Recover Lost Data From a Crashed Laptop Hard Drive

Reader Luis is trying to help a friend whose laptop hard drive started having boot problems. The friend replaced the drive, but now Luis is trying to help her recover prized family photos from it. He mentioned running Recuva, a great utility for such rescue missions, but can't figure out the logistics of reconnecting the bad drive to the laptop.

Specifically, he's trying to determine how to put Recuva on a bootable CD, restore access to the bad drive, and then find a home for the salvaged pictures.

This is easier than you think, Luis! What you need is an external enclosure for the old, displaced drive. These little housings cost no more than $15-20, and they turn a formerly internal hard drive into an external one, able to plug into any USB port. Just make sure you buy an enclosure that matches the size (i.e. thickness) and interface (i.e. IDE or SATA) of the drive.

Installing it in the enclosure takes no more than a few minutes, and from there you should be able to access the drive just like any other removable storage. The only uncertainty is whether or not Recuva will be able to recognize it. If so, have at it--and just save any recovered photos to the new drive. If not, you might need to look at some more robust data-recovery utilities.

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