OS/hdd crashed, need to back up files

By truflip
Jul 4, 2007
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  1. can i remove the laptop hdd, put it in an external hdd enclosure, plug it in to my USB ports on desktop and see the files? is this possible?
  2. raybay

    raybay TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    It is possible. The problem is that there is seldom enough enough power in a USB port cable to power the drive in the way in needs.

    We have our best luck with a 2.5" to 3.5" hard drive adapter. They are sold at many places, including www.geeks.com and www.cyberguys.com for $4.95 to $9.95. This adapter allows you to put the laptop hdd in a second port of a desktop with full power. You can set the jumpers or whatver you need to do, but you need small jumper clips.
    Then, usually, but now always (it depends on why the laptop harddrive failed), you can access the laptop hdd as a slave and use recover software to copy over the files, or you can use Windows Explorer to drag and drop the files you need to the desktop drive where you can then burn them to a Cd or DVD for reinstallation in the good drive later.
    We advise that once you get this laptop drive turning, you do not turn it off until done... as this may be the last gasp... be prepared to work fast... if it is a bad bearing, the drive will not last long. But many times, the laptop drive has just lost its boot sector or the first 4 mb of the drive which has Windows on it... and you can use your mouse arrow to explore the drive.
    It is useful to know in advance where everything should be. Documents and settings are easy, but other software such as photos, graphics, Quickbooks, Quicken, Outlook, and other files are not as easy to locate.
    Good luck. Let us know how it turned out.
  3. truflip

    truflip Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 590

    I think the hdd enclosure I saw has external AC power.
    those sites will not work for me as I am in Canada. best bet would be to pick them up locally.

    So what youre saying is that, I dont need to initialize or format the drive or anyhting liek that to be able to access it as my slave or external hdd? i can simply put it in a 2.5" hdd enclosure with power, plug it in and start copying files from it? thanks very much for your reply :)
  4. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,029   +222

    > I dont need to initialize or format the drive

    NOT if you want to see/keep/copy the file on it!
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