Please help me figure out whether or not to format an unformatted hard drive that still has data I need on it.
Posting this for my brother, though I'm the one actually doing the work. His computer died after someone from [cable company] tried to hook up a DSL line to it. Windows wouldn't start at all.
I took it back to my place and reinstalled Windows XP. Everything seemed to be fine, and I even copied his Word files, mostly comedy material from his radio show
, from the old "My Documents" folder to the new one. Everything ok, right?
Wrong. When I took it back to his place, on bootup I got "Insert system disk and press Enter to restart". No Windows detected. When I booted from the Windows install disk, it read the hard drive as unformatted and wanted to format it.
I've tried booting with both Ubuntu and Knoppix live CDs, and neither will go past the introductory parts. I also tried several boot disk utilities, and none of them will give me anything but a DOS prompt on R:/, created in the RAM. I cannot change to any other drive.
The problem is the Word files. He needs them. I would just go ahead and reformat the C:/ drive and reinstall XP, but I need to know if there are any other options. Should I just reformat and worry about data recovery later? If you listen carefully, you can hear the sound of me kicking myself for not backing the files up when I had the chance.
Complicating the issue is that this is a super-small Acer TravelMate C100 with a super-small IBM Travelstar hard drive, model IC25N030ATCS04. It doesn't fit in any other computer I own, so I can't just pop it in somewhere and test it out.
Thanks a bunch MeFi - I've already wasted a weekend on this, and it's really getting to me!