When a PC crashes, can data be recovered from it?

Anonymous March 24, 2014
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Recently (last year) my laptop had a complete crash down. I had Firewalls and MacAfee on my Laptop. I still do not know what happened. I was able to find the (Dell-Driver and Utilities) CD for reinstalling my Dell Studio Computer Software. Eventually, I started over getting back as much as I could remember what I had on my computer, programs and stuff.

The only thing I want to know is. When the computer crashes, is it possible to recover anything from the hard drive. Like pictures I had from my camera and collections and files of very important information.
I could use any expert advise on my problem… :(

  1. Dalsan M
    April 25, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    There may be a chance that the files are still on the computer, just saved into a "Windows.old" folder on your hard drive. Click on Start, click on Computer, abd then open your C:/ drive. Scroll down the list and check for a Windows.old folder. If there is, open it, go to "Users" and open it, then check each folder within for any files you wish to keep. Transfer the files to another location that you easily find the files so you can delete the Windows.old folder to gain back disk space.

  2. Oron J
    March 25, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    Jeff's answer is pretty much what I would have said. If there's no physical damage to the hard drive, then it's usually possible to recover data from the drive. Furthermore, if the problem is "simply" that the computer won't start up, then the data is usually not affected (start up problems are usually related to system files or the boot loader, more rarely to missing partition tables, which would need fixing first).

    However, the situation you describe is not entirely clear to me. Have you reinstalled Windows on your computer and wiped the drive so that your old data are no longer there? If so, it will be very difficult or impossible to recover your data. A major principle in data recovery is not to make any changes to the drive before or during recovery, and certainly not to overwrite existing data, so if you did make those changes, and it was some time ago (meaning that other data will have meanwhile been written all over the drive) then chances of getting your data back are very slim.

    • Danny
      March 25, 2014 at 3:47 pm

      Oron J,
      I believe you just answered my question. Yes, after it completely shut down (crashed).
      I reinstalled Windows on my computer to get it up and running again. Well, when it came back. I had to put programs back in that I had had lost. It was like starting over. The back up disks I have show nothing I need. I was just trying to recover photos.

  3. Abilash A
    March 24, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    Yes you can recover, you can try the free utility Recuva offered by the maker of Ccleaner


  4. Haris D
    March 24, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    Fastest way to retrieve the data is by using a live cd, or a bootable recovery disk such as EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard WinPE, however it is not for free. Alternative free solutions could be Ultimate Boot CD or Hiren's BootCD.

  5. Hovsep A
    March 24, 2014 at 11:32 am

    you can boot on Live cd and transfer/backup important files to external hard drive.

  6. Jeff F
    March 24, 2014 at 11:03 am

    Usually, yes. It really depends on what exactly crashed. Your data is stored on your hard drive, so assuming it's still operable, data recovery is usually very plausible.

    With my clients, I simply take out their hard drive and plug it into my PC. I can then transfer data from the clients drive to another device even if their computer won't boot. It's not always so cut and dry though, sometimes the data is corrupted or flat out deleted, which requires a little bit more effort.

    Like I said, it all depends entirely on what happened. If a virus encrypted all your files and deleted your system files there's really not much hope. However, your average "help! I can't boot into Windows and I never made a backup of Grandma's Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe!" can be recovered fairly easily.

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