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5 Ways to Recover Data From a Hard Drive That Won't Boot

Amy Dennis
Amy Dennis Originally published Nov 23, 23, updated Jan 18, 24
My hard drive won't boot the operating system and my project documents are on the hard drive. Please, how do I get them, my defense is in a few days?

Have you tried everything to boot your laptop, and it's still not working? You don't need to worry. We've prepared a guide to recovering files from a hard drive that won't boot. Thus, even though your laptop won't boot, you won't lose any data.

First, we'll cover all the causes of the problem. Then, we'll show you the five best methods to recover data from a laptop that won't boot. You'll salvage files quickly and get them to a secure location. Let's dive in.

Table of Content
    1. Recover Data From an Unbootable Laptop Hard Drive Using a Recovery Tool
    2. Recover Data From a Hard Drive That Won't Boot by Booting From a USB Drive
    3. Use System Restore to Fix a Laptop That Won't Boot and Retrieve Data
    4. Remove the Laptop Hard Drive That Won't Boot and Put It in Another Device
    5. Ask for Professional Help

Reasons Your Laptop Won't Boot

There are many possible reasons your laptop won't boot. From operating system issues to hardware failure, you could encounter any problem that can cause your computer not to boot up. You can either try to resolve it or get a new laptop, depending on the cause of the issue.

These are the most common reasons your laptop won't boot:

Causes Explanation
⚡ Faulty electrical connection If your computer is old and has experienced constant heating and cooling, it can result in a bad motherboard connection to the memory module or video card.
🔋 Power supply failure Your laptop will have a problem booting due to a faulty power cable, battery, or other components.
💻 Operating system failure If your operating system fails, you'll hear weird noises, get error messages, or have trouble booting your computer. That can happen due to a corrupted file, malware attack, etc.
💽 Faulty hardware If you encounter any hardware failure, you won't be able to boot your laptop. Hardware issues include a failing graphics card, hard drive, motherboard, etc.
❌ Human error Another common reason for your laptop's inability to boot is human error. If you accidentally delete operating system files, your system won't be able to boot.

Can You Get Files Off a Hard Drive That Won't Boot?

If your laptop doesn't boot, you can't access data on your computer. That means your data is stuck on your laptop, and you can't open it. So, is your data lost forever? The answer is no. You can get your files from a hard drive that won't boot.

Even though you can't access your computer, you can extract your files from a laptop hard drive that won't boot in several ways.

How To Recover Data From a Hard Drive That Won't Boot

If your laptop doesn't boot, you can extract your files before getting to the root of the problem and fixing it. We've prepared several methods to help you recover data from a laptop hard drive that won't boot.

Method 1: Recover Data From an Unbootable Laptop Hard Drive Using a Recovery Tool

One of the best solutions is to find a reliable data recovery tool and use it to extract files from a laptop hard drive that won't boot. We recommend Wondershare Recoverit, powerful data recovery software, to quickly retrieve data from a crashed computer.

Wondershare Recoverit can help you create a bootable USB that you can use to boot up your crashed computer and recover files. You only need a blank USB, an external hard drive, and a working computer.

Free Download
Free Download

Here's how to recover files from a PC that won't boot using Wondershare Recoverit:

  1. Download and launch Wondershare Recoverit on a working computer.
  2. Go to the System Crashed Computer section and click Start.
    a system crashed computer section
  3. Now, you'll need to create a bootable drive. Connect your USB flash drive to your working computer, select it, and click Start.
    create a bootable usb drive
  4. Click Format to format your USB drive.
    format the usb drive
  5. Once the formatting is complete, you must wait for the program to create a bootable USB drive.
    create bootable usb drive
  6. You'll see the instructions on the screen. Connect your bootable USB drive to the unbootable laptop and adjust the BIOS to boot from that USB.
    boot pc from the created bootable usb
  7. Your crashed laptop will become bootable again. You'll see two options on the screen: Hard Disk Copy and Data Recovery; Choose one according to your need. Hard Disk Copy allows you to transfer existing files to a connected external drive. Data Recovery scans the unbootable computer for any lost files and lets you copy files to the external drive after the scanning process is finished.
    hard disk copy or data recovery
  8. Connect your external hard drive and recover data from your computer that won't boot.
Free Download
Free Download

Method 2: Recover Data From a Hard Drive That Won't Boot by Booting From a USB Drive

Another way to recover data from your unbootable laptop is to create a bootable USB drive, boot your crashed laptop, and extract data. Creating a bootable USB drive is easier than it looks; it takes just a few minutes.

Follow these steps to recover data from your laptop by booting from a USB drive:

  1. Visit the official Windows download page from a working computer.
  2. Scroll to the Create Windows Installation Media and click Download tool now.
  3. Once it downloads, double-click the installation file to open it.
  4. Accept the terms and conditions and select the Create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD, or ISO file) for another PC option. Click Next.
    create installation media
  5. Set the language, edition, and architecture and click Next.
    set options for your pc
  6. Plug a blank USB into your computer. Select the USB flash drive option and click Next.
    select a usb flash drive
  7. Choose your USB drive from the list. Click Next to continue.
    select a usb flash drive
  8. The tool will download the Windows 10 installation on your USB flash drive. That may take a while, so be patient.
    downloading windows 10
  9. Once it's done, you'll have a bootable USB drive. Use it to boot your laptop and recover data to an external hard drive.

Method 3: Use System Restore to Fix a Laptop That Won't Boot and Retrieve Data

Another way to get files off a hard drive that won't boot and fix the booting problem is to use the System Restore option. Use the method above to create a bootable USB drive for booting your crashed laptop.

Follow these steps to fix an unbootable laptop and retrieve data using System Restore:

  1. Boot your laptop using a bootable USB drive.
  2. You'll see the Windows Setup screen. Select the language and keyboard layout. Click Next.
    the windows setup screen
  3. Click Repair your computer.
    repair your computer
  4. Select Troubleshoot from the given options.
    the troubleshoot option
  5. Go to Advanced Options > System Restore.
    select system restore
  6. Select the operating system you wish to restore.
    select the operating system
  7. Follow the on-screen instructions and click Finish.
    finish system restore
  8. Once System Restore finishes, click Restart to restart your computer.
    restart a laptop

Your laptop is bootable again. Extract your data to a safe location to avoid losing it.

Method 4: Remove the Laptop Hard Drive That Won't Boot and Put It in Another Device

Another method to recover your data is to remove the hard drive from your unbootable laptop and connect it to another device.

Find a working computer to plug your hard drive into and carefully remove it from your laptop that won't boot with all the necessary tools.

Once you remove it safely, connect it to your working device and try accessing your data. If you can access it, recover it to a safe location, preferably an external hard drive.

Method 5: Ask for Professional Help

Contact a professional if you've tried all the methods above and still can't recover your data. You can find a local professional hard drive data recovery service and use it as a last resort. Ensure they're reliable and legitimate before taking your unbootable laptop to them.

Conclusion

If your laptop hard drive won't boot, you won't be able to access your data. Laptops can become unbootable for various reasons, such as a faulty electrical connection or hardware, power supply or operating system failure, or human error. Fortunately, you can recover files from an unbootable laptop.

You can use several methods for recovering your data from a laptop that won't boot, including using a data recovery tool like Wondershare Recoverit, booting from a bootable USB, using System Restore, and plugging your hard drive into another computer. If these methods fail, we suggest you ask for professional help.

Amy Dennis
Amy Dennis Jan 18, 24
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