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How to Get Info Off of Hard Drive of Non-Functioning Computer?


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9 replies to this topic

#1 Barbarino

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 05:12 PM

I have (had) a Dell Optiplex GX270 which ceased to function. I took it opened it and the capacitors on the motherboard were bulging and had crud on them. Another motherboard is en-route, but I was was told that when replacing the motherboard I really need to reinstall all the programs, which can wipe out all the data on the hard drive. And dummy that I am, I never backed up.

So what is the best, economical and easiest to use way for this unsophisticate to get all the data from the hard drive on to some type of storage device? And how would I do it, with detailed instructions, please?

Thank you!

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#2 btcomm

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 05:18 PM

I have (had) a Dell Optiplex GX270 which ceased to function. I took it opened it and the capacitors on the motherboard were bulging and had crud on them. Another motherboard is en-route, but I was was told that when replacing the motherboard I really need to reinstall all the programs, which can wipe out all the data on the hard drive. And dummy that I am, I never backed up.

So what is the best, economical and easiest to use way for this unsophisticate to get all the data from the hard drive on to some type of storage device? And how would I do it, with detailed instructions, please?

Thank you!


If you have getting an exact replacement motherboard for this model of computer you don't need to re install anything. That is only if you are changing the motherboard out for a different type.

Edited by btcomm, 28 November 2012 - 05:18 PM.


#3 Barbarino

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 05:35 PM

btcomm-

Check out the last response on this thread here- It really got me concerned.

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic475802.html

Yes, you could replace the motherboard.

There is one small problem with doing this though, and that's an issue with your hdd.


When you take a hdd with a Windows OS installed on it that you have been using on one computer and then install it as the primary hdd in another computer you are asking for major problems. The excerpt below is from a Intel article which describes in detail what happens. The article also mentions a reference to an article by Microsoft, it can be seen here .

"Moving a hard drive with Windows* 2000 or Windows XP* already installed to a new motherboard without reinstalling the operating system is not recommended.

If a hard drive is moved to a new computer, the registry entries and drivers for the mass storage controller hardware on the new motherboard are not installed in Windows for the new computer you may not be able to start Windows. This is documented in Microsoft's knowledge base article. This is true even if you move the hard drive to a motherboard with the same chipset, as different hardware revisions can cause this issue as well.

Additionally, moving a hard drive to a new motherboard may not exhibit any errors until you install new IDE drivers. This is because each chipset uses a different Plug-n-Play (PNP) ID to identify it. If you move your motherboard, your registry will have multiple PNP IDs (for the old hardware as well as the new hardware). If there are multiple entries in the registry, Windows cannot determine which hardware to initialize and therefore fails with a STOP error."

There is a slim chance that you could get away with this, but I would strongly suggest that you back up all of your important data to an external form of media, CD, DVD, flash drive, etc.

If you have the installation disc for the operating system I would suggest that you do a fresh install.

#4 kevin303

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 05:42 PM

If you have access to another computer, you can pull your files off the HDD mounting as a slave drive. Or if you are not comfortable with that option, you can purchase a HDD dock or something along those lines to pull the data you want off of the drive. I think I spent around $60 USD and it has been a savior over and over again for me. Essentially turns the HDD into a 1TB flash drive :thumbsup: The brand we are using is a Vantec, is a NexStar dual bay Hard Drive dock.

#5 scurvychef

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 05:43 PM

you can mount the hard drive to a second computer as though it were an external drive, save the files to CD/DVDs and install them later after you install the OS again. To do this you will need SATA/or IDE to USB cables. depends on what kind of Hard drive it is.

#6 Platypus

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 08:27 PM

I have (had) a Dell Optiplex GX270 which ceased to function... Another motherboard is en-route

If it is another GX270 mainboard, it should be a straight swap. The hardware will be identical in function, so Windows can be expecteed to operate normally, but there's a chance it might need to be re-activated.

If it is a different mainboard with differing hardware, then yes the caveat applies that Windows may be unable to operate and re-install is required.

In any case you can't recover software installations from the drive, just data files. Software applications need to be re-installed onto a new Windows installation from their own installation discs/files.
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#7 Barbarino

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 03:39 AM

Thank you for replying. The question is, how same is the same when it comes to motherboards? That is not a philosophical question, I really don't know. When I went to order it on eBay and looked up motherboards for Dell Optiplex GX 270's, there were several motherboards listed, and they all had different numbers listed after them. I called up the store, and the person asked me for the first set of numbers on a tag on the motherboard, and they sent a motherboard with a matching number to the first set which should arrive tomorrow. He said he didn't need any other numbers. Does that make it the same motherboard? And when I install it will everything work like it did before without reinstalling Windows or other software?

I don't have another computer, so I can't mount my HDD to it. And doesn't using the HDD Bay ewuire having another computer as well right now?
Mounting the existing HDD to another computer as a slave drive to pull the files or using that HDD Bay, is that something that they do reliably at a place like Geek Squad?Or does anyone know someone that performs these services in the Los Angeles area?

Edited by Barbarino, 29 November 2012 - 03:40 AM.


#8 Platypus

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 07:08 AM

how same is the same when it comes to motherboards? ... they sent a motherboard with a matching number ...Does that make it the same motherboard? And when I install it will everything work like it did before without reinstalling Windows or other software?


That should mean an identical board which will work just like before. I'd be surprised if Windows even requested re-activation. There are differently constructed boards for the different form factor cases:

http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/opgx270/SM/EN/replbrd.htm

I don't have another computer, so I can't mount my HDD to it. And doesn't using the HDD Bay ewuire having another computer as well right now?


Yes it would involve access to a second computer, but it may not be necessary to do it.
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#9 Barbarino

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 02:41 PM

The motherboard I ordered is for the same size case. the small form factor.

I am so relieved to know that with the matching number set it should work, thank you for telling me!

I will post another thread about installing the motherboard (and to ensure it is the correct one)when I receive it.

I hope you all will participate, thank you so much!!

#10 hamluis

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 02:57 PM

Can you be more clear? Just what is this "matching number" and...who sent you the replacement board?

Dell documentation, http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/opgx270/SM/EN/replbrd.htm AND http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/opgx270/en/ug/sffabout.htm#1185360 .

Louis




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