DIY…uhh…Tuesday: Laptop Data Recovery

I woke up this morning in a panic – WHAT DID I FORGET TO DO? DIY-Friday, of course. I started the beer-drinking, BBQ, and pool parties a few hours too early on Friday. My apologies to the readers who were lost without a project this weekend, but, to be honest, who’s going to DIY on Memorial Day weekend?

So, for a very business-like DIY post, fit for a Tuesday, let’s explore laptop-data recovery:

WikiHow offers us two main methods:

Method 1

1. Purchase a “Laptop Hard Drive Adaptor Kit” to allow you to plug your laptop hard drive into a standard PC (2.5 TO 3.5 inch IDE HDD).
2. Find a functioning standard PC that can read the file system that was on the laptop. One would need Windows 2k/XP or a Linux distribution to read an NTFS/FAT file system, whereas only a Linux distribution can read the EXT3 file system.
3. Open up the case and add the laptop drive with adaptor kit as a secondary HDD. Be sure that you have set this drive to either Cable Select, or Slave, depending on the configuration of the system, and the available IDE ports.
4. Copy the data you need from the laptop drive to the main drive of the PC, or consider using removable storage for small files.

Method 2

1. Purchase or cannibalize a 2.5″ USB 2.0 or Firewire drive enclosure.
2. Find a functioning standard PC with an open USB port (or firewire port, as applicable) that can read the file system that was on the laptop. One would need Windows 2k/XP or a Linux distribution to read an NTFS/FAT file system, whereas only a Linux distribution can read the EXT3 file system.
3. Plug it in, wait for the tones (and/or mount it if that is necessary in this system)
4. Copy the data you need from the laptop drive to the main drive of the PC, or consider using removable storage for small files.

Method 1 is probably the more straightforward process. You can buy an adaptor kit for about five bucks on Ebay.

Now, if your situation is really, really bad—and not only is your OS install screwed up, but you actually deleted a partition with data on it—do not despair. If the FBI can recover “deleted data,” so should you. A commenter in this forum, offers a good solution: Stellar Phoenix Recovery Software. There are other good software options out there too.

What about a bum harddrive motor? This is pretty cool:

Leave a Reply