Now by dead, I mean that when I press the power button nothing happens; you see nothing on the screen and no lights come on. Now a lot of people, when they have a computer doesn’t start up and nothing comes on the screen when they press the button, they assume that they lost everything on the hard drive. But that’s not actually the case. If the hard drive has failed you can indeed lose everything but if the hard drive had failed we would actually see different symptoms. If the hard drive of a computer has failed you typically will see something on the screen when you press a power button typically a power-on-self-test or maybe a logo. In this case, this is a Dell computer so dell logo would probably appear on the screen. so the fact that nothing happens when you press the button usually indicates that the problem lies somewhere else; in other words, it might be a motherboard problem or processor or ram problem or something like that.

Hard Drive Data Recovery

So we are going to assume that our hard drive is probably okay and so that means we can actually remove the hard drive from this machine, plug it into another machine, and try to retrieve the data. So let’s get started. Usually, on a laptop, it’s not too hard to find the hard drive. There are exceptions to that but usually one of these panels on the back is the hard drive. In this case, the hard drive is actually right here on the side. If I just pull this out I believe the hard drive will be in there. Occasionally you get a laptop that you need to remove the keyboard on the top of it in order to get to the drive but that has become pretty rare on the modern laptops. So here I’m going to go ahead and remove the hard drive. Now this hard right here is actually on a tray which has a special connector on the back this is not a standard connector. but the hard drive itself is standard and will usually be the case with any hard drive you have.

So I’m going to go ahead and take the hard drive out of the tray and that will expose the industry standard connector on the back and that way I can hook it to another computer. Here I have the hard drive out and it has a standard IDE connector, the old type, the newer drives have something called serial ATA or SATA which looks somewhat different than this. But this old one is a standard connector too. Some of the newer computers may not have a place to attach a drive like this but I have a computer here in my work room that I can attach it to. The problem is with the older type connector, desktop hard drives, and laptop hard drives. the connector is different and so here I am trying to connect a laptop hard drive to a desktop machine to do data recovery and I’ll need to use an adapter in order to connect it.

Now with the newer SATA connections both laptop hard drives and desktop hard drives have the same type of connector – they are exactly the same with SATA and so for that reason, you don’t need an adapter of any kind when you hook one up to the data recovery like this. Here you can see that I have my workbench computer opened up and I have disconnected the CD-ROM drive and I have the IDE connector and the power connector here to attach the laptop hard drive. Now as I said that connector is incompatible with the laptop drive. the connection on a laptop drive somewhat different and so that’s where this adapter comes in so I can attach a laptop drive to a desktop computer. Now an adapter like this is readily available if you do a search on Google or Amazon. You should find one of these for relatively cheap. I don’t know how long they will be around though because SATA connections are really commonplace today and so the older these computers get, the less demand there will be for adapters like this.

So if you’re going to work on old computers it might be best that you get one of these before they disappear. I have the drive hooked up to the desktop computer so I’m going to fire it up and see if I can get the data off. Here I have the computer running and I am looking at the My Computer window there are three drives listed here: drive C, D, and E. Now I happen to know based on the size that is reported down here when I click on these that this one, Drive D, is the one that I actually connected. These two here, E and C, are hard drives that were already attached to my computer.

So, for this one I need and the fact that it is showing up here is really good sign when it comes to getting data off. So I’ll double-click on it and I see a My Documents folder right in the root of the drive that must mean that they were using Windows 98 – this was an older computer. If we were using Windows XP we wouldn’t find the My Documents folder in the root folder. I’m just going to go in there and see what I can find. It looks like there’s a lot of stuff – this looks good. It looks like we are going to be able to retrieve some data off of it. I’ll have to rummage around a little bit and figure out where all the information is that they need and then I’ll just copy it over to a USB flash drive or something to give it to the customer to put on their new computer.