How can I extract files from an old hard drive?
Question by macchavez /

My HP fried back some years ago — it actually smoked. I have the hard drive and would like to extract my pictures. Does anyone know who can do this without costing me a fortune.

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Answers (21)
  • Dave Rimmer

    Don’t no if this is sorted but if you have not fixed it then try one of thes|cat:20348837|prd:20348837e -

  • Dwayne Nicholson

    purchase a cheap hard drive enclosure for the specific size hard drive you have, ebay usually has them very cheap, insert the hard drive into the enclosure, now it becomes an external drive

  • Freecycle Me

    As you say, the hard drive was actually smoking which could mean that the hard drive components have fried and then the data may still be on the disc but it may not work when connected through an enclosure or other connection. If you cannot get the data off you may need to pay some good money as you say you are not technically minded and it may be that someone would need to take the physical platen out of the drive and put in a similar one to read the data

  • Joel Alar

    Please check if the harddrive is still functioning by connecting your harddrive to a harddrive enclosure, be sure to check what type of harddrive you are using before you buy a harddrive adapter/enclosure. sata or ide? hdd size=2.5 or 3.5?

  • cypherinfo

    Hello, try easus data recovery wizrd professional:
    try it, is free trial to download. That was the only app that worked when I find in troubles. It is capable to recover deleted files too.
    I’d suggest you to run an antivirus scan after the recover.
    Let me know if it worked; if not I’ll help you; contact me on twitter: @cypherinfo
    If you do not have access to your hard disk may be: it is a boot disk; so when you plug it windows cannot recognize it: you have to access it and change not to boot disk; the other one is you have to assign it ownership and admin permissions; right click go to security tab, click advanced under the Permissions for SYSTEm and go on.

  • Usman Mubashir

    try connecting it to any other system and get it to boot, if it fails, try paragon hdd tools to copy data from it.

  • jrasulev

    You’ve got two options, mount your HDD on you PC or purchase HDD mobile rack to plugin you PC

  • John Paul Wohlschied

    The best thing to do is get a external disk enclosure or a SATA/IDE to USB adapter. Once you get everything hooked up (Be sure to plug in the power and then the USB. I learned this the hard way.), it will act like an external drive. Once your up an running, you can search for and copy the files you want.

    FYI, since the drive has not been indexed by Windows Search, searching the drive will be slow. If you want to find a file by name quickly, you can use a tool named Everything ( Also, if you install another program called TeraCopy ( you can copy files much faster than the default copy program in Windows.

    Hope that helps.

  • danielooi

    If it still works, just plug it into a external HDD dock or external HDD casing. Just make use u got the correct one such as IDE/SATA, 2.5″ or 3.5″.

    If it no longer works, you might want to consider to send to your nearest recovery center

    • Miriam

      I am not very computer savy. The hardrive is a Seagate Barracuda 80 GB Internal hard drive 7200.7. Where can I go so they can tell me exactly what I need to see if the drive is not damaged and I can view the files? Do you think CompuUSA (if they still exist around here)? I am only interested in getting pictures out. I have no idea what HDD dock or external HDD casing means but I do see a small picture on back that says SATA signal. Anyways I now own an MAC and that drive is from a HP Pavilion computer — I would HATE to hurt my MAC. Anyways, any additional guidance you have is appreciated.

    • Freud Iomc

      Hi Miriam,

      As suggested, you can get an IDE/SATA to USB adapter:

      for under $15.00. You could then plug your old hard drive into the USB port on your Mac, and then using Finder you could see if you can pull the data you want off of that old drive.

      My guess would be a capacitor or resistor on the Motherboard in your old HP is what smoked… I’ve never seen a hard drive actually go up in smoke… Hopefully your data is still intact and you can pull it off using the adapter referenced above.

      Hope this helps.

    • Freud Iomc

      In addition to the IDE/SADA to USB adapter you’ll need to be able to read NTFS on your Mac:

      Good luck!!

  • Antonio Ruiz Mateos

    If the hard disk is not broken, the first thing is to check the interface.

    If it’s SATA you can easily connect it to any computer, either directly to the motherboard or using a external dock to avoid the mess.

    If it’s IDE, you should use an older computer, and adapter or find a external dock compatible with both interfaces.

    In any case, the most expensive option is a external dock and it won’t cost you a fortune (nowadays $30 or less) and you might find it useful for future uses, like having HDDs for backup.

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