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How to view contents of hard drive with os on it externally?


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#1 justMK

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 08:40 AM

Hello, I have a few old hard drives I want to re-format and sell, but first I want to view the content in them. These were from old pc's I've had. Some have Windows XP and the others Windows 7. My current computer has Windows 7.

 

I purchased this USB-to-SATA adapter. When I connect a drive with the adapter:

 

- I can't see the drive under My Computer, only my C: drive, so I can't see the content.

- Under Device Manager I see both the internal C: drive and the connected drive under Disk drives. If i right-click the connected drive it says it's working properly and is set to Quick removal. It says it's Disk 1, Basic, status is "offline" and has GUID Partition Table (GPT)

- On Devices and Printers i see the adapted drive as "USB to ATA/ATAPI bridge

- On Disk Management Tool I see the C: drive as Disk 0, and the adapted drive as Disk 1, partitioned.

 

Reading articles online, some suggest I need to remove the partitions because of the OS, but don't leave instructions. If I click on a partition and right-click everything is greyed out except for "help." Some suggest I have to assign it a drive letter but also don't explain how.

 

Anyone know how to view the contents of these drives without actually installing them? Thanks for any help  :thumbup2:



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#2 JohnC_21

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 09:32 AM

If the drive is 3.5 IDE or SATA did you also connect the power connector from the power brick? Do you hear the drive spinning up? If you lightly touch the drive you can feel the platter spinning.

 

You do not need to remove the partitions in order to read the contents of a drive using a USB adapter. The drive should have a drive letter assigned to it under disk management or it will not show up in Computer.



#3 hamluis

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 09:33 AM

Examples

 

Louis



#4 justMK

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 09:45 AM

If the drive is 3.5 IDE or SATA did you also connect the power connector from the power brick? Do you hear the drive spinning up? If you lightly touch the drive you can feel the platter spinning.

 

You do not need to remove the partitions in order to read the contents of a drive using a USB adapter. The drive should have a drive letter assigned to it under disk management or it will not show up in Computer.

Thanks for the reply. Yup, it's powered. It's spinning. I suspect it has to do with it showing up as "offline" on Disk Management. When i hover over the "offline" status it says:

"The disk is offline because it has a signature collision with another disk that is online." The online disk being the current C: drive. It seems that because the drive i'm trying to view has windows 7 installed it's causing a conflict and all the options for it are greyed out. The icon next to the Disk 1 drive has a little downward red arrow in a circle next to it, the Disc 0 icon for the C: drive does not.



#5 justMK

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 09:55 AM

ok, so got it "online" and now it has a drive letter (E:) and is showing up. when i click it though, it just gives me the option to re-format it via a popup.



#6 JohnC_21

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 09:57 AM

What does Disk Management list drive E as, not initialized or RAW? How were you able to get the disk online?



#7 justMK

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 09:59 AM

it's listed as RAW. under the Disk 0 icon it said Basic, the size, and Online. The other one said Basic, the size and Offline - which was a link. When i hovered over the link it told me about the signature error, and when i clicked it, it just made itself online.



#8 JohnC_21

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 10:05 AM

A RAW drive either indicates the drive has lost the Partition Table or MFT. It may be possible to recover the partition table and view the contents. If you are not worried about the contents on the drive you can zero wipe the drive.

 

TestDisk can be used to attempt a Partition Table Repair. Download the 32bit version, not the 64bit version and unzip the file to a folder on your desktop. Double Click the Testdisk exe file and do a Quick Search as outlined in the below guide. If a partition is detected then highlight it and press the "P" key to detect your files. You can copy any file in the list to the folder you unzipped Testdisk to.

 

http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk_Step_By_Step


Edited by JohnC_21, 12 November 2016 - 10:06 AM.


#9 justMK

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 10:10 AM

Thanks JohnC, i'll try that. it should be noted that this drive i'm checking is actually one of two of one of my old pc's. In that, it's a 500GB and there's another 500GB that together were being read as 1TB by the pc using i think Raid? I don't know enough about pc's to remember what the deal was with that. I should've checked them first but i started stripping down the old pc's i have and selling the used parts, and the hard drives and towers are basically what's left of them.



#10 JohnC_21

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 10:18 AM

That could present a problem. If it's a mirrored RAID Testdisk should be able to attempt to read the contents. I don't have much experience with RAID and I try and stay away form using it.



#11 Kilroy

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Posted 14 November 2016 - 12:46 PM

If you had two 500GB drives in RAID to have 1TB then you were using RAID0 and each drive only has half of the data.  You shouldn't be able to see files on either drive.  You can use Darik's Boot and Nuke to totally wipe the drives, just to be safe.






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