I have an old SATA HDD out of a Dell laptop that wont boot up windows anymore because of a missing file (hal.dll) or something like that. I have it hooked into my new tower and i have done every fix i could find online about it but none seem to work. I can see the drive in my computer, I have set the ownership to my new computer and all the privelidges and everything. It is still giving me the access denied message when i try and open the drive. In my computer it does not show the capacity of the HDD which could be a problem, but it does show 3 different partitions in the disk management screen but only lets me do anything with one of them. There is a 39 MB partition and a 4.7 GB partition that i cannot do anything with. I just want to get all my old pictures and music off of my old HDD PLEASE help!!!!

What OS was running on the HDD? If it was Win2K or XP, were you using EFS?

Did you try and take ownership with Explorer running as Administrator?

Would you consider using Disk/File unlocking software?

Can you get to the C drive, put the missing system file back, reboot on the original laptop and get the files off in a different way?

Last week I did the same thing as you without needing to take ownership.

The old HDD has windows xp media center on it. I am the admin on this computer and took ownership of the drive and all the files. I was gonna try and just replace the file that it is missing but i cant get into the hard drive at all. Its weird though because when i did the disk checker straight from "My Computer" it says it cannot access the drive but when i do it from the disk management screen it will go through just fine but says there are no errors. But if i try to open the drive in either screen it says "Location Not Available Access Denied".

I think we need more specific information given that you're in front of the problem and we've got to interpret what you report.

Any chance of your providing screen shots of the Disk Management Screen for the external drive?


This shows the drive in my computer....For some reason it doesnt even show it as having any capacity.


Properties screen in My computer. Still showing no capacity.


Disk management screen


Properties in Disk management. Don't know why it shows capacity here but nowhere else. Wont let me access it from this screen either though. Still gives the access denied popup.

The external drive is not with me atm but it works just fine I mostly just use it for music. Its just a WD 80 gb

I suggest that in Disk Management you right click on the (B:) partition and change the drive letter from B to E.

Something's not right having a hard drive a B:.

Let us know.

Same thing lol it was me who changed the drive letter at the suggestion of a friend :) I changed the letter back to E: but it still didnt work.

Have you got a friend to whom you could take the drive and see what happens? Maybe get the files off to a memory stick and then reformat thwe "offending" HDD.

Has the system reserved any drive letters for a flash card device?

What happens if you set it to drive M?

No there is no removable media reader on this computer. I tried the same exact thing on my other computer and it does the exact same thing, and changing to M doesnt help.

I'd have to conclude that part of whatever was corrupted on your old HDD was in the file or directory structure itself. There are some low level tools available that can recover data from a partially stuffed HDD; I've never needed to use such tools and so have no specific recommendation.

Yes, low level tools will help. But they are dead hard to find, which work with your hard drive. They dont grow on trees.

Try using a Knoppix ( linux) live CD (not DVD) to access and copy across your data... it doesn't grow on trees but is easy enough to find ;)