Author Topic: Old computer hard drives data.  (Read 2685 times)

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Offline Frank [aka Wires]

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Old computer hard drives data.
« on: December 12, 2015, 04:07:08 PM »
Hi all

Hoping some computer 'whiz' in the forum can offer some advise and guidance please :)

Old computer, DELL XPS 630i, Win. Vista OS, 32bit, 4GB ram, 2 x 500GB SATA 3.0 7200RPM HITACHI 'Deskstar' hard drives etc....

Continually having issues at boot up which requires going in to the BIOS to set up the RAID configuration. Also makes a 'continual' high pitched 'beep' noise when switched on before getting to any screen dialogue. This has become very 'annoying' to say the least.

As always, there is data/info I would like to try to retrieve from the drives and have removed them to put each one in to a caddy (one at a time), with power supply, to connect to a USB port on another computer. The computer will show the drive and give it the letter F:/ but on selecting it I get the message 'the drive needs to be formatted to be able to use it. Do you want to format?' - which I don't :)

When selecting 'cancel' on the message I then get another message which states: 'F:/ is not accessible. The volume does not contain a recognised file system. Please make sure that all required file system drivers are loaded and that the volume is not corrupt'

I would be grateful if some of you here could advise how to get to be able to access the data on these drives. Once I've been able to do so I can then consider doing the 'format' of them and gain 2 external storage drives.
Frank (aka Wires)
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Offline AScot

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Re: Old computer hard drives data.
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2015, 08:33:01 PM »
Can you get into the Windows Vista system? or does it not boot up at all and you are just trying to save the Data from the drives?

Are the two drives in raid configuration? if so they are basically duplicates or close to it.  what type of RAID array do you have? Is it raid 0, 1 or software implemented? The raid system format (sometimes proprietary) may not be compatible with the standard formats like NTFS Fat32 or simply fat or cdfs Etc for usb. That may explain why you cannot access them from a USB port and it is unlikely that a standard Windows machine can do so. I have heard that a Linux machine, Ubuntu? can read some raid drives. Your best bet is to find out exactly what type of RAID array you have, how it is formatted and do a Google with the information. I have never used a raid so my help is limited.

The 'continual' high pitched 'beep' noise is ominous to say the least.
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Offline Frank [aka Wires]

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Re: Old computer hard drives data.
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2015, 09:33:28 PM »
Thanks for your input Charles (Ascot).

The RAID configuration is supposed to be 0 - however, before this 'problem' with booting the old PC up, when accessing via the 'This PC' icon to see the drives etc., only one of the hard drives showed populated with info - the other had lots of free space. I don't understand RAID myself either but always expected it to be one drive mirrored the other - in which case they should be showing the same :?

Answers to your questions raised.
I can't access the Vista system for a long enough period to gain the access I need. At boot up the machine will show a message about 'floppy drive boot' not available... or something like that - and the screen goes black and the 'beep' starts. I then have to re-boot and enter the BIOS to set the boot type and RAID configuration. It will then boot up 'sometimes' but, like I said, not for long enough. If I access the mail program it sorted of crashes... not good.

I removed these two 500GB drives and tried each in an external caddy. plugged in the mains cable to power the caddy and connected via USB to a Win. 10, i7 32GB laptop and switched the caddy on. The laptop will 'find' the drive and list it (via the 'This PC' icon window) as drive F:/ but when trying to open it I get the messages I mention in the first posting.

I wasn't sure if there is a setting in 'device management' or similar but I've not had any success yet in finding it. It would be nice to be able to go through the drives and find stuff that I have forgotten about or have used and don't want to loose. It's now about 6 - 7 years old. Ho hum!

With the 'beep' and also the black screen on an initial boot I did wonder if it was possibly something to do with the 'heat sink' for the processor... I've also wondered if the on board battery was not holding charge which was/is causing the machine to not hold the boot up info in the BIOS and hence why I get the message about a floppy drive?
Frank (aka Wires)
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Offline chappo1

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Re: Old computer hard drives data.
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2015, 10:57:54 PM »
Way too technical for me to comment at all Frank and Charles but the comments are interesting in that it is adding to my knowledge and I do have a question.....
Why would you opt for a RAID set-up over a simple copy of the folders on another external drive?  john
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Offline AScot

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Re: Old computer hard drives data.
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2015, 04:05:33 AM »
Frank, The reason the system makes that noise is possibly the CPU has dried up after seven years. You could get some thermal paste, remove the CPU from the heat sink and spread the paste sparingly on the sink. You have to twist the CPU on top of the heat sink to spread it thin and evenly. I have had computers that would not boot due to lack of paste. Usually because I forgot to put paste onto the CPU.

The battery could be the problem. It is often a coin like battery, a 2030 or something. It's similar to the battery in our cameras and I don't mean the info-lithium ones. They usually last up to 8 or 10 years.

John, As far as having a raid system, they seemed like a good idea for some years but often proved finicky to install and not worth the bother. It really was a good idea for the drive makers only, but prices came down and USB speeds increased. Much better with two hard drives and run one from a USB 2 or the faster USB 3 ports. You should back up your Data + make a mirror copy of the Operating System to reinstall it after it crashes! I never bother as I usually build or purchase a new one as the old one gets to about 5 or so years. I do back up my Data, way too many photos to lose.  :)
« Last Edit: December 13, 2015, 04:08:34 AM by AScot »
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Offline Frank [aka Wires]

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Re: Old computer hard drives data.
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2015, 12:43:25 PM »
Many thanks Charles (Ascot) for giving some confirmation/conviction to the way I was thinking the problem lay - much appreciated :)

I have some thermal paste left from the overheating issue I had with a laptop (solved with the paste) so gave it a go with this desktop. The original paste was very dry so cleaned it up and used the Artic MX-4 paste. I also replaced the 2032 battery on the mother board - the old one showed as requiring replacement checking on the battery tester I have. I had invertantly removed another part a bit earlier that has a small fan on it but reconnected it with some of the paste also - the existing bit was a bit dry.

John (chappo1)... not really sure why I went for a desktop with RAID when I got it. As Charles has said, above, it was something being hailed as a good thing and could be the speck of the machine at the time seemed worth giving it a go.

Well, the 'maintenance' took in all about 10 minutes, on boot up no beeping - good sign - came up with the 'floppy boot' but then gave commands to proceed and then got to the 'the computer did not close properly etc., select safe mode etc., etc., options'. Now to decide what to 'remove' and back up elsewhere but it's looking good :)
Frank (aka Wires)
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Offline Faldrax

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Re: Old computer hard drives data.
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2015, 05:48:24 PM »
Good news that you've got it to boot - I would get the data copied off onto a backup drive ASAP, as it's not clear how long it will last!
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Offline Frank [aka Wires]

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Re: Old computer hard drives data.
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2015, 05:57:18 PM »
Thanks Faldrax :) It's a relief to have the annoying problem fixed for now. It's a bit slow and having an issue with getting OS updates - which are still available (?) for Vista. Other than that it 'seems' to be behaving - for now 8)
Frank (aka Wires)
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Offline AScot

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Re: Old computer hard drives data.
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2015, 06:33:42 PM »
Glad to hear your having some success. :)
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