Recovering old text files - urgent help request

Nov 13, 2015
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When I bought my Mac notebook a few years ago I neglected to transfer most of my older document files.
My old main Windows computer was at that point a dysfunctional mess. However the Word documents I had stored also on a couple of hard disks.

There is one Word document that I would dearly like now to recover urgently, and for that matter it would be pretty useful to recover all the rest.

I plugged one of my discs into the Mac but they couldn't talk to each other. I brought out another old Windows laptop computer, which doesn't contain the files I want but I thought might be compatible with my disk. The disk lit up alright and onscreen told me it was there, but when I tried to access it the computer told me that it had been damaged and could not be accessed (it hasn't been knocked around I think, it is just old. Or maybe attaching it to the Mac damaged it?)

I remembered that there are supposed to be some procedures for this sort of thing, in Apple support there is a thing called Windows migration Assistant. However my heart sunk when I saw it said 'make sure your Windows operating system is up to date, and then talked about administrators and passwords - I doubt I'm capable of managing that. Both my old computers are still with with XP! (Being bugged with Windows' constant changes of OS was one of my reasons for switching to a Mac). I am not trying to 'transfer between computers' as the Apple support puts it, I'm just trying to transfer from a disk. Is that too under the dead hand of the OS in use when the data was recorded?

As well as the damaged disc (is it likely an expert in one of these little computer maintenance oddjob etc shops could repair it?) I also have a rarely used disk that has just sat in the cupboard for some years, unlike the broken one which I used to carry around. I don't want to try it before getting advice as I might damage of that too by my blind blunderings.

How do you suggest I go about solving this problem and recovering data if that is possible??

Cory Cooper

May 19, 2004
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Sorry it took so long for a response.

-What types of drives - external/internal?
-What method did you use to connect it to the Mac and the old Windows computer?

Windows Migration Assistant may help, unless the drive is failing. And, the drive has to mount and be accessible.

It is possible for drives to fail over time, even when not in use, as all drives eventually do. Some local computer shops can recover data, but it depends on whether the drive hardware is failing. If it is, then professional data recovery may be needed, which can run into the hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Hope that helps,


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