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Client Communication Regarding Seagate Hard Disk Problems

I’m working on a really old computer. And by old I mean I’m running Windows 98. I love 98 because it’s stable and as such have been using it for what seems like a lifetime now. I’m running it using a Seagate Barracuda ATA IV 40GB hard drive that has been around the block a few times. So much so in fact that after three house moves and two job changes it still stands up well against a lot of new ones. Anyway, when I tried opening a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet yesterday the computer bombed out and I was left wondering what was going on. When I rebooted I was told that my hard drive that had been on the primary bus was no longer there. I went into BIOS and auto detected it but after I saved the BIOS settings and restarted it happened again and again. I was advised by a local engineer (well self taught guy who calls himself an engineer) that I should change the jumper from master to slave but this made no difference to the hard drive and only asked for the CD-ROM to boot up first. I’ve sort of shut the stable door on myself here because I went straight out and bought an external drive to back up to but it won’t work because it doesn’t recognize anything other than Windows Vista onwards and now my Barracuda is in lockdown. Can the data on there be saved and if so how?

I have an issue with my Seagate ST380011A internal hard drive. The drive itself was billed on the box as being a 80GB drive and that seemed to be the case when I had it installed. I’m a bit clueless when it comes to this sort of thing so I paid the young man along the road to install it for me. He’s doing some computer courses and seems pretty much in tune with whats going on. Anyway when he left he told me – and showed me – that the drive was being read as a 80GB drive in My Computer but the problems have started since I have tried to copy a lot of stuff from old cd-roms onto it. In My Computer it is showing as 80GB but says I can actually only access around 40GB of the drive, about half, which makes me wonder what has happened. I got the young lad back again and he said there was a problem with the drive and that I should get my information backed up a.s.a.p. He went away and returned with an external dvd-rom thingy and some discs and said he would make me a backup but when it came down to it the hard drive said it was unable to send or receive data (or words to that effect). Now he’s saying the best course of action is a complete reformat but I don’t want to do that and lose all my stuff; help would be appreciated, thanks.