Back to Basics: The Hard Drive
A hard drive is a storage device that stores your data files, applications and operating system. Other computer components work together to display information stored on your hard drive. Hard drives are crucial because without them, your operating system wouldn’t load and you wouldn’t be able to save anything.
Commonly, computer components may fail at some point. One of those components being your hard drive. When a computer’s hard drive fails to boot, it can be nerve wrecking as there’s a risk of losing all your data, but here’s a few ways to recover data from an unbootable hard drive.
How to recover your data from a hard drive that won’t boot
Use data recovery software
When your computer fails to boot from a hard drive, you can use data recovery software. This will save salvageable data from your failed hard drive to an external storage device.
This is done by creating a bootable disk. A blank USB is connected to the computer and the recovery software will create a bootable disk for you. Once it’s connected to your computer, you would need to change your boot sequence settings in BIOS. After you boot from the USB and run the software, you will see options to select the drive you want to scan. You can then select the files you would like to recover.
How to change your computer boot sequence in BIOS
- Turn on your computer, and while it’s blank, press the F10, F6, or F2 key. This will display your BIOS settings menu. Once in BIOS go to boot settings, you will see an option that says “System ConfigureBoot Options”. Then there will be instructions on how to change the boot order.
Manually transfer data
The first thing you should do is kill power from the computer complexly. Do so by powering off the computer with the power button, unplugging its power cable, and performing a discharge by pressing the power button five times.
This is extremely important as you run the risk of seriously hurting yourself. Never reach inside a computer that is powered on. Follow the steps above.
Next you should open your computer’s case, locate the hard drive, disconnect its cables, remove its screws, and take it out of its casing. The hard drive should then be placed into a hard drive enclosure and connected to a new computer. The computer should be rebooted from its operating system’s main drive to access your hard drive data. Files then can be copied from the hard drive and moved to a new storage device.
Though it’s good to have these options for recovery if something like this takes place, it’s always good to have a backup plan. You should always store data somewhere secure, such as an external hard drive, a USB or cloud storage.