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Just received a help call from my parents who are having problems with a machine at home running WHS. Basically there are some hardware problems with the machine, and the only thing that my parents know how to do is to buy a IDE-USB converter and attach the hard disk to another machine.

The problem is that they can see the files, but cannot copy and paste them, with an error message saying files are inaccessible. In the WHS, files are chosen to have a duplicate copy on another disk, however they said that when attaching the other disk to the machine via USB, the Windows 7 machine does not recognize the HDD and ask if the user wants to format the disk.

I can't be physically present as I'm thousands of miles away, and my parents are only capable of following simple instructions. Is there any easy way to solve the problem?

Or if I could install simple tools to extract the data, that would be great too as I can use Joel's CoPilot to control the machine.


UPDATE1: It's been confirmed to be a permission issue. I could access the shared folders (non-password protected) without any problems. The take ownership trick didn't work though. I could view the file names etc., but can't open or copy any file.

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thinking of it, the reason is probably because the files are protected by user account and password in the WHS, which my parents know and have access to. In that regard, what steps should be taken to gain control over the files? – segfault Jan 19 '10 at 12:07
up vote 2 down vote accepted

For future reference:

The problem is probably that the shares folder only contains the thombstones for the files. the actual files are in the hidden DE folder.

Using Folder Options in windows 7 you can access the DE folder and copy your files from there

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This looks like the right answer. If you try to open the tombstone, you get an error that makes it look like a permissions issue. See… – Jay Bazuzi Jul 10 '11 at 17:42

if you suspect a hardware failure, i suggest to boot the machine a Linux Live CD (such as Knoppix). since Linux doesn't give a hoot about Windows permissions, it is rather easy to salvage the data before diagnosing and fixing hardware problems.

and just out of curiosity: is this a HP Home Server? the reason i'm asking, on certain HP Home Servers, Volume Shadow Copy is disabled, so if a backup software depends on this service, it doesn't work.

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unfortunately they don't know how to boot from CD. – segfault Jan 19 '10 at 12:50
you might have to arrange for someone to call out to your parents then ... data recovery is no arcane science, but some basic knowledge helps a great deal. – Molly7244 Jan 19 '10 at 12:56

My guess, and before I read your comment was that this would be a permission issue.

Your best bet is to read the How-To Geek Article that adds a shortcut to Take Ownership.

I am very confused as to why the backup disk does not allow you to access it - could it be that this is the failure?

If it was something to do with Raid (software or hardware), that could be the cause, but I am surprised you can access the first disk if this was the case.

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there is no raid. I just used the function in WHS to duplicate the user data folder on another disk. – segfault Jan 19 '10 at 12:20

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