Data Recovery

How to recover data from your hard drive yourself

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What if you accidentally deleted your important documents or your computer/laptop has stopped working due to a software failure and forgot to back up your files into a hard drive, or a cloud storage system? Don't worry! Those files remain inaccessible but intact on the hard drive.

Here's what you can do by yourself to recover your data from your hard drive. First, stop whatever you're doing on the device which you lost the file and read this on a phone or another computer. This may increase your chances of recovery.

Basically, there are 3 ways to recover your files and transfer them to a working computer or an external hard drive. Even though you are a Windows, Mac, or Linux user, one of the following ways will work for you. Let's learn how to do it easily by following these step-by-step guidelines.

1. Use an Old Hard Drive as an External Hard Drive: (Windows, Mac, Linux)

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Step I. Buy a hard disk enclosure

To place the computer’s hard drive to run it on another computer via a USB port it's a must to have an external system. Make sure to purchase a laptop-sized disk enclosure unless you have a SATA drive that can accommodate both desktop & laptop hard drives.

Step II. Ready a new computer which has the same operating system as your old computer.

It's very important to check whether the new computer has the same operating system because otherwise your hard drive will not be opened after connecting it to the new computer.

As an example, If you were using a computer that has a Windows operating system, you'll need to check whether the new device has Windows operating system on it.

Make sure the working computer's hard drive has enough free space to accommodate the files you want to recover from the dead laptop.

Step III. Remove the hard drive from the dead laptop/desktop and place it in the disk enclosure

Unplugged the dead laptop and remove the panel on the bottom of the laptop with a help of a screwdriver to remove the hard drive. If you want to remove the hard drive from a desktop, remove the side panel of your desktop tower to gain access to the hard drive. Then connect the old hard drive to the enclosure by connecting pins correctly.

As the location of the hard drive and the way of connecting the connector pins are different from one laptop to another make sure to check the user's manual when locating the hard drive.

Step IV. Connect the disk enclosure to the working computer and transfer old files to the working computer

Connect the enclosure which is functioning as an external hard drive to another computer using a USB cable. Then you will be able to copy your files by copying and pasting or clicking and dragging.

When the copying process is over, you can close the program and eject the old hard drive.

2. Connect an Old Hard Drive Using Laptop adapter kit: (Windows, Linux)

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Step I. Buy a hard drive adapter kit

A laptop hard drive adapter kit is needed when plugging a laptop’s hard drive directly into a compatible desktop computer. Make sure to purchase the adapter kit which has the same specifications as your old computer.

As an example, if the device has a 3.5 SATA drive, you need to buy a 3.5 SATA adapter.

Step II. Connect the dead hard drive to the working computer using your drive adapter kit

You can use the adapter kit to plug the old hard drive directly into the motherboard. If you are an IDE drive user, then configure the drive into “slave” mode before connecting it to the IDE ribbon.

The configuration needs to be noted on the hard drive itself & will involve moving a plastic cap over a particular pin or set of pins on the hard drive interface. Slave mode helps to keep your laptop hard drive competing with the desktop’s “master” drive during boot-up.

Step III. Configure your desktop Exit BIOS

To recognize the new drive from your desktop, you need to power on the desktop and open BIOS. For that, click on the standard CMOS Settings or IDE Config, where you will find 4 settings involving master and slave settings. Change all 4 fields into auto-detection. Then exit BIOS and reboot your desktop to detect the new drive.

Step IV. Open the new hard drive and transfer your data

Now you will be able to open your new hard drive easily from File Explorer. Then you can copy your important files to the working computer.

3. Access Old Files Using FireWire cable: (Mac Only)

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Step I. Get ready a FireWire cable and a Mac device

Buy a FireWire cable that helps to connect two mac devices. Make sure to check whether the mac device has enough space to accommodate the recovery files from the dead laptop.

Step II. Boot up the working mac

After connecting the dead Mac to the working Mac using FireWire cable, you have to boot up the Mac in Target Disk Mode. For that,

• Turn on your mac as normal

• Click the Apple icon in the menu bar at the top of the screen.

• Click System Preferences

• Click Startup Disk

• Click Target Disk Mode.

• Reboot your computer to start it in Target Disk Mode

You can simply press the 'T' button to reboot if you are using an older version of macOS.

Step III. Open and transfer your files

Find the dead computer's hard disk on your Mac’s desktop and copy-paste needed files into the working mac device.

What if the working desktop does not recognize the dead drive?

After connecting your dead computer with a working computer to recover data, the targeted dead drive may not appear on the working desktop. This may happen because of a hard drive failure or physical damage to your old computer. If so you should immediately shut the device off to prevent further damage or complete data loss. Continued attempts to access your files or trying to power on your hard drive will cause more crashes.

Due to this potential drive failure, you will need to seek professional help to finish the salvage if you're dealing with files that you absolutely can't afford to lose. Go for a certified professional data recovery service to get the work done correctly.

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Can I recover my data using Apps/software?

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If you've mistakenly deleted anything important and now wish to recover it, YES you can simply use data recovery software or an application to do it on your own. Try some professional data recovery software that helps to get back lost files.

Most file recovery software provides a free trial before charging you. If their scanner reveals that it can likely restore your information then you have to pay and install their full version.

EaseUS, Recuva, and Ontrack can be recommended as very good data recovering software. These applications scan the impacted disks and allow you to search for missing files by file type, name, and other criteria. They'll also display the recently deleted files and inform you whether they're recoverable or not. The procedure is as simple as using any modern app, but the outcome is never assured.

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