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Booting old hard drive on new computer to recover data?

Basically my computer died (prob CPU/Motherboard) and my parents are getting me a new computer. Unfortunately, my Ext HD arrived one day to late from me to back up my stuff. My question is would I be able to boot from my old HD on my new (dell xps 7100 probably) and put all my stuff onto my external hd. (I do not intend to continually use my old HD). I probably cannot use Repair install as it was my cousin who installed windows and I don't have the CD and we have had a falling out.

Update:

I password protected my main account on the old xp install, would that affect me from recovering my data indirectly (via using my old hd as a 2nd hd)

Update 2:

I'm asking if its possible to boot from the old HD with the new PC, that means using the old OS etc. If not, thats when I want other advice.

10 Answers

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  • 10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Maybe. This all assumes that the hard drive is ok and it really is a problem with other hardware.

    It all depends on what types of hardware you have. If it is an older hard drive it will be an IDE or PATA connection and if it is a newer type it will be the SATA connection.

    The older IDE/PATA style used a big 4 pin power connector (usually white) and a wide (about 2 in.) flat 40 or 80 conductor ribbon cable with 40 pin connectors.

    The newer SATA style has a different style 4 or 5 wire power connector (usually black) and a thin (about 1/2 in) serial cable that only has 7 pins.

    For either style hard drive there may be about 4 screws securing the hard drive in the case. For temporary copying, you don't need to mount the old drive in the new case. Just be sure that none of the electronics touch anything and the hard drive doesn't touch anything. I often let them hang on the wires or use a thin booklet or tablet under them depending on case configuration.

    If you have the newer SATA connection on the old drive, then no problem. There should be an unused connector on the motherboard and an extra power plug. Worst case scenario here might be to unplug the DVD drive and temporarily plug in your old hard drive. If you really want to boot from it, then you could unplug the hard drive and plug in your old one.(see below)

    If the old drive is the older IDE/PATA then the new computer may not have a PATA connector and the power supply may not have the older style 4 pin power connector. If you don't have compatible connectors on the new computer, try and find a friend who does have a compatible computer to copy the data. Another option would be one of the kits that turn a hard drive into a portable hard drive using a USB connection though it might have some issues with the existing partition(s) and format of the partition(s).

    If you only passworded the account, then there will be no problem copying the data as a slave or secondary drive. In fact, I don't need to boot Windows or even need your password to read the entire contents of your hard drive. This is how easy it is to bypass account passwords if you have access to the machine. The only exception is if you enabled the encryption on any files or folders. If you enabled the encryption then you'll have to boot the drive and access your data through your account.

    If you are forced to boot the drive, then there are a number of driver issues that you may have problems with. None of the drivers installed on the old hard drive will be compatible with the new computer. This could force safe mode operation and might cause problems copying stuff. You may need the Windows disk to install even partially working drivers.

    If it is actually a hard drive problem, then the drive is done and it probably won't work in any computer. If this is actually the case, a new hard drive and OS install would fix the old computer.

    Shadow Wolf

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  • 10 years ago

    The question of whether you can boot from your old HD installed on your new computer depends on how many of the drivers on the old and new computers are compatible. If the drivers installed from the old computer on the old HD are compatible with the hardware on the new computer you might be able to boot it. You will probably have to go through a series of new hardware found and demands that you install the drivers for the new hardware on your new computer.

    You can undoubtedly use the old HD as a slave to the new HD and try to access the files in that way. You will have to navigate to the D: drive. The password on the old HD might also present a problem. You did not say which OS you were using but this link might help. Note the tip at the end of the article: Try to change the password to blank first.

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  • Anonymous
    6 years ago

    Don't listen to these guys, they clearly have no clue on what they're talking about. I am a developer at Microsoft so I know a thing or two about computers. The only way to reset your windows password 100% safe is to use a software called Reset Password Pro.

    The software allows you to create a boot-disk, that can be made on a CD/DVD or USB stick. The boot-disk can then be inserted into any locked machine, and it's a simple case of pressing reset. Here is their official site: http://www.resetwindowspass.com

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  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    Hook the old hd up on the connector in the middle of the cable that the new drive is on. Set the old drive as slave with the jumper on the back first, then fire the computer up.

    Should be able to see it by clicking computer on the desktop.

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  • 4 years ago

    I remember this one time I could not access some files so I tried to use a ghosting program to move them and it let me access the files. You could try that or the old hard drive in the freezer trick (though it only works for problems with the moving parts and not the disk it could be a motor problem). Well anyways these are the 2 things I have done to fix a hard drive and they might work for you and they wont hurt the hard drive.

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  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Card Recovery in 3 Steps!

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  • 10 years ago

    As long as the hard drive isn't dead, it will work. When you go to c:\documents and settings\your account, windows 7 will complain about permissions but you can click "continue" and it will allow you to access all your old files.

    Source(s): IT manager, Luker Technologies
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  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    You can place your old hard drive in your new computer, But youl have place it as a slave. That way you can access it through your new windows Vista or 7 enviroment.

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  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    it's possible yes

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  • 4 years ago

    Maybe so

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