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Thursday, June 19, 2008

How to Recover Data from the Hard Drive of a Dead Laptop


from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

This guide will tell you how to recover data from a dead laptop, as long as the laptop was running some version of windows or Linux on an x86 platform, and died of something other than hard drive failure.

Steps



Method 1
  1. Purchase a "Laptop Hard Drive Adaptor Kit" to allow you to plug your laptop hard drive into a standard PC (2.5 TO 3.5 inch IDE HDD).
  2. Find a functioning standard PC that can read the file system that was on the laptop. One would need Windows 2k/XP or a Linux distribution to read an NTFS/FAT file system, whereas only a Linux distribution can read the EXT3 file system.
  3. Open up the case and add the laptop drive with adaptor kit as a secondary HDD. Be sure that you have set this drive to either Cable Select, or Slave, depending on the configuration of the system, and the available IDE ports.
  4. Copy the data you need from the laptop drive to the main drive of the PC, or consider using removable storage for small files.


Method 2
  1. Purchase or cannibalize a 2.5" USB 2.0 or Firewire drive enclosure.
  2. Find a functioning standard PC with an open USB port (or firewire port, as applicable) that can read the file system that was on the laptop. One would need Windows 2k/XP or a Linux distribution to read an NTFS/FAT file system, whereas only a Linux distribution can read the EXT3 file system.
  3. Plug it in, wait for the tones (and/or mount it if that is necessary in this system)
  4. Copy the data you need from the laptop drive to the main drive of the PC, or consider using removable storage for small files.


Tips


  • You can find the adaptor kits on eBay by searching the terms in quotes in step 1. They cost less than $10 with shipping.
  • Fry's Electronics also sells a Drive to USB adaptor set, which connects USB to IDE (2.5, 3.5, 5.25)/SATA COOLMAX 2.5"/3.5"5.25" IDE/SATA TO USB2.0 CONVERTER - CD-350-COMBO at Frys.com it has been very helpful for me as a computer repair person, not to mention that I've loaned it out to co-workers until they finally bought one of their own.
  • You may also put the laptop drive with adaptor kit into an external drive enclosure if you have one.
  • You may need to adjust the primary/slave jumper settings on the hard disks (both laptop and PC). When attaching either in a USB enclosure or to a converter be sure to set the hard drive as a Master. Having it set to Cable Select or Slave will often times not work or not work properly.
  • When you are finished, the laptop drive can be secured in the PC case and left as a secondary disk on the PC, if you don't need it for anything else.


Warnings


  • Don't despair if you are not able to read the contents of the drive. Check your connections, be sure that the drive was detected in BIOS, and try again.
  • In Linux, be sure to mount the file system as read-only before attempting. NTFS file systems can only be opened by default in read-only mode, without additional packages.


Things You'll Need


  • Laptop Hard Drive Adaptor Kit 2.5 TO 3.5 inch IDE HDD
    • OR A 2.5" USB 2.0 or Firewire drive enclosure.

  • A few small screwdrivers
  • A compatible PC with an available power and IDE connection.
  • An external HDD enclosure for an IDE disk (optional).


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