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Old 06-29-2011, 01:24 PM   #1
Gigantopithecus
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Default Hard drive shows space used, but 'this folder is empty'

Pulled a virus-infested old 40GB hard drive out of a friend's laptop and put it in an external enclosure. Plugged the enclosure into my test bench, which is running W7 Enterprise 64-bit. In Windows Explorer, the hard drive is present, with 1GB unused out of 40GB. However, when opened, the root directory of the drive is blank, and reports 'folder is empty.'

I took ownership of the drive and it applied my ownership to the drive's files, but still no files appear. I defragmented the disk (it was at 27% fragmentation), also to no avail. I'd rather recover the files than wipe the disk.

Any tips?

Edit: problem solved, thanks for the tips. Booted up with Puppy Linux and copied everything to a spare disk. Friend is going to be happy - Geek Squad wanted over $200 to recover the data, lol.
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Old 06-29-2011, 01:32 PM   #2
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I'll mention hidden files in passing- but I'm sure you already have that covered.

Boot to live CD and see what you come up with. It may be more fruitful than Windows. Parted Magic, Puppy Linux, UBCD, Hiren's BootCD all come to mind.
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Old 06-29-2011, 01:47 PM   #3
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Ownership is the 1st step. That allows you to make changes, but you probably still don't have read permission. You'll need to give yourself full control in the permissions. I'd just give the 'everyone' group full control. Also be sure you checked the 'replace all child objects' box. Do that for both ownership and permissions, otherwise you just took control of that folder, but not the subfolders and subfolder's files.

Another way is to boot up the OS CD. I remember in WinXP using the disk to get to a command prompt so that I can delete a virus file. In Vista/Win7 you'll want to login as 'administrator' off the DVD. But I have yet to do that.
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Old 06-29-2011, 02:08 PM   #4
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is there any unallocated data in disk management?

EDIT: read your OP fully. like others have said, boot with a linux live cd. if it's saying 1GB free out of the full size of the drive, then it's obviously not unallocated space
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Old 06-29-2011, 02:24 PM   #5
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If formatted NTFS, there is overhead involved - metadata, MFT and MFT zone.
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Old 06-29-2011, 03:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corkyg View Post
If formatted NTFS, there is overhead involved - metadata, MFT and MFT zone.
Right, but the OP is saying 1 GB unused of 40 GB - i.e. there is 39 GB of stuff on there that can't be seen. That's a lot of metadata!
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Old 06-29-2011, 04:23 PM   #7
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I assume you have hidden and system showing? Also depending how the drive was used you might see some things in NTFS that are not used often on the desktop side like sparse files and secondary data streams. These eat up space but might not show with out unhiding everything or in some cases doing some CLI magic.
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Old 06-29-2011, 05:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FishAk View Post
I'll mention hidden files in passing- but I'm sure you already have that covered.
Yep.

Quote:
Originally Posted by razel View Post
Ownership is the 1st step. That allows you to make changes, but you probably still don't have read permission. You'll need to give yourself full control in the permissions. I'd just give the 'everyone' group full control. Also be sure you checked the 'replace all child objects' box. Do that for both ownership and permissions, otherwise you just took control of that folder, but not the subfolders and subfolder's files.
Yep, covered that too. Sorry for not specifying those steps in the OP.

Thanks for the reminder about booting from a Linux Live CD and grabbing the data that way. I've only had to do that a handful of times in a decade so I totally forgot about that option. Hopefully that will work!
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