I have been having issues with my hard drive (the computer would not boot to the operating system) which I suspect is due to mechanical damage to the boot sector. I tried re-seating the hard drive without success, and I have managed to deduce that everything else in the computer appears to have survived undamaged, as far as I can tell so far.

The hard drive tried to repair itself unsuccessfully a number of times so I removed it and used a (slightly dodgy, old) USB to SATA interface to connect it to another computer.I have been able to open the hard drive and view the folders (though at times it doesn't show up in the drives section or I get various messages such as "the last USB device you connected malfunctioned and Windows does not recognise it" or "the device is not ready"). I want to try and recover the documents from my user file.

However, when I try to open the file I find that I cannot. It says that I do not currently have permission to open the folder. I click continue to open as administrator, and it prompts me to look in the security tab. It says in the security tab that I must have read permissions to view the properties of this object. I click advanced, use the administrator prompt, and am faced with a security permissions page. I don't want to mess with anything here as I am not overly familiar with this area.

I am assuming that my inability to access the user files is either down to these permissions being set wrong or as a result of a security precaution to stop computer thieves from being able to access personal information on hard drives.

The hard drive has a one terabyte storage capacity and the computer it was in was an Acer Aspire e5-571 with an i7 processor that was originally running Windows 8 but which I upgraded to Windows 10 for free a while back. It is just over a year old.

I would appreciate it if anybody could tell me how to recover the data.

If it makes a difference, I have a backup from a little while back of the entire C drive on an external hard drive. If I take that out of the casing and plug it into the broken laptop as an internal hard drive, will I be able to boot my laptop up with that? Will it have Windows 10 on it? And if it does, can I open the old hard drive on it using the SATA-USB interface and will that solve the permissions issue?

Many thanks.

  • The permissions issue can very likely be solved by taking ownership of the files. – Gogowitsch Sep 17 '16 at 18:16
  • «a security precaution to stop computer thieves from being able to access personal information on hard drives» This is not correct, since any person could load software that bypasses such protection when the drive is connected externally like in your setup. – Andrea Lazzarotto Sep 18 '16 at 21:19
  • If you want to just make a copy of your files, I would recommend to just use a live Linux distro as discussed here: superuser.com/a/1081492/278831 – Andrea Lazzarotto Sep 18 '16 at 21:20

In Security properties tab of main folder or \users or subfolder

  • Click the Advanced button. The "Advanced Security Settings" window will appear.
    • Here you need to change the Owner of the key.
    • Click the Change link next to the "Owner:" label
    • check box for all subfolder > enter
    • go make some tea

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