In this guide I explain how to recover files from a laptop with crashed Windows OS. You can use same technique to recover files from desktop computers. I will be recovering files using Knoppix live Linux CD. You can follow my guide even if you have never used Linux before.
You should be able to use my data recovery guide in one of the following scenarios:
1. Windows OS crashed and your laptop (or desktop) displays BSOD error (example on the picture below).
2. Your computer got infected with viruses or spyware and will not boot to the desktop.
3. Windows will not boot because some boot files are missing or corrupted.
4. You forgot password for your user account.
5. Windows will not load because the hard drive has bad sectors or other minor damage.
6. You accidentally deleted or damaged some Windows system files.
In my example I am using Knoppix version 6.0.1 which is the latest one at the time of writing this guide.
Your Knoppix might look different as they release newer versions, but general file recovery steps will be the same.
Let’s say your external hard drive failed to start. When you connect your hard drive to a computer nothing happens even though it used to work just fine a while ago. The hard drive appears to be dead or it shows some signs of life but will not appear in My Computer. Is your data gone? Can you recover files? Yes, it’s possible.
There is a good chance that your hard drive is still in a good working condition and your data is safe. It’s likely that the failure is related to the circuit board inside the external enclosure or the power supply.
An external hard drive is nothing more than a regular 2.5″ (laptop) or 3.5″ (desktop) hard drive wrapped up in an external enclosure.
You’ll have to find a way to crack the enclosure case wide open. I cannot provide instructions for any single case out there but it should not be very difficult. Use your brain and a small flat head screwdriver.
Let’s say your laptop failed to start but you have some important files on the hard drive you would like to access. Is it possible to recover data from a failed laptop or notebook computer? Yes, it is and the process is relatively simple.
First of all, I assume that the hard drive in your failed laptop is not damaged.The laptop fails to start but the hard drive is in a good working condition.
In order to recover data you will have to access and remove the hard drive. Fortunately in most laptops the hard drive can be easily accessed through a hatch on the bottom. If the hard drive has mounting brackets installed (like in my example), it might be necessary to remove those brackets.
How to recover data from a laptop IDE hard drive.
Let’s start with an IDE hard drive also known as PATA hard drive.
On the picture below you see a regular IDE hard drive. It has two rows of pins on the front side.