Introduction: Retrieve Data From a Dead Computer

This involves removing the hard drive from the dead machine and making it appear to be an external HDD on another computer.

You will need:
A second computer
An external HDD

Note: The external HDD must be of the same type as the target HDD.

Step 1: Disassembly

The name says it all.
I am using a 60GB iomega portable usb powered HDD. this is good because it uses a Laptop HDD and i want to get files from a laptop. I you are trying to get file off a PC then you will need a different external disk.

Once you have removed the dick from its enclosure gently disconnect the PCB. This is the bit that controls the drive and connects to a usb port..

Step 2: Disassembly 2

Open the target computer and remove the hard drive.

Step 3: Conect Up

Very simple.

Plug the PCB into the new drive. Be careful not to bent any of the pins of flex the board too much, it was never designed for this kind of abuse.

Step 4: It Works!

Or not.

Plug it into a computer via usb and it should appear as a removable storage device.

For desk top drives (SATA ?) You may be able to connect it to a spare port in you machine but i haven't tried this.

Please leave comments and criticisms.

Good Luck!

Comments

author
bripab009 made it! (author)2016-03-27

I found this tutorial quite useful and helped me recovered a lot of deleted files from my computer hard drive. Here is the step by step guide:
http://www.imoresoft.com/data-recovery.html

author
tonyo2 made it! (author)2014-09-09

Loved this blog post will try & experiment in case of my
raid 5 recovery, if need arises like
in emergency or so.

http://www.easydatarecovery.ie/raid-recovery-2/raid-5-recovery/

author
theargha made it! (author)2013-02-25

thanx for the link.

author
panchavanparivendhan made it! (author)2012-04-18

well,u see my old laptop got locked with an unknown password and it had a lot of information and projects inside it.anyway i'll try ur instructables. :-|

author
hornbadoing made it! (author)2011-09-21

My old computer crapped out on me a few days ago.. i just pulled the HD out and put it in my newer computer along with the other one.. more memory and i have all mo ld stuff.. and it was free..... sooo....

author
jaketeater made it! (author)2011-01-07

I used to use an old HD enclosure, now I think that a better way would be to use a Live CD. That way those that don't feel comfortable removing a hard drive and dismantling a an external HD. Besides some enclosures wont except some HDs.
Anyway, this guide has a few different recover methods that use Live CDs. 
The Hard Drive Recovery Guide for Non-Geeks
All of the methods are in plain language.

author
HBU made it! (author)2010-12-31

OMG! LMAO. As a 20 yr geek, that is just SOOOOO funny on so many different levels

author
ryzzey made it! (author)2009-06-05

Quote "Once you have removed the dick from its enclosure gently disconnect the PCB."

You might want to check this sentence!!!

author
Guard13007 made it! (author)Guard130072010-04-19

 Oo *promptly dies of laughter*

author
SmAsH! made it! (author)SmAsH!2010-01-05

LMAO!!!

author
metal-matt made it! (author)metal-matt2009-10-17

hahahahah! sounds like a neardy sex joke to me lol

author
XOIIO made it! (author)2010-03-13

Pretty cool. What kind of laptop is that? It looks just like mine.

author
infernisdiem made it! (author)2010-02-18

I have a USB thing that cost like $30, and it reads SATA, ATA, and IDE HDD, and all you have to do is pull the HDD from the dead computer, and plug this into it, it even comes with a power brick with adaptors to supply power to the hard drive (more used for the desktop HDD) thought I'd let you know, considering it is cheaper, and it works on about 99% of the hard drives out there.

author
infernisdiem made it! (author)infernisdiem2010-02-18

oh, it also opens the HDD like an external HDD allowing you to view all the files, and worse come to worse, you have to change promission from the old computer, to the one reading the HDD, which is really easy

author
matstermind made it! (author)matstermind2010-03-09

whats the name of it?

author
diyhopeful made it! (author)2010-02-16

In matters of PC use and helpful innovations I have a lot less background than many forum contributors, but I was reminded of the way I happened to be drawn into an inelegant approach to this problem. After installing an HD from an older PC into a newer one with an open bay (with inconvenience and some fumbling) I learned there was such a thing as an IDE to USB dongle, less than $5.00 on Ebay.  I pulled an unused power cable though a hole in the desktop PC base and plugged it into the HD connector and connected  the dongle between the  HD IDE and PC USB hub. I found it was also easy then to browse the couple other HD drives I had accumulated (for retrieving earlier files). Never had any problems, but wonder if  anyone sees a risk in this. But really, I would like to hear from anyone whether this or any way of creatng a secondary HD could be used to copy the entire contents of the primary for use as a system backup in the event of the C drive crashing.

author
techman9 made it! (author)2009-07-18

check your spelling on step 1

author
Tungston made it! (author)2009-05-31

Keep in mind if you do this that the Hard drive came from another computer, and all files will be inaccessible. It gave me a headache for awhile, I thought all our family photos were destroyed. You have to change the users inside the properties from the old computer to the new one.

author
webman3802 made it! (author)2009-04-17

There are also available external HD enclosures in various sizes and connections, which may be a cheaper option than buying a complete drive, since the main part you need is the IDE/SATA -to-USB converter. It's also worth noting that this will only work if the HD itself is not damaged. In my experience, half the time it is the HD that fails, whether due to a physical failure or the corruption of key sectors. If this is the case, then the data may or may not be retrievable, depending on the problem (and whether or not you work for the CIA).

author
fungus amungus made it! (author)2009-04-17

Spell check on step 1 :)

author
Joe Martin made it! (author)2009-04-17

You just might want to remember that newer laptops will use SATA so you will need to use a external HD that has SATA ports and not IDE. :)

About This Instructable

40,124views

30favorites

License:

More by Orangutanlibrarian:Make plastic parts from scratchRetrieve data from a dead computer
Add instructable to: