Hard drive access
August 13, 2008 6:29 AM   Subscribe

I had a 5 year old dell desktop that died due to motherboard malfunction about a year ago. I removed the hard drive and am attempting to retrieve the data from it.

I bought a hard drive enclosure, inserted the hard drive and plugged it into the computer. This allows me access to the hard drive except the most important files. When I try to access the folder which contains my files, I get the message "f:\documents and settings\username is not available. Access is denied." I never had a password on this username. This was a computer that I used for personal use which had only one username login and no security to access this. Is there any way I can either (1) load a program from this old hard drive which would allow me to get access, or (2) download a program which would allow me to extract the files? The program that came with the hard drive enclosure does not seem to work.
posted by Candide to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I believe you need to take ownership of the files.

In Explorer, go to Tools -> Folder Options. Select the 'View' tab and turn off 'Use Simple File Sharing' (at the bottom of the list).

Right-click the folder containg your files. Choose 'Sharing and go to the 'Security' tab. Click the 'Advanced' button and go to the 'Owner' tab. Select yourself as the owner, and choose the 'Replace owner on subcontainers and objects' box. Click OK.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 6:46 AM on August 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

That should read "Choose 'Sharing and Security' "....
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 6:46 AM on August 13, 2008

Best answer: If you are using Windows XP Home edition you will need to boot your PC into safe mode before you can access the interface referenced above by LMDBA. To do so, click start-run and type "msconfig." Then click on the "BOOT.INI tab and check the "/SAFEBOOT" checkbox. Then click "OK" and let the PC reboot. To get back to "Normal" mode reverse the above process.

Good Luck.

If you're not using Windows XP or are otherwise flummoxed, let us know what OS you are using and what OS the old PC had installed.
posted by BigLankyBastard at 7:13 AM on August 13, 2008

Response by poster: This is a huge help, Thanks!
posted by Candide at 8:58 AM on August 13, 2008

I would add that you should ADD yourself as an owner, and not remove anything.

Or create a user on the new computer with the same username as you had on the old one.

Did the other advice work? Because I've seen issues where external enclosures identify a drive differently than the old computer had, and you could only see parts of the file system. You don't want to be writing to a file system that's not [appearing to be] intact.
posted by gjc at 6:29 PM on August 13, 2008

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