Repair / Recover Data hard drive

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Repair / Recover Data hard drive

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I have a hard drive that came with my Dell notebook.   The drive is formatted as a data drive (it doesn't have an OS installed on it).  The Dell's motherboard died.  I took the data hard drive out and put it into an external drive enclosure and attached it to a working computer via USB.    Windows 7 on two different working computers cannot read the drive.  

My goal is to get this drive back in working order and to retrieve the data from it.

More details:

Laptop drive
Hitachi 7K200-160 7200 RPM 160GB
Model HTS722016K9A300
Physical hard drive.

This drive was the secondary data drive from a dual-drive notebook that had a motherboard failure. Prior to the motherboard failure, the drive worked fine. It's formatted for data only, there's no OS installed.

I removed the drive and put it into an external enclosure.

• When I attach this drive to a computer via USB, the computer does not recognize the drive. Windows Explorer doesn't display a new drive after attaching it via USB.
• The light on the enclosure lights up and you can feel the drive spinning inside.
• The Windows 7 Systray displays the "Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media" icon when the drive is attached.
• In Disk Management, the faulty Hitachi external drive appears as "Disk 2" Dynamic, Invalid. (When removed from USB that Disk 2 does not appear.)
• In Disk Management Properties, General: NSI External USB Device; Device type: Disk drives; Manufacturer: (Standard disk drives); Location: on USB Mass Storage Device; Device Status: "the device is working properly." Volumes: Disk: Disk 2, Type: Dynamic, Status: Invalid; Partition Style: Master Boot Record (MBR); Capacity: 0 MB; Unallocated space: 0 MB; Reserved space: 0 MB.



I did a Search Online for Updated Driver; it said driver is up to date.

I have not attempted to use "Convert to Basic Disk" or "Reactivate Disk" in Disk Management (I'm thinking: "first, do no harm").

I would like to use this as a data drive and recover the data on it.

I've seen help pages online that are designed to repair the Master Boot Record for a bootable system drive (WIndows installed on drive).  I want to know if there is a different procedure for  a DATA ONLY drive.  That is, I'm not trying to "boot to this hard drive"...but my understanding is that all drives formatted under Windows (system and non-system drives) have "Master Boot Records" (correct me if I'm wrong). (And before I start messing with it, I want to be sure I'm doing the right thing, and not making it worse.)


Is there a repair process or utility to perhaps repair the Master Boot Record on the data drive?

All Replies
  • Before you try anything, decide how valuable the data is -- if it's worth enough to consider professional data recovery, realize that anything you do to the drive may make it that much harder (and more costly) to recover the data.  Professional data recovery costs well over $1,000 to start.

    If it's not worth that (and you're willing to take the risk), give Ontrack's Easy Recovery software a try - it will tell you whether you can recover anything, free of charge.  If it looks like you can get the data back, you have to buy the program, but it's a small fraction of the cost of professional data recovery.