Computer Help forum


Help! Computer is dead but I need files off the Hard Drive

by dweano / April 16, 2013 4:47 AM PDT

Hey guys. I have a problem with my bleeping computer. It was always a piece of crap but a yearish ago it finally died. I can power it up, it powers up for bit, then dies, restarts, etc. Nothing ever making it to the screen. I have no love lost for that thing but I just realized I have files on that computer that I NEED.

The old (dead) computer that has the oh so crucial files on its hard drive is a (don't laugh) Acer Ferrari One 200 Series.

From what I understand by best chance is to physically remove the hard drive and put it in an enclosure and hope the hard drive itself isn't dead (which...I somewhat suspect it is)

My problem is I don't know and can't find the specs of the hard drive. The Acer site says it could be multiple things. Should I take the computer apart and take pics for you guys? I just somehow need to access that hard drive. Even to copy them to my current computer real quick but I need to know what enclosure to get, or even if that is the best idea

If the Hard disk is dead itself am I pretty much screwed?

Thanks for any tips! I know I sound disjointed and rattled I just need to get those files somehow

Post a reply
Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Help! Computer is dead but I need files off the Hard Drive
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Help! Computer is dead but I need files off the Hard Drive
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
What I'd do

What I'd do is take the thing apart enough to be able to see the drive, but not actually remove the drive. All you need to know really is whether it's a mSATA or IDE drive. So just find a couple photos of both via Google or something, compare it to what you see and get the appropriate type of enclosure.

It should be pretty easy to tell the difference between the two from a casual glance once you know what you're looking for. Once you've got the enclosure you can fully extract the drive, but it's probably best to leave it in the computer until you're ready to transplant it. It reduces the odds of anything happening to the drive while you're out getting the enclosure, waiting for it to be shipped to you, etc.

Collapse -
Here's the difference between IDE and SATA
by wpgwpg / April 16, 2013 5:19 AM PDT

Once you remove the covers, what you want to look for is the data cable going into the hard drive. For IDE it will be a flat ribbon cable about 2" wide, for SATA it will be about 1/2" wide. So as Jimmy Greystone says, once you know to look for that, it'll be obvious what kind of hard drive you have. You didn't say how old that drive was, but I can say that prior to around 2005, most hard drives were IDE and in the last 5 or 6 years they've almost all been SATA.

Good luck.

Collapse -
by dweano / April 16, 2013 9:05 AM PDT

Thanks guys! This is the advice I am looking for. Is it only the one cable coming out of a hard drive? The enclosure will power it up and read it and everything?

Collapse -
The enclosure will provide power & communications
by wpgwpg / April 16, 2013 11:25 AM PDT
In reply to: Thanks

to the USB outlet you plug it into. Inside the enclosure there will be two prongs, one supplies power, the other is for data. It's pretty simple to use.

Collapse -
by dweano / April 16, 2013 1:03 PM PDT

The usb will plug into the computer, obviously...then the data cable will vary on the style right? Then the power cable is universal between IDE and mSATA?

Collapse -
On the back of the hard drive there're 2 connectors
by wpgwpg / April 17, 2013 2:05 AM PDT
In reply to: Encloser

On the back of the hard drive there're 2 connectors like sockets, one for power and one for data. These will differ between IDE and SATA. Inside the enclosure there will be two plugs that connect via the sockets on the hard drive. The enclosure has a power connector that plugs into your standard AC outlet and a USB cable that plugs into a port on the computer.

Collapse -
another question
by dweano / April 16, 2013 9:10 AM PDT

Also when I am looking around it looks like there is different sizes of SATA, 2.5, 3.5 9mm slim, etc. How do I determine that? Straight up measurement I guess?

Collapse -
All laptops
by Jimmy Greystone / April 16, 2013 11:03 AM PDT
In reply to: another question

All laptops have 2.5" drives; 3.5" is for desktops, and 9mm slim drives are uncommon, but I am about 99% sure they would use the same mSATA connector as 2.5" drives, so there'd just be a little bit more horizontal play possible in the dock if you had a 9mm drive.

Collapse -
by dweano / April 16, 2013 1:03 PM PDT
In reply to: All laptops

I am basically going to get either a 2.5" IDE or 2.5" mSATA enclosure?

Collapse -
Why not remove the drive
by glb613 / April 16, 2013 9:08 PM PDT
In reply to: so

and take it with you? That way you'll get the correct style of enclosure.

Collapse -
by Jimmy Greystone / April 17, 2013 2:47 AM PDT

Because that introduces significant additional risk of damage to an already suspect drive. It's one thing if someone who knows how to properly transport sensitive electronics does this, it's another entirely if your random person does it.

If in doubt, sending the serial number to Acer should allow them to determine whether the drive used was SATA or IDE. There's probably at least an 80% chance it's SATA, but it's not like an email to Acer's support address will cost much more than a little time to confirm.

Popular Forums
Computer Help 49,613 discussions
Computer Newbies 10,349 discussions
Laptops 19,436 discussions
Security 30,426 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 20,308 discussions
Windows 10 360 discussions
Phones 15,802 discussions
Windows 7 7,351 discussions
Networking & Wireless 14,641 discussions

CNET Holiday Gift Guide

Looking for great gifts under $100?

Trendy tech gifts don't require a hefty price tag. Choose from these CNET-recommended useful and high-quality gadgets.