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

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

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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.

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Here's the difference between IDE and SATA

In reply to: Help! Computer is dead but I need files off the Hard Drive

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.

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In reply to: Here's the difference between IDE and SATA

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?

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The enclosure will provide power & communications

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.

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In reply to: The enclosure will provide power & communications

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?

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On the back of the hard drive there're 2 connectors

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.

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another question

In reply to: Help! Computer is dead but I need files off the Hard Drive

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?

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All laptops

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.

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In reply to: All laptops

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

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Why not remove the drive

In reply to: so

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

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In reply to: Why not remove the drive

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.

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