Thursday, April 21, 2011

How To Access Your Disk in an Unresponsive Laptop

I wonder if extra cooling would prevent untimely exits. Another laptop of mine is RIP. From the looks of it, it's the motherboard since the machine won't even go through the ROM sequence. A little whir of the disk then pitch black.

Say you're in a similar situation and you'd like to salvage the data on the disk. One way is to remove the disk from the computer to turn it into an external drive. In my 17 inch Toshiba Satellite, I had to take a few screws off of a small panel next to the fan in the bottom to get to the hard drive. The disk has a clear plastic tab on it for easy removal. But first we have to disconnect it from the laptop so you gently push the disk down with a few fingers to disengage the pins. Then grab it by the tab and pull it up and out of the laptop.

The disk is in a metal cage which you have to remove before you can install it in one of these colorful enclosures, available from Newegg or Staples. Connect the pins of the disk (male) with the enclosure (female), line up the holes and then put in about 4 screws and you got yourself a new USB device and a way to access your old files from another computer.

PS Be careful when handling the disk itself as there are exposed chips that are sensitive to static electricity, which can damage them. I try to handle the disk by the edges and not touch the circuitry. If the machine has any exposed metal, then you could touch it before you begin working to ground yourself and hopefully discharge any static electricity.

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