Explain method to externally access a computers hard drive

By dawnbomb
Sep 2, 2012
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  1. I know enough about computers to follow advanced instructions, but ive never dealt with WHATEVER my friend did to my computer, and I dont really care, but I need to reformat it, and save (read: backup) the hard drive. heres exactly whats up (simplified) , and I need a explanation of how to.

    -Computer can turn on, but it wont do anything
    - you cannot hold F12 or delete or anything, because not even the first text appears
    - I cannot get a disk, USB, or anything else to boot from, because it cannot get that far in loading what a basic computer is, to even do that
    - it can not respond to any kind of keyboard or mouse input and stays completly black (altho a diffrent shade of black from either a off moniter or a powered moniter with a off computer, so I know the moniter is getting SOMETHING, just nothing that does anything
    -it is not a faulty video cord, it works fine on other computers I own, and trying other monitors + cords doesn't work either.
    -I have plenty enough space to do it the wrong way and install another OS while one is already installed and boot from that to backup the hard drive, but the computer clearly cant even show anything, let alone receive disk information (or mouse or keyboard input to hit next anyway) so that option is null
    -It is not overheated, or underheated, nor is it fan ishues, or anything else stupid, its clearly however more then a virus (not to say a virus is also not present, but unless some uber tier virus hit the net recently, a virus is not the cause...nor does it matter)

    -I want to either, preferably without taking it apart, access the harddrive from another computer, I have pretty much any cord it would require, or to put it diffrently, I have never needed a cord I did not own in the last year
    -I asume sence it stays powered on (altho it doesn't do anything past that) that the harddrive and disk drive the computer has are readable, it just cant do anything about because it cant load anything to do anything, so I asume theres some method to plug the computer itself into another computer and access the hard drive as a external, or something to access it from another computer


    short of taking apart my computer with a screwdriver, how do I access the hard drive externally? (and no I do not want someone to reply take it to a future shop or something)

    thanks in advance, I have never had a computer that couldn't emit video, or rather, cant even get to the process to emit video, and honestly have no idea how to fix it, il just reformat.
  2. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,070   +1,181

    Lets slow down and backup for a bit. You don't even need a hard drive in the system for it to post a screen. Unless you are simply trying to recover data, taking the drive out and connecting it to another computer is not going to gain you anything.
    • Disconnect the power cord from the power supply.
    • Take out all cards within the PC. If you don't have on-board graphics keep the graphics card in the PC.
    • Disconnect all drives, DVD's and HDD's.
    • Take out your memory modules so you can test them one at a time.
    • Pull out the coin size motherboard battery and put it back a few minute later.
    • Insert a memory module (try a different module later if you have more than one).
    • Make sure the monitor is connected
    • Connect the power cord to the power supply
    Try and boot the system and then let us know what you see happening.
    • Are there any lights blinking or illuminated?
    • Are the fans spinning?
  3. dawnbomb

    dawnbomb Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Sorry, nvm I got it. hard to do things the hard way and rip the harddrive out >.> but its reformatted now.

    thx anyway
  4. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,263   +215

    Sounds really fishy to me. How did you go from not wanting to open the computer, and a computer with no POST to a formatted HD and a fixed computer.

    Sounds like you took the HD out even though you didn't want to, and formatted it elsewhere, then maybe put it back and it worked. But, I can't imagine a scenario where that would actually have worked. Like CC said, HD doesn't have anything to do with POST. Those problems you outlined were not going to be fixed by formatting a hard drive, because those problems all occur before anything on the hard drive is ever accessed, at least in an OS sense.

    Also, what you were wanting to do, afaik, isn't possible on "PC"s. Macs can go into a "target" mode, where then they act like an external HD to another Mac (or PC maybe, never tried).
  5. Zoltan Head

    Zoltan Head TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 268   +27

    It must be one of those new ones with the BIOS on the HDD! ;):confused:
    hood6558 likes this.
  6. hood6558

    hood6558 TechSpot Booster Posts: 288   +43

    On 50% of my service calls it turns out to be that that VGA cable was plugged into the wrong VGA port after they moved it to another room (on systems with on board & dedicated video cards). 30% of them accidentally flipped the power switch off on the power supply (and didn't know it existed). 10% of them had metal objects jammed into USB ports (presumably by children, but you never know!).
    Most of the rest of them just screwed up windows and had to be shown where to click System Restore. Once in a blue moon I'll actually have to fix something. Usually just a clean install of Windows after the malware had it's way.


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