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Old 09-18-2012, 10:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Need to recover files from dead computer. Can I read them directly from the hard drive?

Hey everybody. I have made the mistake of not backing up some important files on a computer at work. This computer was connected to an APC battery unit, which lost power. Now the computer won't start (even when connected to a normal outlet) and I need to recover these files by whatever means possible. I'll describe the troubleshooting I've done so far:

-Computer will not power on when connected to a known good outlet (CPU fan doesn't spin, no LED's come on).

-Disconnected power switch wires from motherboard. Connected wires to multimeter and verified continuity when pressing power button.

-Unplugged all power supply connections from motherboard and drives. Plugged power supply to a known good outlet. Shorted pins 15 and 16 on the 24 pin connector. Power supply fan runs. Checked voltages with a multimeter (3.3V, 5V, 12V) and all were very close, except one of the connectors which read 3.0V. (I read that this is out of spec, but not by much) It seems to me that there might be a motherboard or CPU problem, since it isn't starting at all (CPU fan does NOT spin when I press the power button, and no LED's come on).

-Removed hard drive from computer and connected this hard drive (via Power supply and SATA connections) to a known good computer. The other computer recognizes the hard drive in BIOS. However, within the Windows 7 OS, I can't see the files on the hard drive. Perhaps I'm oversimplifying the issue by thinking I can simply swap hard drives and access the files on the swapped drive. If this won't work, is there a reasonable way to accomplish the same thing? I know that the broken computer was running Windows, although I can't remember which version.

Worst case scenario, can I take the hard drive to a computer tech shop and see if they can access the files?

I appreciate any and all help.
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Old 09-19-2012, 12:13 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need to recover files from dead computer. Can I read them directly from the hard drive?

Try booting into a Linux LiveCD and hooking the HDD up as a secondary drive (either internal or external - doesn't matter). See if Linux can read the drive since Windows can't.

One thing to check before doing that though is, while in Windows and the HDD hooked up, go to start > right click Computer > Manage... > click Disk Management on the left panel > and see if it is recognized there. See what options are there if it is there when you right click it.
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Old 09-19-2012, 02:25 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need to recover files from dead computer. Can I read them directly from the hard drive?

carnageX,

Thanks but I was actually able to figure it out! The data I needed was on the hard drive all along, I just needed to change the security settings to access it. Whew! Crisis averted! I seriously would have lost over a month's worth of work! I'm backing up those files RIGHT NOW!
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Old 09-19-2012, 12:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need to recover files from dead computer. Can I read them directly from the hard drive?

Glad you got it working.
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