I had a laptop that one day stopped booting. I took the hard disk (WD, SATA, 320GB) out and tried it in a USB caddy and tried to connect it to my desktop PC. It behaves erratically, constantly disconnecting and reconnecting. Sometimes Windows tells me that I need to format, sometimes not, sometimes it will install a device driver (sometimes successfully, sometimes unsuccessfully). Unfortunately it won't stay connected long enough to do anything with it using the Disk Management, EASEUS or other programs. There is a 100 mb partition called SYSTEMRESERVED. Trying to run chkdsk /r on either partition returns the error message "The type of the filesystem is RAW. CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives."
I decided to give SpinRite a go, and made a bootable USB thumb drive. Connected up the hard drive via USB and restarted the computer. Went in to boot menu and it gives me the option of booting from the non-functional hard drive (didn't work, tried it), the functional hard drive or the USB thumb drive. I selected that and Spinrite starts up, all good.
Unfortunately when I tell it to do either data recovery or deep maintenance, it only lists my main hard disk, not the one that I need to run it on. Since it is detected by the BIOS/boot menu, is there any reason why it doesn't detect it? I've tried using other USB thumb drives to test but it doesn't detect those either (nor the USB drive that I'm booting from, though I didn't expect it to do that).
Alternatively, does anyone else have any suggestions on how to recover data if Windows won't detect the drive for longer than 2 seconds?