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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
Recently my laptops' HDD went belly up, not sure right now if it was HDD itself or just Windows boot files. But I have 21 days to get all my irreplaceable files from it. It was a Seagate 2.5 SATA 500gb HDD, after trying to install an OS onto my 1tb external to no avail (stupid you can't install vista on a usb device) I decided to by an enclosure for my half dead HDD, I ran over to Best Buy not knowing where else to go and picked up an Antec MX-25 2.5" Enclosure.

After a few mishaps with not all the way plugged in USBs' I finally got the drivers installed to at least see the HDD on an alternate computer. A couple problems that I didn't really think would come up;

1: The HDD comes up in My Computer but it doesn't allow access, claims it needs to be formatted.
2: Despite the main partition being inaccessible, the recovery partition is openable, but it shows as being empty, something contrary to what properties claims.
3: After a little investigating into this the disk manager claims the enclosed HDD is in a RAW file type, which I haven't seen since RAW digital images from cameras.
4: Everything claims it to be healthy and diagnostics return it as 100% but it just doesn't want to open, and it's concerning that it claims that there's 100% free space, but there weren't any reformattings of it to my knowledge.

So how do I get my precious files from this monster that was my beloved HDD? Do I need some program to decrypt this RAW file type? Please help, I'm at the end of my rope, and while 21 days seems like a lot, at least 15 of those days I won't be able to work on this issue (life of a college student).

And if anybody needs more information I'll try to provide it. But as I don't have a real computer at my house anymore, my access to the internet is limited.

Update: I ran the Stellar Phoenix free evaluation data recovery program, sure enough; all my files are still intact and in place, but I just can't get to them...this is a little disheartening.

Still looking for help on this. Thanks in advance.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Just register phoenix and copy them out to another disk. Sounds like the partition table is corrupt. test_disk as in this sticky might be able t recover the P-table. http://www.techsupportforum.com/f16/have-you-lost-a-hard-drive-partition-or-files-in-your-computer-194492.html
I've heard bad reviews about Stellar Phoenix, much less stellar than the name sounds to say the least. And I got done trying test_disk, didn't work either, any other ideas? Would it be safe to try the boot sector rebuild in test_disk (it says they're ok)?
 

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We have used stellar in the lab, my preferred tool is r-studio, but if stellar found the files, it will recover them. If they are OK then it should be safe. I always err on the side of safety however. In a recovery shop, you never work off the original drive, it is only used to create a bit-by-bit image to another drive, and the recovery is done on that. Safer would be to try partition find and mount, do a thorough scan, moyunt the partition and copy your data out.
 

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Well, I'd prefer not spending more money then I have already, there has to be some switches or something I missed that could solve my problems. Because, after all, it is just a hard drive, there's nothing wrong with it (except for bad start up drivers or something for the OS) but other then that it's till just a hard drive that's plugged in via usb. What if I were to plug it in directly? Would are the chances that the computer would recognize it then?
 
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