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#271787 26-May-2020 22:57
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My very old laptop died a messy death last week. Can't boot into windows at all, not even in any version of safe mode.

 

Someone on here told me "The best way to retrieve your data is to remove the drive from the laptop and connect it to a USB enclosure that fits the drive."

 

How do I determine what kind of drive it is?


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  #2492346 26-May-2020 23:11
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It will probably be a 2.5 inch SATA drive, unless the laptop is really old (10+ years) in which case it might be IDE. Google your laptop model, or take it apart and have a look?

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  #2492347 26-May-2020 23:12
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What model is the laptop?

 

 


 
 
 
 


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  #2492348 26-May-2020 23:12
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You need a 2.5'' enclosure like https://www.pbtech.co.nz/product/ENCAER1002/Aerocool-USB-30-25-External-Hard-Drive-Tool-Free-2


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  #2492403 26-May-2020 23:16
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Some older laptops were more serviceable than modern ones -- yours might even have removable drive bays. Check out the user/service manual for your laptop to find out if the drive is user replaceable... if no instructions or service manual,  just dissasemble the laptop as best you can such that you can access the harddrive bay. 

 

If it is old, likely to have a 2.5" mechanical sata (or IDE if it is very old) mechanical drive.  Look up an image of the pins if you are not sure. Easy to tell. 

 

Either case, you can get adaptors or if it is sata you can plug into an enclosure/external bay as you say.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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  #2492406 26-May-2020 23:26
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If you have a desktop, you'll likely be able to plug the hard drive into a spare SATA cable there, and power it with a spare HD power connector. With any luck, the desktop should just recognise it and you'd be good to go. 

 

Just one thing - if it was your laptop's boot drive, it might be a good idea to plug it into the desktop AFTER turning it on, as it might decide that it's the boot drive. Not a biggie, but it could cause confusion if it happened. If it does, turn it off and try again after the desktop is running. 


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  #2492411 26-May-2020 23:59
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Browse to the manufacturers web site & read the specs of the hard drive.

 

     

  1. Once you know the type of drive,
  2. you can borrow or buy something like this

     

       

    1. external USB 2½ inch hard drive enclosure or
    2. this HDD docking station.
    3. Note that I just grabbed these links for the pretty pictures. I do no endorse or support the linked products and supplier.

     

  3. Plug the enclosure / docking station with rescued drive into a working PC
  4. & recover the data.

 

 

 

Most likely, it will be a SATA connection and look like this:

 

2½" HDD on top of 3½" HDD

 

If your "very old laptop" is really ancient, it might have an IDE / PATA connection. Something like this (top drive is a 2½ inch laptop drive):

 

Several hard drives on top of each other showing the PATA connection interface

 

 

 

 





Please keep this GZ community vibrant by contributing in a constructive & respectful manner.


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  #2492507 27-May-2020 09:16
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DarthKermit:

 

How do I determine what kind of drive it is?

 

 

You remove the drive from the laptop & look at it  :-)
Some laptops are easy to remove the HD (2 screws) , some are a nightmare requiring the motherboard to be removed
Then buy a matching USB adapter kit for it, the ones we use are good for SATA & IDE

 

If the laptop is really old, the drive itself may have died .
If its really old, chances are it will be easy to get the HD out .


 
 
 
 




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  #2498496 4-Jun-2020 19:39
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I've pulled the drive out. This is its pin configuration:

 

Click to see full size


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  #2498500 4-Jun-2020 19:44
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Can you boot off a Ubuntu live CD\USB and then copy the data off on to a external HD or over Wifi\Lan to another computer?




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  #2498502 4-Jun-2020 19:48
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TheMaskedOnion:

 

Can you boot off a Ubuntu live CD\USB and then copy the data off on to a external HD or over Wifi\Lan to another computer?

 

 

The laptop is old. The DVD drive in it stopped working some time ago. I can no longer get the drive to boot into windows, but I think the files on it I want are still there.


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  #2498503 4-Jun-2020 19:50
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ahh, do you have a spare desktop handy. you could use one of the spare SATA and power cables to power it up.


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  #2498504 4-Jun-2020 19:51
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DarthKermit:

 

I've pulled the drive out. This is its pin configuration:

 

Click to see full size

 

 

It's a standard 2.5 inch sata drive. Something like this will be ok if the drive is still alive

 

https://www.pbtech.co.nz/product/ENCAER1002/Aerocool-USB-30-25-External-Hard-Drive-Tool-Free-2


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  #2498790 5-Jun-2020 10:11
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Remember that it's highly likely that the cause of you being unable to boot into Windows is hard drive failure. That drive has a mechanical spinning disc inside, which will eventually fail. If you're lucky, the failure is software-based & not so tricky to resolve.

How critical is this lost data? If you really need it, then just plugging a USB case into another Windows machine is a fairly risky thing to do - well, not the safest thing anyway. If Windows doesn't recognize the drive & read it without an issue, then back off immediately. Using a 'nix distro & Christophe Grenier's Test Disk will give you a much better chance of successful recovery.

You won't even need to purchase the USB enclosure, create a bootable USB flash drive with Ubuntu & boot your laptop from that.




Megabyte - so geek it megahertz




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  #2513750 27-Jun-2020 20:24
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Thanks all. I got me a SATA external enclosure today for ten bucks and can read the files I want (mostly just sentimental pictures) off the disc and via my new laptop.


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  #2513759 27-Jun-2020 21:23
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That's a good result. Make sure you backup all your important data to another disk you store offsite, or even better, to a cloud backup service such as BackBlaze.


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