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I have connected a laptop HDD to my desktop via a USB cradle.

I can navigate all the directories and read all the files except in the User folder, which is where all the files I need to access are stored.

How can I access these files and folders?

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Which Operating System? –  music2myear Oct 18 '11 at 21:13
    
The context of all this leads me to infer this is likely a Windows user permission issue. Maybe you're not in as an admin? –  Doc Oct 18 '11 at 21:15
    
@Doc, even an admin would not be able to access files in the user directories of a slaved drive if the file permissions were set to exclude access to those files. It is probably a permissions issue, but even an admin would probably need to "take ownership" of the files to get at them. –  music2myear Oct 18 '11 at 21:18
    
the hardrive is just dying I think, it is no longer seeing it when I plug it in. It is windows 7. –  Anders Oct 18 '11 at 21:40
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up vote 1 down vote accepted

You need to take ownership of the files, probably.

In XP right click on the user profile directory and select properties. Go to the security tab and click the Advanced button. In the Owner tab, select your username and check the box Replace owner on subcontainers and objects. Press OK. Press OK again. Let the system process the files and then go ahead and move into the directories.

You may need to be in safe mode to access this, or if you are using a Home edition of the OS you may not be able to do it at all.

If you're in Windows 7, the process should be essentially the same, but I don't have my Win7 box in front of me and so cannot tell if any of the dialogs look different.

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The drive is just pooched, but thanks for the tip that was somewhat the issue at first, until it completely up and died. –  Anders Oct 18 '11 at 22:14
    
Put the drive inside two layers of ziplock with as little air as possible and place it inside the freezer for a day or so. You may be able to get an hour or so of work out of it before it dies again. –  music2myear Oct 18 '11 at 22:39
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