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Saving the hard drive contents of a dead laptop.


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#1
Nate7410

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I'm getting a new computer to replace my laptop. The power jack on the laptop doesn't work, and the battery is now dead, so I have no way to turn it on. I just want to know the easiest way to transfer files from the hard drive of the laptop onto my new computer.

Is there a way I can do this myself without going to a professional? What are my options?

EDIT: The laptop is an HP Pavilion zd7010us, and the new computer is an HP desktop, if that helps any.

Edited by Nate7410, 16 May 2007 - 02:47 PM.

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#2
piper

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Hi Nate7410. Welcome to Geeks to Go!

You can absolutely transfer the data yourself. It will require an external USB enclosure for the laptop's hard drive (see this example). You'll take the hard drive out of the laptop, insert it into the enclosure, plug it into the USB port on the new desktop, and you should be able to browse the data.

You may run into some issues with folder/file ownership. If you do, here are some instructions I snagged from dsenette.

How to take ownership of a folder

Note You must be logged on to the computer with an account that has administrative credentials. If you are running Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition, you must start the computer in safe mode, and then log on with an account that has Administrative rights to have access to the Security tab.
If you are using Windows XP Professional, you must disable Simple File Sharing. By default, Windows XP Professional uses Simple File sharing when it is not joined to a domain.
For additional information about how to do this, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
307874 How to disable simplified sharing and set permissions on a shared folder in Windows XP


To take ownership of a folder, follow these steps:
  • Right-click the folder that you want to take ownership of, and then click Properties.
  • Click the Security tab, and then click OK on the Security message (if one appears).
  • Click Advanced, and then click the Owner tab.
  • In the Name list, click your user name, or click Administrator if you are logged in as Administrator, or click the Administrators group. If you want to take ownership of the contents of that folder, select the Replace owner on subcontainers and objects check box.
  • Click OK, and then click Yes when you receive the following message:

    You do not have permission to read the contents of directory <folder name>. Do you want to replace the directory permissions with permissions granting you Full Control?.

    All permissions will be replaced if you press Yes.[/code]
    Note <folder name> is the name of the folder that you want to take ownership of.

  • Click OK, and then reapply the permissions and security settings that you want for the folder and its contents.
How to take ownership of a file

Note You must be logged on to the computer with an account that has administrative credentials.

To take ownership of a file, follow these steps:
  • Right-click the file that you want to take ownership of, and then click Properties.
  • Click the Security tab, and then click OK on the Security message (if one appears).
  • Click Advanced, and then click the Owner tab.
  • In the Name list, click Administrator, or click the Administrators group, and then click OK.

    The administrator or the Administrators group now owns the file. To change the permissions on the files and folders under this folder, go to step 5.
  • Click Add.
  • In the Enter the object names to select (examples) list, type the user or group account that you want to give access to the file. For example, type Administrator.
  • Click OK.
  • In the Group or user names list, click the account that you want, and then select the check boxes of the permissions that you want to assign that user.
  • When you are finished assigning permissions, click OK.

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#3
Nate7410

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Thanks Linda. :whistling:

How do I know what size the hard drive is, and what size enclosure to get? Is it fairly standardized? I don't know what hard drive the laptop has, except that it holds 60GB. I really don't know a lot about hardware components.

I'll give this a try. I've never taken my laptop apart before. How difficult is it to remove the hard drive?

Edited by Nate7410, 16 May 2007 - 03:10 PM.

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#4
piper

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Here are the instructions for removing/replacing the hard drive.

Laptop hard drives are 2.5", as opposed to 3.5" for desktops (a big thanks to Phil for this clarification!). This is physical size, not capacity. So be sure when choosing an enclosure, it says 2.5"
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#5
Phil

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You can also get converters to convert laptop hard drives to enable them to be connected to IDE channels on a desktop PC. I have a whole bunch here. I bought all mine on eBay, imported from Hong Kong, but you may be able to get them in some really good computer stores.

If you're comfortable with the insides of a desktop PC, this is a cheaper and faster alternative to a USB enclosure for the drive. This will also allow you to keep the drive in your new desktop PC permanently. This would avoid you wasting any of the space on the new hard drive that will come with it.

If you're not comfortable with this then LindaGail's suggestion would work great. I have a couple of HP laptops and the hard drives are relitively easy to remove. 2 screws on 1 laptop and 3 on the other. The 3rd screw on the newer laptop is part of HPs new security initiative I think. They clearly assume that nobody is determined enough to remove 3 whole screws to steal your data.

~Phil~
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#6
Tyger

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I saw a $10.00 adapter kit at Compusa for installing a 2.5 inch drive in a 3.5 inch bay. You would only need to have a UDMA IDE cable with two connectors, some machines come with only one connector, to be able to make your drive a slave in a desktop PC. That way you wouldn't have to get the drive enclosure, but the enclosure will let you use the drive for backing up your files, and will be quite portable, so it may actually be a better deal.
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#7
Nate7410

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Okay, I have an enclosure, and I removed the hard drive from my laptop, but now I'm having another problem.. the hard drive has a metal casing thing around it, and it won't fit in the enclosure with it on, and I can't get the screws to come loose.. I have the smallest Phillips screwdriver I could find, plus a little one that came with the enclosure, but the screws won't budge. :whistling: I don't know what to do now.
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#8
Nate7410

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I'm so depressed right now. I just bought a set of precision screwdrivers from Radioshack and I still can't do it. The screws just won't move. I'm ready to quit for good.
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#9
Nate7410

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Okay, new update.. I finally decided to just hook up the drive and plug it in without fitting the whole thing into the enclosure, and at first it worked. But then while I was transferring some things from it, it slowed down and basically stopped, and from then on, my whole computer was basically frozen.. I couldn't open or run anything. When I unplugged the hard drive, everything started working again. But now I'm afraid that I've messed it up for good.

There is still a lot of stuff on that hard drive that is important to me... but I'm starting to think that it's gone for good.
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#10
Phil

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A drive did that to me. It was unfortunately dead but...

Shutdown your computer then plug the drive in again. Start your computer back up. If anything is wrong with the drive, it'll try to scan it.

~Phil~
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#11
Nate7410

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I just tried that, and nothing... the computer wouldn't even boot up while the drive was plugged in. I guess that means I'm out of luck. :whistling:
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#12
bobmad

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How are you powering the external (old laptop) drive?

Are you SURE that all cables are connected correctly and securely?

The biggest downside to not putting drive in the enclosure is connections coming loose.
Check the simple easy stuff and remember to breathe. (out with the bad air in with the good)
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#13
Nate7410

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Thanks for the reply. I think the connections were okay; I didn't fit it into the enclosure, but I had it securely into the USB adapter and the light was on. It doesn't have its own power supply, apparently it is bus powered. I suppose I could try another cable, and I probably will someday, but I won't get my hopes up.

If it is lost, it's lost.. I'll survive.
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