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Copy contents of hard drive from Broken PC

Posted on 2014-02-22
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Last Modified: 2014-02-25
I have a laptop that will not boot anymore I want to be able to copy the contents from the harddrive. I know there is some kind of device I could buy that I can connect to the harddrive and copy off of.

What is that device?
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Question by:seamus9909
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by:John Hurst
ID: 39879751
I purchased a USB hard drive carrier from my local store, put the drive in the carrier, attached the carrier and got the data off the drive that way. Worked just fine.

My carrier has a 120 Volt DC adapter to power it.
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by:seamus9909
ID: 39879765
Hi John

Is that what the device is called?  A Carrier?
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by:John Hurst
ID: 39879768
I call it a hard drive carrier. My carrier is a:

Sabrent 3.5" SATA / IDE Hard Drive Aluminum enclosure.  

It is for desktop drives and you can get carriers for 2.5" laptop drives.

You can go to a local store or find then on Amazon.
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Darr247 earned 500 total points
ID: 39879771
Here's what I use
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0099TX7O4

For EIDE drives I have one of these
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001OORMVQ

though I understand they do make docks that accept EIDE drives too.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 39879772
Here is an example 2.5" enclosure from Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/SANOXY%C2%AE-SATA-Hard-Drive-Enclosure/dp/B001AAVA08/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1393102323&sr=8-2&keywords=laptop+drive+enclosure

Enclosure seems a more popular word than carrier.
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by:Darr247
ID: 39879776
Edit... SATA/PATA adapter I have is actually this one
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001OOT804
I had one with a black cable like the first one I posted and it stopped working... I bought the one with the silver (it's like braided steel under clear plastic) cable first, and it still works.
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by:akb
ID: 39879799
Is the drive SATA or PATA?
If it is SATA then you can connect it directly to a PC without a carrier. SATA connectors are the same for PC disks as for laptop disks.
If it is PATA you can get an adapter to do the job.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 39879806
For a laptop, a decent carrier (enclosure) has always been easier.
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by:akb
ID: 39879837
That is True John, but if it is a one-off requirement and if he is copying it to a PC then it may be quicker and cheaper to connect the drive directly to the PC. If he wants to connect it to another laptop then a USB carrier would be the go.
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by:nobus
ID: 39880253
since it does not boot anymore, chances are your drive has problems.
in such a case, i always connect the drive directly to a sata or iDE connector of a spare PC, and run a diag first -  to be sure it is working ok.
then you can copy the data
i use the UBCD for this :
Hardware diagnostic CD    UBCD

go to the download page, scroll down to the mirror section, and  click on a mirror to start the download
Download the UBCD and make the cd   <<==on a WORKING PC, and boot the problem PC from it
Here 2 links, one to the general site, and a direct link to the download

since the downloaded file is an ISO file, eg ubcd527.iso - so you need to use an ISO burning tool
if you don't have that software, install cdburnerXP : http://cdburnerxp.se/

If you want also the Ram tested - run memtest86+ at least 1 full pass,  - you should have NO errors!
 
For disk Diagnostics run the disk diag for your disk brand (eg seagate diag for seagate drive)  from the HDD section -  long or advanced diag !  (runs at least for30 minutes)

http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/                        ultimate boot cd
http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/download.html             download page
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by:Darr247
ID: 39880677
Wow... I would try to copy any data I can off it before running diagnostics.

Usually the longer a failing drive runs the worse it's going to get, so get the data copied first, then worry about trying to fix it... if it's fixable, you'll still have another chance to copy the data off when the fixing is done, but if you use up the last of its life running diagnostics you may spend thousands of dollars sending it to a recovery company if those are "important" data.
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by:seamus9909
ID: 39880716
there doesn't appear to be any power on the damaged Laptop, so I think the drive is ok.  So am I seeing there is a way to connect the bad drive directly to a laptop and transfer the files via usb?
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by:John Hurst
ID: 39880775
The enclosures already mentioned will allow you to mount the drive on any computer.

Also you can try to start the problem computer with a bootable CD (Ultimate Boot CD or equivalent).
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by:Darr247
ID: 39880816
You can't start the computer with a bootable disk if it's a bad power supply and battery. :)

Yes, an external enclosure, dock or USB adapter should allow you to access the files on the hard drive. Note that you may need to Take Ownership of the files and folders copied off to be able to access them once they're on another computer's hard drive.
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by:Darr247
ID: 39880825
If it's more than a couple years old, there could be an adapter plugged onto the back of the 2.5'' drive, already, which needs to be pulled off before those adapters/docks/enclosures will connect to the drive, by the way... most recent laptops that take SATA drives just use regular SATA sockets without any adapters, because the SATA sockets and plugs are typically rated between 5,000 and 10,000 plug/unplug cycles before they're worn out.
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by:akb
ID: 39881116
Why don't you try removing the battery and try starting the laptop with only the power supply plugged in. I had a laptop recently which looked like it was dead and this worked. Turned out the battery was the problem.
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by:noxcho
ID: 39881885
All the comments above are correct. But some laptops use the drives which do not have standard IDE or SATA interface. Thus before he tries anything I would suggest to open the box and take out the drive to see what kind of drive this is.
Only after this step can you decide what device you need to buy.
By the way, do you have a desktop PC at home? If yes then you don't need to buy anything.
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by:nobus
ID: 39882221
you could start by verifying the AC adaptor of the old laptop - or replace it (many can be used from one laptop to another - if the connector is the same)
then if it runs , you just copy what is needed to the device of your choice - DVd, usb drive..
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