A List of Ways to Get Data from a Faulty Laptop or a Desktop Computer

The following article will tell you ways in which to recover data from your nonworking laptop or desktop computer.
You can ask me questions if you get stuck somewhere and can’t get your data back.

By taking out the hard drive and connecting to a SATA/USB adapter. What we will need here is a Philips screwdriver and a SATA/ATA to USB adapter. For the laptop hard drive I use a simple adapter that has two USB ports and one SATA port. SATA is the name of the connection that is on the hard drive and the hard drive is the device that stores all the data. Here are a few pictures of the hard drive.

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And here are a few pictures of the SATA to USB adapter.

What you will need to do is unscrew a few screws from one of the covers on the laptop where the hard drive is hiding and then take it out. Take your time. I hope you have a newer laptop as with very old laptops, say 10 years, there will be a little trouble involved with hard drive extraction.

This method will not work on some small laptops like the Asus E403SA as it has a flash memory as a hard drive and it is soldered to the logic board.

This is pretty easy to do on a desktop computer as all you need to do is to open the cover, disconnect cables and take out the hard drive. Likely the most difficult part will be removing the cover.

Use Raspberry Pi. Yes, you can do this by using the Raspberry Pi micro computer.

You will need:

•    A Raspberry Pi micro computer;
•    A micro SD card with Raspbian operating system;
•    A simple SATA to USB or powered SATA to USB adapter (for desktop computer hard drive);
•    A powerful 5V power adapter to power up the Raspberry Pi and laptop hard drive;
•    A Flash Drive where we will transfer all the data;
•    A HDMI cable

Here is how to connect everything. Make sure you connect the hard drive to the Raspberry Pi before you power it on. Then put the micro SD card into it. Connect it to the screen with a HDMI cable and connect a power adapter to it.
The micro SD card should already contain an operating system. If it does not have an operating system nothing will happen, and the Raspberry Pi will not work.

Data transfer is similar to what you do on your laptop. We will open two windows and transfer data from one window to another. Make sure you do not transfer files anywhere else but into your Flash Drive.  If you put your files on the desktop and switch the Raspberry Pi off all your files will disappear.

Bootable CDs. I love bootable CDs. They give you the ability to boot the computer without needing any other equipment and to transfer the data to a safe place. What you will need to get your data this way:

•    A bootable CD. This can be any bootable CD that is out there such as Ubuntu, Hiren’s Boot CD and many others; I do not even know all the names because there are new ones appearing every day. A Windows installation DVD is not useful for this purpose.
•    A Flash Drive to transfer your data.

I have a description of how to do this in detail already so I will describe the steps in short.
First of all we need to start the laptop from this bootable CD. There are a few keyboard combinations that we need to press after we start the laptop to make it boot from our CD or DVD disk. Here are a few: Escape, F11, F12, Del, F5, F4, F8.

Usually if I do not know the combination I hit all keys one by one. If you get a boot menu that displays disks and there is no DVD drive this means that booting is disabled in the BIOS.  BIOS stands for Basic Input Output System. It controls all the hardware in the computer.

Getting to the BIOS is done in the same way as making the menu appear – you hit the F keys one by one. Each laptop has its different BIOS and you need to change it accordingly. The only thing I recommend is to not set it with a password.

So we have now our needed screen and we can transfer our files.

There will always be something similar to an Explorer that you use on your laptop to browse files so you need to find it. It may have a different name. Now we just need to open two windows and transfer files from your laptop to your Flash Drive.

Swap the hard drive to another laptop or desktop computer. This method will probably work in 30 percent of cases. If it does work we again need only a flash drive to transfer files. This method needs minimal tools like a screwdriver and a flash drive or an external hard drive for data.

Clone the hard disk. This is probably the biggest risk involving method. This is because you need to clone exactly the drive you need.
There are a lot of adapters available for cloning hard drives.


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