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Question Help accessing old hard drives

Nov 2, 2019
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Hello everyone. I hope you are all well. Over the years, every time I got rid of an old laptop of desktop, I removed and kept the hard drive. I am quite certain that there are photos of my children on them that I want to retrieve. Without buying a hard drive specific case for each one of them, is there a universal case that I can buy that would allow me to access the contents of all of them? They are all from Windows machines, some as old as 25 years. And, if so, will I be able to access the contents much in the same way as I do an external hard drive, or can I expect countless hours of issues (I am not well versed, but get by), accessing issues based indifferent Windows versions, passwords I don't remember, etc.? TIA. Happy 4th
 
Nov 2, 2019
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Thank you. None of them are SATA, they are all old. But once I have the case, what about the process? Will I need to know passwords or have Windows comparability issues? Or can I just access the drive through Explorer and click on folders or files?
 

USAFRet

Titan
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Mar 16, 2013
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Thank you. None of them are SATA, they are all old. But once I have the case, what about the process? Will I need to know passwords or have Windows comparability issues? Or can I just access the drive through Explorer and click on folders or files?
Just through File Explorer. You're not booting from these drives.
You won't need the Windows password.
Depending on the particular OS on it, and where the files actually are, you may need to Take Ownership.

 
Reactions: KimiB333
Nov 2, 2019
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Also, what does this mean (Please format the disk accordingly to your operating system) - taken from Amazon description:
  • Operating System: Compatible with Windows XP / Vista / 7/8 / 8.1 / 10 (32/64 Bit), Mac OS 10.10 or later. Please format the disk according to your operating system (Linux and Mac OS are compatible with FAT32 and exFAT, Windows is compatible with FAT32, exFAT and NTFS).
And while I have heard the terms FAT32, etc., I don't know what they mean or how it applies to my situate.

Thank you
 
Nov 2, 2019
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Don't format anything!
Plug it in and see if it appears in File Explorer.
Thank you so much for your replies. Over the , yes, decades, I have learned that what appears to be easy, usually isn't. But this seems doable. I was hoping I could bypass the OS and just access the files. All I really want is photos. Thank you so much! Happy 4th!
 

popatim

Titan
Moderator
. I was hoping I could bypass the OS and just access the files. All I really want is photos. Thank you so much! Happy 4th!
That's exactly what you will be doing, if the drives are still readable.
You will use your PC & OS to open the the files on the old drives. The location of the Photos will vary, the default location changes with the Windows version used with the old drive.
.
 
Reactions: KimiB333
Nov 2, 2019
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Hello again. So I owe you a big thank you! I bought the dock that you suggested and I was able to access the files on two old hard drives! They have haunted me for years, so I am so relieved. I have two others though, I believe they are older, in which the pins are closer set than the dock has. I wanted to attach a photo but I only see a way to attach a link, not a file/photo. Also, I have a memory card. How can I access the data on that?
 
Nov 2, 2019
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For a photo, upload your pic to imgur.com and post the BBCode link here.

For the drives in question, the make/model number might suffice.
You are quick! I registered at Imgur. The photos I wanted to share were grayed out (on my MAC), not sure why. So I dragged them. They seemed to load but now I can't find them.
 
Nov 2, 2019
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I must have done something wrong because nothing is there. Will go get the HDs and post the models. I put them away and the box is high and heavy - was being lazy.
 
Nov 2, 2019
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I wish I could show you a picture. The left side of the HD has too much space so it doesn't line up on the Conner. The Maxtor has an extra pin section in the middle. I still tried but it didn't lock in.
 

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