Question Connecting old IDE hard drive via IDE cable to PC (Windows 10)

Oct 22, 2019
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I had an old PC that's probably 14 years old that has 2 IDE hard drives (Western Digital) - the PC has not been working for a while, and I thought I had lost it. I recently found it when cleaning up, and removed the 2 hard drives. I also have a USB to SATA/IDE cable (this has a separate power cable connecting via power adapter, so the hard drive is not powered by USB), so thought of connecting them to extract old pictures and any data I had stored in them. I connected the cable to the 3.5" hard drive that connects to USB, and the power adapter to the pins. Once I kind of hear the hard drive start spinning upon connecting power, I connect the USB to my now Windows 10 PC. However, I don't really see the hard drive(s). I have tried putting the jumper on the pins separately as Master, Slave and Cable Select - without success.
This is the USB to IDE cable I have: https://www.amazon.com/AGPtek-Drive-Adapter-Converter-External/dp/B00BIE996S/

I see the USB to IDE cable bridge show up in the USB connections(right hand bottom corner tray), but not the hard drive : View: https://i.imgur.com/XaT9ELp.jpg?1


When I open Disk Management, it immediately pops up with : View: https://i.imgur.com/WOhWiRW.jpg?1

I read on microsoft website that if I click Initialize Disk, that will wipe out the hard drive, which is not what I want. So if I click Cancel, the pop up goes, but if I right click on it, it shows the drive is not ready and it's Offline.: View: https://i.imgur.com/DMmwtcS.jpg?1


This is the same for both the hard drives, no change. Do you think the hard drives can be used, just to retrieve any old pictures of my kids that I had stored so many years ago?
Thank you!
 

Grobe

Distinguished
How long since last time that old computer was powered on?

Be aware that over time, harddrives will degrade and loose data. How long I don't know - but that is why you want to backup your data.

Is this a problem to both the old disks?

What system had you installed in the old computer? If it happens to be Linux, it give sense because Linux normally use different file systems than Windows, and thus Windows cannot read the contents.
 
Oct 22, 2019
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How long since last time that old computer was powered on?

Is this a problem to both the old disks?

What system had you installed in the old computer? If it happens to be Linux, it give sense because Linux normally use different file systems than Windows, and thus Windows cannot read the contents.
I thought I lost it 13 years ago, but just found it few weeks back.
Yes, same issue with both disks - one was primary with OS, the other was a secondary hard drive. I think old system was Windows XP Home.
 
Keep in mind that signals get degraded by cable length,the adapter alone should be ok but if you plug it in the front USB that front USB has another 10-20cm of cable which makes connections iffy,try it on the usb ports that are directly on the motherboard(back of the PC) .
The best option of course would be to get an internal PCI ide controller and connect the old drives to that.
Data on HDD does indeed degrade but we are talking centuries there.


Also you can initialize the disks and the scan them with partition recovery software to restore the old partitions.
Testdisk is great for this although it has a dos based UI.
 

InvalidError

Titan
Moderator
Two or three years ago I dusted off a PC I hadn't used in a very long time (~10 years) with a 2GB Seagate drive in it. When I turned the PC on, I could hear a faint ticking noise coming from the HDD but no humming from the spindle. I used a screwdriver to gently tap the HDD's side and eventually started hearing the bearings scraping along and the spindle picking up speed. After two or three minutes, spindle noise sounded pretty much the way I remembered it and the PC booted fine.
 
Oct 22, 2019
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NEVER "initialise" a drive that you wish to recover data from. Doing so will trash the partition table in sector 0.

What are the model numbers of the drives? Do they still work in the old PCs?
My apologies for the delayed reply - was out of town. So I clicked on OK for 1 of the drives when it asked me to Initialize, and it still doesn't show up. The other one I clicked Cancel, so it's not initialized.
The mode of the hard drives: WD800AB - 00CBA1, and WD1200JB - 00DUA3
 
Oct 22, 2019
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Unless there is life changing data on these drives...just let them go.
Yeah, my kids pictures. at that time i didn't back them up, so my bad. but want to see if I can recover from these IDE drives. I hear conflicting replies to Initialize and not to Initialize the drives. so i'm still stuck! Not sure how to proceed. EaseUS needs to see the drive to recover, and my problem is the drive doesn't appear.
 

Ketchup79

Notable
Aug 7, 2019
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So, one thing I am wondering is if the data is actually gone, or if Windows 10 just hates that drive, or the converter you are using just hates that drive.

Not sure what kind of computer you had, but the "vintage" computer market is turning into a "thing" so even if spending $100 for something in the link below doesn't do the trick, at the very least you can resell and get your money back:

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2334524.m570.l1313.TR11.TRC1.A0.H0.Xcompaq.TRS0&_nkw=compaq&_sacat=162075&LH_TitleDesc=0&_osacat=162075&_odkw=ide
 

Grobe

Distinguished
If I where you - I would (just to have a fallback in case of a unsuccessfully recovery attempt) make a disk image of the whole disk.

For that, you need the following
  • New harddrive (e.g. an external usb3) that is larger than the disk you have.
  • An apropriate tool for taking disk image backup. Clonezilla is one good tool for the job.
 

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