Friday, October 24, 2008

Recovering data from a computer that won't start

1) Remove the electric cord (and the battery from a laptop).

2) Hold the on-off button for 5 seconds or so. This drains power from the system. On a tower / desktop, you'll see a light on the motherboard go off.

3) Touch a water pipe to discharge static electricity from your body.

4) Remove the hard drive from the crippled computer.

5) Install the hard drive as the 2nd (or 3rd) hard drive in a healthy system. Notebook SATA drives can be directly installed in a desktop / tower. Notebook EIDE drives need an adapter to install on a standard EIDE cable. As the installation is temporary, don't worry about mounting the notebook hard drive. DO use paper and / or a book to insulate the drive and to make sure that it's secure (won't fall out or onto the motherboard).

6) Start the host computer.

7) Once the "hospital" machine boots, copy all data from the piggy-backed hard drive. Go into Documents and Settings and copy the user profile(s). If the permissions won't give you accesss, right click on the folder and add yourself as a user. Each profile's Desktop and Internet Explorer Favorites is immediately available in the user's folder in Documents and Settings. The Outlook PST and other files normally are in
Local Settings > Application Data > Microsoft > Outlook
Outlook Express files will be in the Outlook Express Folder.


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