How exactly do I put my HDD in another computer so I can retrieve my files?

By Snowbunny
Oct 14, 2007
  1. My software crashed but Best Buy said my hard drive\files are fine, so I would like to retrieve them before I reinstall the software so I don't lose everything.
    I have never done this before so if anyone can please explain to me exactly how this is done or refer me to a site tutorial it would be much appreciated!
    Also, I have a Toshiba a-65 laptop....Does it have to be another Toshiba I put the hdd into or can I do it in any computer?

    Thank you so much for any help you can offer :)
  2. jmjsquared

    jmjsquared TS Booster Posts: 145

    Not difficult at all, Snowbunny...

    Hi there! :wave:

    First, you will need to buy a 21/2 inch to IDE adapter. This can be found for from 9.00 - 50.00 USD at stores like and on-line. It will consist of a standard (fits all) laptop-drive connector and an interface for a desktop (IDE) hard drive. You may have to remove the laptop manufacturer's connector, if it has an unusual configuration. These come apart quite easily and go back on just as easily. But, be GENTLE!, and remember to remove power, battery and memory, in that order, from the laptop.

    Second, you will need access to a working desktop computer with at least one IDE connection available. You can use a Primary or Secondary IDE channel; ie., you can use either connections usually used for HDD's or CD drives. If necessary, you can temporarily disconnect one CD drive in the working desktop. I recommend disconnecting all Secondary IDE Channel devices in the desktop (this avoids worrying about 'master/slave' configurations on the laptop drive you will connect to the desktop.

    Third, simply connect the 21/2 inch laptop drive to the Adapter and connect that to the desktop motherboard as though it were a normal desktop HDD.

    Then, boot the desktop as usual. The BIOS and the operating system will "see" the 'new' laptop drive and install it with no problems (and, probably, no input from you.) You will then be able to access files on the laptop drive as though it were any other folder on the desktop.

    After completing your data recovery, simply reverse the above steps.

    Check here for adapter, Snowbunny:

    Good Luck,:)

  3. BlameCanada

    BlameCanada TS Rookie Posts: 320

    Firstly,there is no guarantee that a Windows CD or Recovery disks would help you here,

    so before you go those routes,as jmjsquared has explained, you could remove the HD from

    the laptop and attach it to any other computer.

    I`ve done a slightly simplified version of what jmjsquared has described

    1.Remove hard drive from laptop with the problem. See HERE

    2.Place it in a USB enclosure.See HERE

    3.Plug that enclosure into the USB socket of your spare computer.

    4.Start up that computer.

    5.It should recognize and install that hard drive.

    6.Click on My Computer.Click on the new drive letter.

    7.Copy personal files off,from My Documents and wherever else you put them.

    Also your email files (.pst for Outlook and .dbx for Outlook Express)
    If you use any other email program,see google You might also have to
    "Show hidden files and folders" (see google).

    8.Run chkdsk while your there.Go to Start/Run/type: chkdsk * /f

    The star * is the drive letter you clicked on in My Computer. eg chkdsk E: /f

    9.Disconnect the USB enclosure and return the Hard drive to the laptop.
  4. jmjsquared

    jmjsquared TS Booster Posts: 145

    Nice post, BlameCanada

    Your's IS more straightforward than my Post. And, your attached directions aren't too confusing !

    Show Off :p

    Also, your advice to SnowBunny to do a "chkdsk /f" is good advice; however, SnowBunny, should not do so from 'Run'. The /f switch will also scan for bad sectors, perhaps resulting in dislocating the drives mount point. So, taking your cue, I recommend checking the problem disk by going to My Computer and right-clicking on the new drive, selecting Properties --> Tools; select "Automatically fix system errors" but de-select "Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors".

    Do you agree, Oh mighty BlameCanada?

    --- JMJsquared :wave:

    P.S.: I saw your politely edited "I`ve done a slightly (greatly :haha:) simplified version of what jmjsquared has described" comment
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