Jump to content


Register a free account to unlock additional features at BleepingComputer.com
Welcome to BleepingComputer, a free community where people like yourself come together to discuss and learn how to use their computers. Using the site is easy and fun. As a guest, you can browse and view the various discussions in the forums, but can not create a new topic or reply to an existing one unless you are logged in. Other benefits of registering an account are subscribing to topics and forums, creating a blog, and having no ads shown anywhere on the site.

Click here to Register a free account now! or read our Welcome Guide to learn how to use this site.


Recovering data from dead laptop hard drive

  • Please log in to reply
3 replies to this topic

#1 danpurman


  • Members
  • 3 posts
  • Local time:01:39 PM

Posted 03 March 2015 - 12:51 PM

Computer novice here, so laymans terms as much as possible please.

Old laptop will not boot up.  Some of the data has been backed up but not all.  I would like to recover remaining data.  I bought an IDE/SATA connecter and removed the hard drive from dead computer. When I connect to working computer and attempt to view the old hard drive (F drive on "my computer") it says "you need to format the disk in drive F before you can use it." When I click "format disk" it warns that all data will be erased from disk if I continue so I cancel the operation.


I tried a third party software like Recuva and Undelete Plus. Recuva scanned the disk for photos and found random jpegs and gifs that appear to be stock photos and web browser content, not my actual photos I have taken.  Undelete Plus scan only found 3 deleted pictures and would not let me view them without purchasing the full version.


I have done this in the past and was able to view content on a different computer's drive and easily transfer to another computer and external HD.  I have not encountered this formatting issue before.  Both computers I am using in this case are Windows Vista if that matters.


Is the hard drive physically unable to recover the data, meaning it is damaged in some way?  Do I have to format the disk regardless and delete the data, and then use the third party software to recover the deleted data? Any help to recover the data without additional expense would be appreciated.



BC AdBot (Login to Remove)


#2 RolandJS


  • Members
  • 4,552 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Austin TX metro area
  • Local time:01:39 PM

Posted 03 March 2015 - 01:47 PM

Do not format the HD, period, not until all efforts at file-recovery are tried.  Format erases the FAT table and DIR table, making recovery more difficult. It might be possible to USB-stick boot something similar to Acronis True Image [or any well-known powerful backup/restore/clone software], and clone or Directory copy from the problematic HD onto any other known-good internal or external media.  I mention this method 'cause sometimes one of my external HDs generates the same message within Windows 7, and the only good fix is what I mentioned above this sentence.  After getting my stuff back, I let Windows 7 scan & fix [no format needed, yet] and all is well again.

Edited by RolandJS, 03 March 2015 - 01:50 PM.

"Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee."  -- Ben Franklin revisited.


Backup, backup, backup! -- Lady Fitzgerald (w7forums)

Clone or Image often! Backup... -- RockE (WSL)

#3 dc3


    Bleeping Treehugger

  • Members
  • 30,815 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Sierra Foothills of Northern Ca.
  • Local time:11:39 AM

Posted 03 March 2015 - 03:25 PM

You can use a program like Ubuntu to recover your data.  Watch the video below to see how it is used.



You can download Ubuntu here.

Family and loved ones will always be a priority in my daily life.  You never know when one will leave you.





#4 ranchhand_


  • Members
  • 1,778 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Midwest
  • Local time:01:39 PM

Posted 03 March 2015 - 05:21 PM

Sometimes normal data retrieval utilities balk when reading graphics files. I have found that trying various utilities is about you can do; if you reformat you lose everything, as RolandJS said above. In addition, your old hard drive may be in the process of totally failing, so the less you stress it the better.

A couple of utilities I have used in the past with success:



UBCD: http://ubcd.sourceforge.net/download.html

Dial down about 1/2 way to the "Mirror Sites" section and choose one;  after burning to a CD, reboot with it in the DVD drive. In the opening screen, scroll down (use the keyboard arrows) to the Parted Magic option and press Enter. Hopefully your HDD will be recognized, and see if you can access from there.



This is a "payfer", but the test download is free and it has a very good reputation. If it sees all your files then you purchase the program and most likely it will access them.

You slave the corrupted drive to a good system, install this on the good drive, then target the corrupted drive when program is opened.

Edited by ranchhand_, 03 March 2015 - 05:23 PM.

Help Requests: If there is no reply after 3 days I remove the thread from my answer list. For further help PM me.

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users