I have a really old Windows XP computer with data still intact in its two hard disk drives. Due to stability issues with the motherboard hardware, this computer hasn't been able to boot up stably, but its data is safe and intact.

I have decided to throw away all the hardware as e-waste, except the hard disk drives, which I have kept in electrostatic protective bags. I am planning to retrieve the data from there using a HDD docking station such as this one but need some advice before proceeding.

Currently, my new computer is running Ubuntu 16.04. My understanding is just by attaching the old hard disks to the HDD dock, and plugging in that dock into my new Ubuntu computer, I will be able to access all data in the old hard disks as if they were external USB storage devices.

  • If my Windows XP machine had a login password, would this prevent me from accessing the data?
  • How would my Ubuntu OS work to perform the mounting of the hard disks onto its file system? Do I need to perform additional steps or run some software that can allow me to access the data?
  • Would there be any incompability issues arising from the hard disks being Windows OS, but my computer being Linux?

Thank you.


If the windows machine had a login password it will not affect your ability to read the data. If the data is encrypted, you will need a password but i highly doubt this is the case. In any case password security on XP is so bad you can literally replace the password file with one of your choosing.

Should be completely plug and play. Exactly the same as a USB drive. XP used FAT or NTFS file formats both of which Ubuntu can read.

Not really, no. Although anything specifically meant for Windows like programs and stuff will obviously not work within a Linux environment.

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  • Thank you! That's really great that I can access my data! – AKKA Jan 27 '18 at 10:53

It should just work. Depending on your system configuration you might have to mount it manually. A system password is not an encryption. The data is going to be readable. There should be no incompatibility assuming there is a driver for your dock (which is likely I guess).

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  • Thank you! That's really great that I can access the data directly! – AKKA Jan 27 '18 at 10:53

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