Can't access external HDD with an OS on it?

Discussion in 'Windows & Other OS Discussion & Support' started by kelston, Apr 23, 2011.

  1. kelston

    kelston Active Member

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    Finally got my Win7 machine up and stable thanks to the hardware help of these forums.

    I figured that the easiest way to access my old data was to just turn my old hard drives into external hard drives and pull data off of them so I picked up one of those Thermaltake BlacX devices. Pretty handy. Just plug in a bare drive. Little paranoid at first but pretty convenient otherwise.

    So i'm able to get it to work for all the drives I had except for the one hard drive with Vista installed on it. I shot an email over to Thermaltake and they told me it was a Windows 7 problem insisting that Windows 7 had issues recognizing external hard drives with operating systems installed on them.

    Now, I guess my Google-Fu is awful since i'm unable to find any information regarding this and posting on to Microsoft answers got a Microsoft tech telling me it's Thermaltake's problem. So any ideas here?

    I don't want to have to boot to Ubuntu every time I want to access data on my old drives with operating systems on them.
     
  2. nil4t

    nil4t New Member

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    what do you mean when you say it does not work? The drive does not show up?
    and are you saying that it works when do it in ubuntu?

    I also have a Blacx and I have not had this issue, although the few times I tried accessing an HDD with an OS on it, it had XP. I am also using windows 7 by the way.

    Dunno if it would make any difference, but are you using esata or usb?
     
  3. kelston

    kelston Active Member

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    That's what I mean. The drive doesn't show up.

    I plug it in to the BlacX and the light on it goes blue but in Win 7 it doesn't show up anywhere.

    If I plug in any other drive it works just fine. And yea, when I booted using an Ubuntu boot CD, I was able to get the drive with Vista to show up just fine.

    Using USB, don't have eSata on my board, only USB 3.0 but I bought the BlacX before they had the USB3 version available.
     
  4. Tipstaff

    Tipstaff Well-Known Member

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    When you say the drive doesn't show up, where is it not showing up? Explorer/Computer? Does it show up in Device Manager under Disk Drives? Is it showing up under Control Panel | Administrative Tools | Computer Management | Storage | Disk Management?

    If it is showing up in either Device Manager or Disk Management then the system, and Windows, is seeing the drive, but one possibility is that Windows isn't assigning the drive a letter, which is where you will need to open Disk Management to correct. If a drive shows up there, specifically the one you want, and it has no drive letter, you can right-click either the drive listing itself, or the individual partitions, and assign a drive letter to them. After that it should show up.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2011
  5. kelston

    kelston Active Member

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    When I say it isn't showing up, it isn't showing up anywhere. It doesn't show up in device manager in disk drives so I can't access it in the disk manager to initialize it.
     
  6. nil4t

    nil4t New Member

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    when it does work does it show up under hard disk drives or devices with removable storage?
     
  7. kelston

    kelston Active Member

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    Hard disk drives
     
  8. nil4t

    nil4t New Member

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    I have been checking the thermaltake forums and keep seeing

    "Windows 7 has a known issue that does not allow it to read an External Hard rive that has an operating system installed on the drive. You will need to pull the information off the Hard drive using a Windows XP or Vista machine. then reformat the drive in order for windows 7 to recognize the drive."

    but I swear to you I had no problem with this when I was copying files from a hard drive with XP installed on it. I was thinking maybe USB handles it differently than esata, but I don't really know.

    thinking about it some more and there should be no difference between hooking my HDD to a sata port or an esata port so it probably doesn't even recognize it as being external. That being the case you could get a esata to sata cable and have the cable come out an expansion panel and hook it up to your blacx. It should work and it will be faster than usb2.0.

    found this and its not much more expensive than a sata to esata cable.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...na&AID=10521304&PID=4176827&SID=1ascehuwi2e1u

    Turns out your motherboard needs to support hot swapping of sata devices for this method to work, so unless you want to reboot everytime you connect or disconnect the drive you should make sure it does.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2011
  9. Tipstaff

    Tipstaff Well-Known Member

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    @Nil4t: It shouldn't matter with USB. While this can be a problem with eSATA, with some motherboards needing the eSATA device to be power up BEFORE turning the system on (so it sees it as an internal drive) this should not matter with USB as the device is viewed as a Plug N Play device.

    @Kelston: Having said that, you do have 2 options.

    1) DO NOT boot the PC with the drive in the cradle. Make sure the cradle is turned off, then boot your PC. Once Windows is loaded (at your desktop) then plug the drive into the cradle, and power it on.

    2) I gather this is a PC, so you could always hook up the drive to an internal port like before, boot into Windows 7, open up Explorer, then select your drive, and delete all the loose root files on the drive, those being ones not in folders (or move the files into a backup folder.. say one called Old Root). You could also rename the Windows Vista OS folder to Windows.bak. BTW, make sure you can see all hidden files and folders before you do this (with Windows 7 you first need the menu which is off by default, so that is Organize | Layout | and check on Menu Bar, then select Tools | Folder Options | View tab | and uncheck "Hide extensions for known file types", and "Hide protected operating system files"). After that just shut the PC down, unplug the drive, boot into Windows again, and try the drive in the cradle again via the instructions in option 1 above.
     
  10. nil4t

    nil4t New Member

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    That is what I was saying when I said he needed to make sure his motherboard supported hot swapping for sata. Even if it should work right with USB I see no reason not to do it if his board supports it. He will be getting much better transfer speeds for 6 dollars.
     
  11. ada1984

    ada1984 New Member

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