Transferring Files From a Broken Computer




Last year I managed to spill water over my Macbook Pro, I am a photographer and a student so I have precious memories and papers on that hard drive that I could no longer access. I was told by Best Buy that it would be $100 to transfer my files to a new computer and from Apple that they do not offer that service. Long story short, I got an iMac. There was absolutely no way that I would take it to Best Buy (it’s really heavy) to have it sitting on a counter along with my Macbook Pro for two days. After weeks of researching and pulling people’s ideas on the topic together, I pulled this task off, at home, for under $50. This method does work for other computer brands however, check into what size screwdriver is needed and how to take apart your specific computer.

Step 1: Materials Needed

-new and old computer

-#00 screwdriver

-USB Universal Drive Adapter

-cup for loose screws

Step 2: Take Apart the Old Computer

Flip your Macbook over and start taking out the screws on the back with the 00 screwdriver. On my 2011 Macbook Pro there are 10 screws. As you take them out, put them immediately in the cup. It will amaze you how tiny those things are!

Step 3: Take Off the Backing

Pry open the backing by putting your finger between the backing and the hinge of the laptop (the black bar). It shouldn’t take much force, if it does you might have missed a screw. Keep the laptop oriented so that the hinge is closest to you.

Step 4: Take Out the Hard Drive

Locate the hard drive, which is in the upper right corner of the laptop. There are four black screws at each corner of the hard drive,the bottom two screws (closest to you) need to be loosened in order to take the hard drive out. Do not take the screws out completely, only loosen them. Pull the plastic tab on the hard drive, it should come out without force.

Step 5: Disconnect the Hard Drive.

There is a black bar that is plugged in to your hard drive, this does take some effort to undo the first time.

Step 6: Connect the Hard Drive to Universal Adapter

Connect the hard drive to the appropriate adapter from the kit you purchased using the same side of the hard drive that was just disconnected from the computer.

Step 7: Turn the Universal Adapter On

Plug in the adapter’s USB cable into your new computer and the power cord into the wall. Look to make sure both the blue light and the green light are both on. The blue light is on the rectangle adapter and indicates that there is a good connection. The green light means that the device is on.

Step 8: Access Your Hard Drive

At this point, your new computer screen should prompt you for a password, if your old computer had one. This is to maintain security of your files.

Step 9: Locate and Transfer Your Files

Find your lost files by clicking users --> your user name --> documents. At this point it is best to open a new finder window and then dragging files or folders into a folder within your new computer.

Step 10: Put Your Computer Back Together

Eject your hard drive and follow steps 1-7 in reverse to put your old computer back together.



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    9 Discussions


    Question 4 months ago on Step 10

    Hi i don't know if you'll be able to help, but is it possible to do the exact same thing but from one macbook pro to another? (They're the same model and have the same graphics).
    Cause I'm in the exact same situation, but I don't own a mac..

    1 answer

    Answer 4 months ago

    Yeah its the same, however if its between two apple computers Id check out the genius bar at an apple store first before buying anything. They can do most transfers between devices.

    Kane Measham-Pywell

    2 years ago

    Great information to know. I have heard that you can plug an ethernet cable into each computer and transfer that way but have never been In that situation or tried it great ible


    2 years ago

    If you like, you can buy very cheap (less then $10 dollars) hard drive case that your hard drive will simply plug into and then you connect that to you new computer via a standard USB cable and you can read the files like a thumb drive. It is so easy and then you also have an auxiliary hard drive for back ups and additional storage.


    2 years ago

    Well done, If I were you though I would have gone one better and bought an external HDD casing. One can always use extra storage

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    I did think of that, but I scrapped my old computer for some extra cash instead! Haha


    2 years ago

    Thank you for posting! Hopefully I never run into the issue, but it's good to know just in case it does happen.