assumed this would be easy, i almost feel like im taking crazy pills. When i go into Windows Disk Management all i can do is partition and format the drive, maybe im missing something

    Thanks,
  2. Jimmy 2004

    Jimmy 2004 New Member

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    Right click on "My Computer", click "Manage", select "Disk Management". If it's listed under that, right click on the partition and click "Change drive letter and paths". If it doesn't appear it sounds like it could be a driver issue, so post back if that is the case.

    If it doesn't appear after changing the letter then I'd recommend downloading TweakUI and check that the drive letter you select isn't set to be hidden or something stupid like that. If things still aren't working a format could be the only option, but don't try that just yet.
  3. HalfJoey New Member

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    When i go into The Disk Management labels it as "Disk 1" and and says the whole space is Unallocated. When i right click on it my only options are to "Partition" or "Properties" I unfortunately do not get a "Change drive letter and paths" option.

    My main hard drive shows up just fine on it.

    Any more tips?

    I suppose it is possible for my to format the drive all over again because my old hard drive was dying on me but i can still get information from it i believe. It would just take a lot of annoying steps.
  4. Jimmy 2004

    Jimmy 2004 New Member

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    I'm afraid I can't think of anything else to fix it. What filesystem did you format it with? XP should still work though even if it was done using an older version. Does it have any encryption?
  5. ktr

    ktr

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    make sure the hdd is in basic mode...not dynamic.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2007
  6. DanTheBanjoman Señor Moderator

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    If it shows as unallocated the filesystem might feel sad. There is this nice program that can recover MBR's and such. Can't think of the name currently, could look it up when I get home. It saved various drives for me.
    If that doesn't work you can use getdataback.
  7. HalfJoey New Member

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    I believe i formatted it NTFS and there was no encryption. I also have the drive set to basic mode.
    Its also hooked directly to my USB port and not through a hub. It says the Partition is "Master Boot File"

    So this is a problem with the HDD MBR and not windows XP? Because it does the same thing when i plug it into my Laptop.

    I'm going to look for a recovery program for the MBR first and then think about the GetDataBack. If you could look for the name of the one you used that would be great. I'll still search for one on my own. So if i recover the MBR then windows will recognize the drive?
  8. HalfJoey New Member

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    If i run Window XPs FixMBR then there is a chance i might loose data. I dont want to take that risk. Instead I need to come up with a way to move all the backup information to my second internal hard drive after i plug in my old hard drive that was dying on me. he windows on that machine seems to know where to fine my external HDD.

    Wish me luck.
  9. HalfJoey New Member

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    Ok this makes no sense to me.

    I tried my plan and it didn't work. Im basically using my same exact old computer setup i didn't before i moved hard drives. My old hard drive is running off the same OS install i did before but it still wont recognize my external HDD and give it a drive letter. its old letter was "J".

    A week ago i was using this setup to drag files onto that hard drive with this same setup and now it wont recognize it? wtf.

    I cant loose the information on that external hard drive.

    Well, i guess i could just recover everything all over again since i do have this old harddrive still running. But where should i format the drive now?
  10. tigger

    tigger I'm the only one

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    you could try unplugging it from the external box and plug it in on an ide channel as master/slave depending what else you have on your ide channel?
  11. HalfJoey New Member

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    I'm thinking im going to try that next before i try a software recommendation. But i would still like some. I'll see what happens tomorrow.

    Good thing i didn't erase the information off my old drive because i still have all that information, the drive is just making a weird sound.
  12. HalfJoey New Member

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    Ok, I hooked up the HDD in question to an IDE channel and i get the same exact thing.

    - XP recognizes it was unallocated space and assigns no drive letter.

    I don't know anything about Master Boot Records. If someone could recommend a program that would let me reinitialize my Master Boot Record or Partition Table i would be very appreciative. I got most of my files off my old hard drive but i know there are files on this external one that I put only to the external hard drive.
  13. Nest New Member

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    I am having a similar problem. I borrowed an external HD from a friend, XP will recognize it and say I have USB mass storage device but there will be no drive letter and I can't access the drive. I have tried three seperate computers and have gotten the same problem.
  14. HalfJoey New Member

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    I hate to say it, but i still haven't found a solution.

    Someone on another forums recommended this http://www.grc.com/spinrite.htm
    Nut its too expensive for me to give it a try. :\
  15. niko084

    niko084

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    Pull the drive out of the external enclosure and hook it up directly and see if its not some stupid driver related issue. Worth a shot, because beyond that if it was done on say windows 98/me/2k, and isn't working under xp all of a sudden, I would try whatever else you can...

    Another thing, drives don't like to be taken from xp sp2 back to sp1 for some reason... I have had issues with that myself in the past so if it was a new install and you didn't go to sp2 yet, that could be an issue.

    Other than that I'm shot for ideas... good luck
  16. Jimmy 2004

    Jimmy 2004 New Member

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    So can you get the files from the computer that the drive was originally attached to? If so, backup the files and then I think you might have to format it. If not, software restoration utilities would be your best bet.
  17. HalfJoey New Member

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    Yeah Iv tried to take it out of the enclosure and hooking it directly to an IDE channel and i get the same exact thing on it unfortunately.

    I believe all the important stuff i put on that enclosure drive was just backup from the original files I'm still able to access from my old drives, its just im not 100% positive about that so i wanted to look for solutions before formatting it.

    One thing that was weird is that I was able to use this external hard drive up until I did a new OS install on a new hard drive. But when I tried running the external hard drive on my old OS install on my Old Hard drive it didn’t recognized the drive anymore.

    What are some popular and free hard drive restoration or saving programs?

    Thanks guys

    [edit]

    And with both setups SP2 was installed.
  18. Jimmy 2004

    Jimmy 2004 New Member

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    http://www.snapfiles.com/get/restoration.html

    It's very good, remember to backup files to another drive, otherwise it may make other files impossible to recover.. The only problem is that I don't think it works when the partition table is screwed, which might have happened on yours. Worth a try - it's very easy to use if it works.

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