Most Dell's have a green plastic caddy.
You squeeze the tabs together and it slides out.
You bend it a bit and the hard drive pops out of the green caddy.
In most other cases, the hard drive is held in with 4 screws - either 2 on each side, or 4 on the bottom
Don't forget the SATA connector and the power connector - they have to be unplugged also.
A Desktop hard drive is generally 3.5" wide - where a Laptop drive is usually 2.5" wide
Screws are usually the same - 2 in either side, or 4 on the bottom.
Easiest way to backup is to use a USB "caddy". You plug the drive into the caddy and a power source, then you plug the USB end into a working computer.
You copy over the Users directory and that'll copy most all data. Be sure to ask her what she really wants to save.
You'll also need a place to put it - since you may not want to store all of your mom's stuff on the system that you're using to recover it.
An external USB drive is relatively cheap - and then you can teach her how to do backups on her own also!
Finally, FYI, the more that you use a dead/dying hard drive, the more likely it is that you wont' be able to backup anything from it (that it'll die completely).
So treat your first try as your only try - and grab everything that you can.
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