Hoping to make my hdd time travel forward
January 9, 2013 6:55 AM   Subscribe

I moved an SSD to a new system. Now I can't access files on the old hdd that were created during the time the SSD was a part of that old system. Can they be brought back to life?

I got a new pc a couple of days ago. I took the SSD off the old system and put it on the new one. Win7 and all the progs were reinstalled on that SSD.

I had used the SSD with the old hdd for about a year. The old hdd works fine but it also had win7 installed (since I first bought that pc) and when I boot this old system up on that hdd, I'm finding everything the way the pc was a year ago, prior to installing the SSD : in other words, I've lost a LOT of stuff in this transition these last couple of days.

Nothing really happened to that old hdd during this change, so I'm wondering if I - being possessed of only modest tech knowledge - can make the old hdd spit out recent files created in the last year and if so, how would I go about doing that?? Thanks.
posted by peacay to Computers & Internet (15 answers total)
Just to clarify:
You installed the SSD on the old system and were running Windows on there. Then you removed it from that PC and put it into a new one. Did you wipe/format the SSD when you reinstalled Windows on it in the new PC? And the files that were created on the old system, are you absolutely sure you saved them on the old HDD and not on the SSD? As in, when saving the files you created, you purposely put them on another drive (not the main C: drive which was the SSD)?
posted by Grither at 7:00 AM on January 9, 2013

To make sure I understand:

Computer A had an SSD for a period of time. (Was it the primary, C drive, a D drive, or something else? Was it used just for data storage, or were applications installed on it? Was there a second hard drive on this system while the SSD was attached?)

Then Computer B was purchased and the SSD was taken out of Computer A and put into Computer B, Windows 7 was installed on the SSD. Was the SSD formatted before the install, or was it a side-by-side Windows 7 install and then reinstall of the applications?

You put the old hard drive back in Computer A. Where was this hard drive for the period while you had the SSD in Computer A?

A bit of clarification and we should be able to figure out what is going on.
posted by arniec at 7:05 AM on January 9, 2013

Response by poster: I got a system 3 years ago with win 7.

I got an ssd a year ago and the same win 7 was installed on it.

The ssd has been moved and reformatted.

The old hdd boots from its original win7 install and what I see is what the hdd was like >1 yr ago
posted by peacay at 7:06 AM on January 9, 2013

Response by poster: Oh, to be clear, the ssd only held os and progs (and bits n bobs on desktop). All files were stored on the hdd.
posted by peacay at 7:07 AM on January 9, 2013

If I'm understanding you correctly, if in Computer A Windows 7 was on the hard drive then anything put on the hard drive, all programs etc. were stored on that SSD. The other hard drive would not have been updated as new programs were installed, etc.

As such, when you formatted the SSD, all work done in that year was likely lost.
posted by arniec at 7:17 AM on January 9, 2013

Best answer: So you had Old_Computer with the old HDD in, and then a year ago you added an SSD into Old_Computer, so that the SSD was the primary drive (C:) with Windows installed, and HDD was an extra drive with the old Windows install still there. Then you used the extra drive (the HDD) to store extra files.

And then recently you got New_Computer, took out the SSD from Old_Computer and put it in New_Computer, and wiped it and reinstalled Windows.

Then you booted up Old_Computer now using the old HDD with the old Windows install still on it as the primary drive, but were confused because the extra files you had added in the last year were gone, and the HDD looked like it did 1 year ago.

Is the above correct?

Possibly, all the files you thought were on the old HDD on Old_Computer, were actually on the 1-year-old SSD which you wiped and reinstalled Windows on, and put in New_Computer. This could have happened if you had partitioned the SSD into two drives, and thought you were putting files on the HDD, but were actually putting them on one of the SSD's partitions. That partition could then have been wiped when you moved the SSD to New_Computer.

That would explain why the HDD looks like it did 1 year ago, because it hasn't been altered since you orignally installed the SSD on Old_Computer.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:19 AM on January 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: EndsOfInvention you state the history precisely.

However, the SSD was only 125gb and had 75gb free (or thereabouts). I had what must have been 200+gb of movies alone, for instance, that are now not there. They came into existence in the last year and could not have been put on the SSD.
posted by peacay at 7:27 AM on January 9, 2013

Best answer: Windows might not be able to see the additional files.

Take this hard drive and put it in an external enclosure or one of these things and see if you can find the files on a different computer. If you can, then it's just windows being weird. You best bet from there would be to back up all your files to another hard drive, then wipe and reinstall windows on the old drive.
posted by royalsong at 7:37 AM on January 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Does the HDD have multiple partitions, one of which is possibly not mounted currently?
posted by jferg at 7:38 AM on January 9, 2013

When you first started up Old_Computer after removing the SSD, did it boot Windows normally? Were there any error messages, or anything about System Restore or disc errors?

Also, I second getting an enclosure that lets you plug the old HDD into New_Computer as an external drive.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:40 AM on January 9, 2013

Could there be another partition on the old HDD? that would /could explain how they went missing. try running diskmgmt.msc
posted by Gungho at 7:45 AM on January 9, 2013

Response by poster: It's way late here so I'm not going to be doing too much til tomorrow. I do have adaptor cords I could see that hdd on another pc (I've done it before for a similar hdd). I don't believe there were partitions or at least only a very small mirror of 1 or maybe 10gb but I can't say so with certainty.

No probs booting but there were some probs to do with clock/date that stopped updates of MS sec-essentials and I think maybe a trojan was present : got stopped from hitting google.com and then reinstalled malaware bytes and superantispyware and all this happened/was over quick with no apparent followup/linger but yes, of course, that could have a bearing I guess. At last boot, it all worked fine and was fully updated and a few scans and reboots came up fine.
posted by peacay at 7:47 AM on January 9, 2013

Best answer: It's possible that the files might still be on your HDD but just not readily available through the old windows installation you are using.

You may be able to access them through this install with a little digging in Windows Explorer, or you may need to hook up this HDD as a secondary drive on a different computer to get to the files.

As a starting point, you should determine how many partitions on on your HDD to make sure there is only a C: (Right click on My Computer, select "Manage" and then navigate to Storage->Disk Management on the right-hand menu).

Then you should figure out how much free space Windows thinks is available on that partition (look in Windows Explorer or My Computer) and decide if the files are hiding somewhere.

Even if Windows thinks the whole drive is mostly empty, the files might still be there but at that point the solution might involve moving to another rig or involving a professional.
posted by jameslavelle3 at 8:26 AM on January 9, 2013

Best answer: If the files were created with a different username than the one you are currently using, and [some option whose name I forget] is turned on, then you shouldn't be able to see them. The computer doesn't know you are the same person. You might try creating an account on the old windows install that has the same name and password as was on the SSD version of windows.
posted by gjc at 2:57 PM on January 9, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. Yeah, it was the user level. I had just logged on and not noticed I didn't have admin privileges so a LOT of the drive was unreachable. I have now found everything. I can't quite tell whether revealing the depths of my stupidity in public has any remedial effects upon my abilities going forward however. Oy.
posted by peacay at 3:46 PM on January 9, 2013

« Older I can't find a great article I read online about...   |   Looking for some awesome Tumblrs Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.