Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

Accessing old "unallocated" Win 95 / ME / 98 hard drive

  1. #1

    Accessing old "unallocated" Win 95 / ME / 98 hard drive

    Hi Folks,

    Just wondering if anyone can offer any recommendations on how I could gain access to the files on an OLD hard drive - around 20 years old!

    I've plugged in an external hard drive docking station but Win 8 is showing it as "Unallocated" in Disk Management. I can't remember if Win 95 / ME / 98 was installed on it. If it helps the hard drive is only 1.2gb!

    When I try and allocate it, it gives me an I/O error. It does power up / spin etc and there's no reason to suspect the drive has any errors. I've tried several recovery programs on it but no go. I also tried the old PC but it appears to have given up the ghost today.

    From reading around online I think it's something to do with the file system? And I'm kind of thinking my only option would be to install a virtual copy of Win 98, but that might bring on a new set of problems in itself (compatibility / drivers etc)?

    Any thoughts would be much appreciated!


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  2. #2

    Well, when you first put the drive in the external closure, did you set all of the jumpers in the right place? Is this an older IDE drive or older than that? You could try booting into DOS (you will be able to find a DOS image online somewhere) and try to access it from DOS. Just my first initial thoughts on the matter.
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  3. #3

    Austin TX metro area
    Posts : 640
    Windows 7 Pro 64bit [MS blue-disk set]

    Probably HD is FAT32, my wild guess. In earlier days, HDs and/or really close [similar] sector/cluster/track numbers had to listed in the BIOS tables, I don't know if that's the case today with modern day UEFI or BIOS tables.
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  4. #4

    Thank guys...

    I've set the jumper to Slave... So play2mefish, are you saying if I boot up in Dos (as per How To Access Advanced Startup Options in Windows 8 or 8.1), you think I should be able to access the drive / file structure as normal... then just copy whatever files accross?

    Edit: It's an old Western Digital IDE drive

    Click image for larger version

    Thanks again
    Last edited by dablue; 13 Mar 2015 at 13:44. Reason: Missed something...
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  5. #5

    I would think you would want the jumper set to CS (Cable Select) or MASTER. Booting to DOS will only work if the harddrive is mounted on the IDE channel of the MB...provided of course you still have an IDE connector.

    I would change the jumper setting to CS and then try accessing it again from Windows again. The old hard drive will be FAT or FAT32 and not NTFS.

    To boot to a DOS based system, it would be easier to have the harddrive configured as an internal drive and connected directly the IDE connector of the motherboard. Then you would boot from a floppy disk if you can find one...LOL!
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  6. #6

    Ah, I'm using the enclosure on a laptop
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  7. #7

    Trying to Sith things out
    Bamberg Germany
    Posts : 2,290
    Windows 10 Pro 64 bit

    Another way to access data files(music, documents, pictures... right?) is download yourself a Ubuntu ISO burn it to disk and use the live session. Then you can drag and drop the files to your Win8 folders.
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  8. #8

    Central IL
    Posts : 3,468
    Linux Mint 17.2

    At this point, the heads are probably frozen, so you may never be able to recover anything off of it. You could try a Linux Live DVD and see if it sees the drive in the external enclosure.
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  9. #9

    Ok, will give Unbuntu a shot and report back - THANK YOUS!
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  10. #10

    Trying to Sith things out
    Bamberg Germany
    Posts : 2,290
    Windows 10 Pro 64 bit

    Quote Originally Posted by broe23 View Post
    At this point, the heads are probably frozen, so you may never be able to recover anything off of it. .
    A very good point. Try giving the drive a soft but firm clap to loosen the heads on the sides(not top or bottom)
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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Accessing old "unallocated" Win 95 / ME / 98 hard drive
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