I simply moved the SATA primary hard drive from a Windows PC to another computer so I could move the files. The drive would no longer boot up.

For more than 5 hours today I have followed every thread that might solve this problem; none have been successful. I have checked every permission for every use and made sure all are in the same group - no success. At least on a Mac, if you change the primary drive accessing the files is simple - just click on the drive. Unix, Linux, BSD (Mac) and Novell were all significantly easier.

  • Please post any errors, or messages you get when attempting to access the files – Moab Sep 11 '11 at 23:32
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    I think you answered your own question there. The drive isn't accessible for the same reason it doesn't boot anymore--it's broken or corrupt in some way. You can always try SpinRite. – NReilingh Sep 11 '11 at 23:45
  • What is the problem specifically -- are you able to see the files (when booting with another OS such as a Linux CD or another hard drive), but your problem is only that you're unable to boot the OS from the problematic hard drive? Or are the files also inaccessible? – Mike Rowave Sep 12 '11 at 1:05
  • Never fear, TestDisk is here! – Breakthrough Sep 12 '11 at 1:33

I'd start by wondering if the drive was cleanly dismounted, assuming it was a *nix system you're connecting the drive to - most *nix systems don't tend to mount unclean NTFS drives without a -f directive to force it to ignore the dirty bit.

Assuming, it is some deeper form of mess-uppery... you can check the drive's physical status with smartmontools or gsmartctl. If its data, dd-rescue to image, and file recovery or forensics software on the image to try to salvage.


I assumed you've at least tried to repair it using the Windows Setup DVD? If you have, then then usually you are SOL.

At least try a Linux Live CD.

Without an error message, this is like trying to aim in the dark. Does BIOS recognize it? Is it recognized on your old computer? Is it recognized when you plug it into an external interface? How about when you plug it into your Mac or Linux computers?


Are there any other hard drives in the computer you're trying to boot from, or is this particular SATA drive the only one?

If it's the only hard drive (or it's the primary drive from which the BIOS is set to boot from), it's probably because Windows often has a problem when booting from a SATA drive on a different motherboard (in particular, a different SATA controller). To access your files, you should boot with the Operating system of another hard drive, or boot from a CD or USB drive that has a Live Linux distribution such as Fedora, Ubuntu or Parted Magic, or a Windows rescue CD such as UBCD4Win.

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