Transferring hard drive data from 2 sort of dead laptops

Old 12-05-18, 06:20 PM
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Lightbulb Transferring hard drive data from 2 sort of dead laptops

I have two old laptops, an HP (Windows 7) and a Dell Inspiron 1525 (Vista). The Dell would have more of the data I'm looking for.

The Dell's monitor has basically detached from the base. I was hooking it up to an external monitor to use it. That was a while ago, and I don't have a stand alone monitor now. I also need to search for a power supply for the Dell.

The HP had to have a power supply, if I remember correctly, the battery stopped charging and just went down to 0% forever. I would also need to search for this power supply.

Both laptops were prior to moving a few times, so it will be a pain to try to find them, if I didn't throw them away for some reason.

So my question! Is it possible to either:

1. Connect to my current laptop, an HP on Windows 10, using some sort of cable/HDMI/USB thing, and either transfer the files to my current computer, OR view them and save them to a USB drive? I would have to hunt for power supplies and possibly purchase some. Keep in mind that one of the monitors is not able to be used to navigate folders.


2. Would it be easier to remove the hard drives from each, and connect using an external hard drive enclosure?

This is something I've been wanting to get done for years. I feel like I can do it, but I'm not sure which is the best way or maybe there's a different way that would be simpler.

What do you think?
Old 12-05-18, 06:46 PM
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If you can boot the computer, that's usually the easiest way to get files off of it. Boot it up, log in, and connect a USB drive and copy the files to the USB drive.

If the computer doesn't boot, you can remove the hard drive and connect it with an adapter. Here's an example of an SATA adapter (for most recent hard drives)
You can then connect it to a working computer and most likely pull data off it.

It gets more complicated if the data is on an encrypted drive or sometimes when access controlled.
Old 12-30-18, 12:14 PM
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It's going to be easiest to just remove the harddrives and use something like below:

Most people don'y encrypt their data unless you are trying to pull something off a work computer where their IT department has enforced good security practices.

The above linked enclose is something that I have used numerous times in the past to get data off a dead computer that relatives seems to always bring me.
Old 01-01-19, 08:54 PM
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I wouldn't invest n a docking station unless I was going to be scrounging data from hard drives on a regular basis.

USB hard drives are extremely handy and any laptop hard drive can be installed in an external enclosure to convert them to a USB hard drive, but if you're salvaging the drive from a well-used laptop, it's questionable how much life that hard drive will have left. The cost of the enclosure might still be worth it if you're looking at possibly having more laptops donating their hard drives at some point in the future (and getting multiple uses out of the enclosure), but not so much if this probably will be a one-shot deal.

If it was me, I'd buy a nice sized USB thumb drive. Kingston DT100 USB 3.0 flash drives are uncommonly fast for a bargain thumb drive and can be bought on eBay for less than 50 per gigabyte of storage memory, delivered. If you're not storing videos or music on it, it's unlikely you have more than 16GB of user data on that laptop, and you can buy a 16GB DT100 for $7.19 (if it is more than 16GB, just make multiple trips). You probably can't get a docking station or a USB enclosure for that little, plus you'll be getting factory-fresh storage media that should last many years before it becomes a problem. And everybody who has a computer could use a decent sized thumb drive.
Old 01-02-19, 12:38 AM
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It is most cost effective to purchase a cheap external enclosure for the removed hard drives. I went the other route and got a USB to SATA cable system and it was about 30 bucks. You can get cheap enclosures for close to 5 bucks. A thumb drive is only handy if you can boot the computer.
jeffhot voted this post useful.
Old 02-10-19, 01:56 PM
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I just noticed this post.
I've just finished backing up / cloning a bunch of drives, so I'm going to chime in, even though this is an old post.

First- as to a stand-alone monitor, (I'm guessing VGA) most entry-level flat screen televisions have a VGA input somewhere on the back.

Second, in most cases,
-A if you just want the data,
-B if the drives are not encrypted,
-C you have sufficient space on the new laptop

then you can probably take the drives OUT of the old laptops and copy the data to the new laptop, using a $19 gadget that lets you take data off most old hard drives (SATA as well as desktop IDE and laptop IDE)

I would also suggest checking out the free programs "Macrium Reflect" for cloning/making ISOs of the drives. (You might re-use the Windows 7 installation/license to update to Windows 10 computer, down the road).

Also get Seagate's "Sea Tools" for checking on the health of the drives, but ALSO because it reads the hard drive "odometer" that tells you how many hours the drive has been running during it's entire life.

Last edited by Hal_S; 02-10-19 at 02:31 PM.

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