Recovering user files from a windows XP hard drive

Mozex

[H]ard|Gawd
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My mom's XP computer died (power supply gave up the ghost and killed the motherboard too).

I got the old hard drive out and hooked it up to my computer (win7) to get the data off. It was only a 200ish gigabyte drive so I just copied the whole drive to a folder on my 1TB external and gave that to my mom.

My mom is now telling me that she can't find any of the user directories or files that would have been on the desktop. I haven't plugged her drive back in to check, but I figured I'd ask here while I'm at work. I think my mom knows enough to figure out where these files should be since she does IT support at work.

Is there any reason why my technique wouldn't work? Are the XP user files protected somehow?
 

BlindFusion

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Don't know if this is the issue, I know when I've done a similar thing with a Win7 installation, I have to take ownership of the user files. I think it has to do with the user files being protected for that windows install.

Try opening the user folder (c:\documents and settings\profilename) on your computer. Win7 should prompt you to take ownership of the folder and files. If you don't do this, then it won't copy over.
 
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Mozex

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Thanks for tip. It may not be the case though. I hooked the actual drive back up to my PC and I can see in E:\Documents and Settings\ all the accounts for my mom and dad are there along with all their files in the <user>\Desktop\ folder etc. Maybe they didn't copy correctly but I can read them off the original drive.

Maybe my mom just don't know where to look. It wouldn't be the first time... :(

Time to start researching a no-hassle backup system for them. At least I know what gift to get them next. ;)
 

BlindFusion

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FWIW, I'll throw in a vote for CrashPlan. CrashPlan+Family Unlimited gives you unlimited cloud backup on 2-10 computers for $120. Plus you can choose to backup to a local destination too. It's what I use for my family.
 

Angry_Birds

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Don't know if this is the issue, I know when I've done a similar thing with a Win7 installation, I have to take ownership of the user files. I think it has to do with the user files being protected for that windows install.

This is what I was about to suggest. Attaching an internal HD with OS and user data on it to a Vista/7 machine always seem to bring problems with permission and ownership. If your mom is on 7 or Vista, and you're on XP, then it's very likely that you might be perfectly able to access the files and your mother might not.

If that's not the case (and the transfer wasn't interrupted or anything like that), then I would wager that your mom is just looking in the wrong directory.
 

Old Hippie

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Maybe my mom just don't know where to look. It wouldn't be the first time...
I think my mom knows enough to figure out where these files should be since she does IT support at work.
I'm thinking this may be the problem.
Attaching an internal HD with OS and user data on it to a Vista/7 machine always seem to bring problems with permission and ownership.
But I thought she'd mention a "permissions error" that should have appeared?
 

Mozex

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Necro-update

I got my original drive back from mom and sure enough, the files were not there (had the "all users" folder but not the individual accounts). I'm not sure why it worked the second time but not the first. Mom has her files back and I'm free from tech support duties until the next time something breaks.

Thanks to all who posted here :)
 

Jagger100

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The porn industry can't have people giving their stuff away for free or reselling it, so they're heavy into DRM. Just sayin'.
 
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