October 24, 2010

Rescue Windows hard disk with Knoppix


My Dell XP machine motherboard failed. I wanted to get the data off the WD2500 (250MB) hard drive so slaved it to an older Dell machine running Win 2k. Unfortunately, the older machine's BIOS is so old it can't read the larger hard drive. Then, I connected it to a Gateway machine running Win 2k; it started running chkdsk on the WD2500 drive and indicated it was 'fixing' a bunch of errors. It appeared to be in an endless loop, fixing the same problem over and over, so I killed the power. Then, I booted the Gateway machine with Knoppix Live CD. It shows the 250G hard drive in the file manager window. When I click on the 250G hard drive icon it shows at the bottom of the window '1 visible item (0 hidden), Free space: 97.4 GB (Total: 250.0 GB)' This seems about right. However, the file listing only includes a single item, 'Documents and Settings' of size 4.1 kb. So something to do with the directory structure is corrupted, but I don't know what, and I don't know how to fix it. Any suggestions?