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How do I access my damaged hard drive?

I have a Western Digital 120gb hard drive formatted as NTFS containing data, music & video files which are accessible with my WinXP. When I was installing Windows Millenium, the scandisk detected an error on that particular hard drive. An option was available to fix it or leave it; I chose the option to fix it.

After the setup process completed, I attempted to access the hard drive with WinXP and I got a message that says the hard drive is not formatted properly. I noted that the hard drive properties indicated that it is now in RAW format instead of NTFS. The hard drive is currently unaccessible. Is there a way to restore or retrieve the data? If so, how do I go about doing that?

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Assuming (and I think I'm safe in making this assumption,) that you're looking to leave your data intact, your best bet will be to attach the hard drive as a secondary/slave drive in a known-good workstation -- I find that a Windows 98 box tends to be the most forgiving in this regard, but Your Mileage May Vary. Since there seems to be some question as to the physical integrity of the drive, use this method to extract whatever data you need, then do a full diagnostic before re-installing and/or re-formatting the drive.

This was first published in September 2002

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