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How do I access a crashed hard drive?

Question:
Ican't access my crashed hard drive. I have two hard drives on my computer, a (C:) and a (D:). There are no partitions on either. I run Windows XP on drive (C:). The problem is Windows will no longer recognize the (D:) drive. Is there any way I can recover the data?

I am downloading Pareto Anti-Virus software now, but not sure if that is even the problem here. I have pictures and some video on that drive and desperately need to recover them. I just want to transfer them to the other drive or put them on cd's but I can't see the data on the drive. How can I recover data from a crashed drive?

Answer
First thing is to remove the computer case and make sure the drive cables are firmly attached. Sometimes they can become loose. Start your computer while the cover is off and listen to the drive. If it spins and then slows down and speeds up immediately, this is a sign of a problem with the disk itself. If it doesn't spin at all, then either the drive is corrupted or there is a problem with the power connection. Make sure the power input connection to the disk is tight. Try using a different power connector if you have one and see if the drive starts. Sometimes hard disks will not spin up if there isn't sufficient power at startup. This can happen especially with older computers. If other peripherals are having similar problems, then it could be your main power supply. Try using another power supply and see if that does it.

If you have another computer that you can attach the drive in, it is a good idea to connect it to the other PC and see if it will be detected there. This way you can tell if it the drive or the computer's drive controller. Depending on what type of connection, SCSI, ATA, etc., this may also be the case.

If not, go to your hard drive manufacturer's website and make sure the hard drive is set up correctly in your BIOS. You should also check to see if you have the latest firmware for the device. Try using Driver Detective to check for missing firmware.

BIOS provides the basic functions needed to boot your machine to allow your operating system to access your hardware. Your system provides a BIOS set-up menu, which is used to configure the BIOS. Before installing any hard drives youmust ensure that your BIOS is setup correctly. Two of the most common hard drive problems stem from either problems with configuration (how the drives are set up) or problems with the drive itself. Try typing "dir" (don't type the quotes) at the DOS prompt to see if you can read the drive directory. If you can't read the drives directory from DOS, either it is not correctly set up in the BIOS or your directory has been damaged.

Another thing could be a virus corrupted the drive. Use a virus checker like Pareto Anti-Virus to make sure you don't have a virus. The bad news is a virus could have formatted your drive. If Pareto Anti-Virus can't save your damaged drive, I know of no other way to save it. I also suggest from now on you establish a back up routine to copy any file that is important. I use DVD-R or CD's to back up and keep an archive of old files. You should do this anyways to keep your drives clutter free and running faster.