How to Recover Hard Drive Data from Dead Computer?

Do you know you can still recover hard drive data from a dead computer? This article is an ultimate guide, teaching you retrieve hard drive data from a dead computer at seconds.

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Apr 10, 2023 • Filed to: Answer Hard Drive Problems • Proven solutions

Some of you might be under the impression that a dead computer means data loss, but that's not the truth. In reality, we can easily recover hard drive data from dead laptops through professional help. In this article, I have compiled a step-by-step guide including diagnosis and treatment related to a dead computer. Let's get down to recover your precious data with our hand-picked data recovery methods.

Can You Tell Your Computer Is Dead or Not?

If you press the Power Button and nothing happens, does that mean your computer is dead? The blank screen staring at you, which might send chills down your spine, but it's not the time to worry about it yet. The dead screen does not necessarily mean that you are facing a dead computer. To be sure that you have a dead computer, you need to perform a few tests and you will encounter two scenarios as followed:

1. Nothing Happen!

If the computer doesn't even breathe when you switch it on, it might indicate a dead computer. But you still need to check the following options. If all answers to the following three questions are yes, it indicates a dead computer.

2. Your computer is dead!

Once you meet the following situations, then your computer might be dead.

How to Remove Hard Drive from Computer?

If your system crashes, you can recover hard drive data from a dead laptop by removing and attaching it to a functional computer. the hard drive has malfunctioned, you can remove it and insert a new one. Hard drive removal is easier than you think (in most cases), so you can save a lot of money by following our easy guide.

You can easily remove the hard drive at home. All you need is this guide and a screwdriver.

Step 1 Unplug Wires

Turn off the dead computer and remove all wires and connections. Make sure the switches are off, or you may get an electric shock.

remove wires from the server

Step 2 Open Tower

Tower, more commonly known as CPU, needs to be unscrewed. Use a screwdriver removing the sidewall so as to access the CPU.

open tower of server

Step 3 Locate Hard Drive

The hard drive is a rectangular metal box similar size to a small book. It can be removed or fixed to the tower. Usually, it is placed in a cage or on a rail. Now you can use the screwdriver to remove the hard drive.

locate hard drive of a desktop

Removing a hard drive from a laptop can be a bit harder. Since the hard drive location varies from model to model. Let me describe the basic steps

Step 1 Unplug

Turn off the battery and press the power button for 20 seconds to switch it off and drain the remaining power

Step 2 Open Access Panel

Most of the hard drives can be accessed through the access panels. Flip over your dead laptop to locate the access panel, which might display a hard drive icon. Unscrew the panel so that you can slide out the hard drive.

open access panel of a corrupted laptop

Step 3 Locate Hard Drive

Now the hard drive should be right in front of your eyes. It is a small rectangle metal box. You can either press a button or unscrew the connector to take out the hard drive.

locate a dead laptop hard drive

How to Recover Hard Drive Data from Dead Computer | 3 Methods?

After knowing how to disassemble your hard drive from your laptop or desktop computer, you must be eager to know how to recover your hard drive data from a dead computer.

Here comes two ways that require you to disassemble your hard drive from computers.

Method 1. Use A Hard Drive Enclosure - Cost-Effective Tool!

It is known that an internal hard drive is built into your computer and is not an external device. However, it can be turned into an external drive to get data back from a dead computer. And using a hard drive enclosure can help you realize the idea.

Step 1 Gather Tools

To start the process, firstly, you need to gather some mandatory tools. In our case, what we need is Hard Drive Disk Enclosure. An enclosure is a device that is capable of turning your internal hard drive into an external one. It can be connected through a USB port. Worth mentioning, make sure the enclosure model matches your hard drive.

a hard drive disk enclosure

Step 2 Disassemble Hard Drive

Now comes to disassembling the hard drive, you have to be careful to avoid further damages. On the desktop, the hard drive is usually located in a metal rack in the front part of the CPU. You can use a screwdriver to remove the hard drive from the tower. While on the laptop, you can reach it through the access panel at the bottom. Once located, you might need to unscrew a few parts to take out the hard drive. For more specific disassembling steps, you can jump to Part 2.

Step 3 Find Another Computer

To recover hard drive data from a dead laptop, you will need to transfer it to a well-functioning PC, which should match the platform or operating system of your dead computer. Also, make sure that the new PC has enough space to accommodate the transfer data.

Step 4 Attach Drive to Disk Enclosure

Then you need to assemble the tools. There is no rocket science in this step. You just need to attach the connecting pins of the hard drive to the enclosure. The connections differ from model to model, it is suggested you figure it out on your own.

assemble hard drive to disk enclosure

Step 5 Connect Enclosure to The Computer

Now connect the enclosure to the new computer through the USB port. The computer will automatically open the drive. If not, you can access it through File Explorer.

Step 6 Transfer Data

Once all your data from the dead desktop or laptop is accessible, you can copy-paste it to the working computer.

Method 2. Get an Adaptor Kit - The Cheapest Tool!

Not only can a hard drive enclosure turn an internal hard drive into an external hard drive, but also an adapter kit can manage to do that.

Step 1 Get Adaptor Kit

First, you need to buy an adaptor kit matching the specifications of your dead laptop or desktop.

locate a laptop hard drive

Step 2 Remove Hard Drive

Now you should unplug your dead computer and fish out the hard drive. Open the access panel of your dead laptop to take out the hard drive. Open the CPU to get the hard drive from the dead desktop computer.

Step 3 Find Another Computer

You must find a working desktop computer to attach your old hard drive. It is preferred that the new one has the same operating system as the dead computer.

Step 4 Attach Hard Drive

To attach the old hard drive to the new computer first, unplug it and open the tower. Then use the Adaptor Kit to attach it to the motherboard.

attach hard drive to computer

Step 5 Set Configurations

Configure the hard drive to Slave mode. Now switch on the PC and go to BIOS. Open IDEConfig or CMOSSettings and change all the settings to Auto-detection.

set up your hard drive configuration

Step 6 Transfer Data

Now reboot the computer. The computer will probably automatically detect the new hard drive. You can also access it through File Explorer and copy-paste the data to the computer or transfer it to a cloud or USB.

However, if you want an easier way without removing the hard drive from a dead computer. Just follow my lead!

Method 3. Wondershare Recoverit Software - The Most Convenient Way!

Wondershare Recoverit is used globally to recover data from computers, hard drives, storage cards, SD cards, and other devices. This powerful software is developed to get you away with data loss troubles in the simplest way.

Below comes my comment on it regarding recovering hard drive data from a dead computer. After weighing its pros and cons, you can download it and have a try.

I am sure you have launched it to your Windows or Mac computer, now follow the steps to recover hard drive data from your dead computer.

Step 1 Prepare to Recover

You need to gather the essentials to start the process. You need a bootable CD/DVD or USB together with a working computer

Step 2 Create Bootable Media

First, launch Recoverit. Then select "Recover from Crash Computer". After that, insert your USB flash drive and go ahead to select your USB device. Press "Start"

recover from crash computer through recoverit

Second, a "Format" dialogue box will appear, asking for permission to format your USB. Make sure that you have backed up the USB. Click the "Format" button to start creating bootable media

click recoverit format button to create a bootable USB

Third, connect the bootable USB device to the dead computer, restart it and configure "BIOS" to boot from the USB flash drive.

use bootable USB to boot the dead computer

Now you need to scan the dead computer and then choose the files you wish to retrieve. And connect a new working hard drive to the dead computer for storage purposes. Soon you will feel pleasant as you recover data from a dead computer.

Regarding the above three methods, each has its advantages and disadvantages.

[Operation] Using Wondershare Recoverit software will be the most convenient way to retrieve files from a dead computer, because there is no need to disassemble the internal hard disk. While the other two methods require you to remove your hard drive from the dead computer.

[Cost] It is the cheapest way to buy an adaptor kit, and get the internal disk out of the computer by yourself. Also, purchasing a hard drive enclosure will be a relatively cost-effective way. But need to mention, if you are not familiar with the process of disassembling a hard drive and damage the hard drive accidentally during the process, it will cost thousands to get it repaired.


The article demonstrated that your apparent data loss caused by a dead computer can be recovered through the above three efficient methods. Hope that you have successfully saved your hard drive files through the steps. Good luck! And you can click the following free download button to get quick access to Wondershare Recoverit.

Other popular Articles From Wondershare

Recoverit author

Theo Lucia

chief Editor

Home > Resources > Answer Hard Drive Problems > How to Recover Hard Drive Data from Dead Computer?