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My laptop is dead. Long live the laptop. (And, no. I did not kill it.) Luckily it's demise was slow, giving me ample time to make complete backups of all my documents, photos and videos. Phew. If your computer died and you were not so lucky, don't freak out yet. Your files can probably be retrieved by manually accessing the hard drive.

This is something a techie guru can handle. However, if you're pretty confident you know your way around a computer, you can attempt a DIY job. JoeTech provides groovy instructions on manual hard drive retrieval, along with tons of juicy color photos to guide you in your endeavor. Detail is the key word here; Joe's instructions are just so beautifully detailed.

Now, the laptop featured in Joe's post is a Sony Vaio, but I guess the guts of laptops are all pretty similar. Also interesting to note that Joe's previous laptop, a Dell, lasted for seven years before it bit the dust. Wow. That's three years longer than my old Dell. (And I thought four years of constant use was pretty good mileage!)

Finally: an important note. Realize that as soon as you open up your laptop for a DIY repair/retrieval operation, your warranty is void. Dead. As in deader than your laptop.


  • Alex

    This article is kind of just fluff since most people aren't as lucky as this person to be able to back up of data before the hard drive is unreadable.

    You can get install and removal instructions for your laptop's hard drive almost anywhere on the internet.

    I want to see how to get data from an unreadable HD that doesn't even have the ability to load a software restore CD.

    I know how to save Mac hard drives that are in this unfortunate position, but I am not sure what you should do on the PC side of things.

    One of my PC tech buddies told me something about removing the hard drive and putting it into a slave position to be able to pull data off it using another computer. Though you have to connect the laptop hard drive with a special connector that is a little pricy.

  • Diane Rixon

    Hey Alex. Yeah, it's true the hard drive might already be shot. But it's cool that JoeTech has this great demo on his site -- very user-friendly instructions and with lots of pics. Good for someone attempting this for the first time. :) Thanks for your comment!!

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