Laptop, also known as notebook computer or notebook, wins the hearts of people mainly due to its small size and portability (they also form the main differences between laptop and desktop computer). At present, the laptop becomes a necessity no matter you are on a business trip or not. What if laptop hard drive gets into trouble? How to recover data from it?

You can easily understand that a laptop is used frequently nowadays. But, this also increases the risk of data loss. So, what draws the most attention of people is – can I recover files from laptop hard drive or how to restore the lost files from laptop.

Different situations:

  • After you have deleted valuable files by mistake, you must want to recover them, right?
  • When you discover that the system prompts you to format the disk, not allowing you to access it, you must be disappointed.
  • When you suddenly find a partition disappears from laptop hard drive, can you stay calm?
  • The worst thing maybe you can’t boot computer successfully. How to recover data from a laptop that won’t boot?

Please remain calm; I am going to introduce some effective solutions to help you get through those troubles. Till now, they have helped tens of thousands of people solve problems easily.

Part 1: Preparations for Recovering Files from Laptop Hard Drive

Frankly speaking, if you have powerful tools, you can yield twice the result with half the effort. So the first thing you should do after laptop data loss is acquiring a reliable tool.

Step 1 – Choose the Correct Hard Drive Data Recovery Software License

MiniTool Power Data Recovery is an excellent tool loved by many users and working well on almost all common Windows operating systems; you may as well get a suitable license of it.

Yet, if you want to recover data from MacBook hard drive, you should rely on MiniTool Mac Data Recovery. Anyway, I’ll take the Windows version of the software as an example in the following content.

MiniTool Power Data Recovery offers 8 license types (half for home users and half for business users); you should choose the one that you need most.

For home users:

  • Free License: the functions of the free edition are basically the same with other paid editions. The biggest difference is that it can only help people recover 1GB of data for free.
  • Personal Standard/Deluxe/Ultimate: to only break the 1GB data recovery limit or unlock “Load Previous Scan Result” & “Load saved scan result manually” function, you should choose a personal license. It is designed for home users.

license types for home users

For business users:

  • Business Standard/Deluxe: if you need to use the software in a commercial environment, you have to buy a Commercial License. With this license, you can recover data from Windows Server; but you can only use it on one computer.
  • Business Enterprise: with this license type, you’re allowed to use it on an unlimited number of computers within a single business environment. It is specially designed for organizations, companies, schools, and
  • Business Technician: this is specially designed for the technicians who need to repair computers for others. It allows unlimited usage within unlimited companies, but you need to notice that, this kind of license type is authorized to only one person.

license types for business users

In addition, there is a bootable edition (bootable disk) which is able to help you access the hard drive without OS, and then recover files from it. It is built in the advanced editions except for Personal Standard & Business Standard.

Details on how to recover data from hard disk without OS:

How To Recover Data From Hard Disk Without OS – Analysis & Tips
How To Recover Data From Hard Disk Without OS – Analysis & Tips

For users who keep asking how to recover data from hard disk without OS, this post is enough to help them get rid of data loss troubles.

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Step 2 – Download the Free Edition/Buy a License

If you only need to recover files with small size from a computer that works properly, you may download the free edition right now.

MiniTool Power Data Recovery FreeClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

Well, if you need to recover more than 1GB of data/need to recover data from a broken computer or want to keep this wonderful recovery tool, you should choose the suitable license and pay for it. Let’s just take Personal Deluxe License as an example in the following content.

Step 3 – Install the Software and Run It

If the laptop works after hard drive data loss, you should install the Power Data Recovery on it. Please keep one thing in mind: don’t write new data or install the software to the drive from which the files are lost; otherwise, secondary damage may be brought there, leading to permanent data loss.

How to install software:

  1. Double click on the setup program to initialize installation wizard.
  2. Follow the wizard to complete the installation easily.
  3. In the last step of installation, you can check to launch MiniTool Power Data Recovery and then click on the “Finish” button to continue.

launch MiniTool Power Data Recovery

You’ll see the following interface when the installation is completed. Here, you are asked to register your copy of the software.

How to register:

  1. Copy your license code (often given to you through email).
  2. Paste it into the textbox in the Registration window.
  3. Press the “Register” button to confirm.



By the way, if you need to recover data from laptop hard drive that won’t boot, you have 2 choices:

The detailed operations of recovering data from laptop hard drive that works and that won’t boot will be given in the next part.

Part 2: How to Recover Data from Laptop Hard Drive That Works

After the preparations, you’ll see the main interface of the software. Now, you need to do the following things to complete hard drive data recovery.

Step 1: choose a storage device type that is most suitable for your laptop hard drive data loss case.

choose storage device type

Step 2: select the target partition or hard disk drive to scan by pressing the “Scan” button.

Step 3: wait for the scan and look through the found files so as to check the needed ones.

browse and check files

Step 4: press the “Save” button to choose a safe storage path from the pop-up menu to store the files. At last, click on the “OK” to confirm your selections. (You’re not suggested to recover the files to its original partition for safety reasons)

select a directory to save files

Now, just wait till the laptop data recovery has been finished automatically by MiniTool Power Data Recovery. This is the entire process of how to recover deleted files from hard disk.

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Part 3: How to Recover Data from Laptop Hard Drive That Won’t Boot

When a laptop is dead, all the files kept on the hard drive may still remain intact as long as the problem is caused by software failures, not a hardware problem. However, though the files didn’t disappear, you lose access to them.

laptop crashes

At this time, laptop data recovery seems to become quite difficult. But don’t worry, I will provide effective solutions to help you recover data from the hard drive of a dead laptop.

As I have said before, you can decide to recover files from the broken laptop directly or remove the hard drive from the laptop and connect it to another computer to recover files.

Please follow the instructions given below carefully to know how to recover data from a dead laptop hard drive in 2 situations.

Situation 1: How to Recover Data from Inaccessible Laptop Hard Drive

A real case:

I turned the plug off so the laptop was left running on only its battery overnight, and in the morning I plugged it in and pressed the power button, to be greeted with this sound from my laptop (on closer inspection, I realized it was from the hard drive, which is a Western Digital WD1200BEVS). The screen looked like a black screen of death, with the text saying something involving ‘no bootable drive’. There was no primary hard drive listed under the BIOS, and the DST Short Test failed with the Dell error code 1000-0141. I have contacted Dell but they weren’t willing to help because the drive is out of warranty. I have since bought a new hard drive, but I am wondering if there is any way that I can salvage some of the important, irreplaceable files off of the broken one, e.g. by opening it up, if it is a mechanical problem (I’m not sure what the beeps mean…). I have tried the freezer method but the beeps still occurred.– asked by walrus365 on PC Advisor Forums

What if you’re encountering a similar situation: can’t boot into your laptop as usual, but really need to recover the files saved in the hard drive?

  • Of course, you can take out the hard drive from the laptop; then, connect it to another laptop/computer as the secondary hard drive and repeat step 1 ~ step 4 mentioned in the previous part to recover data. But, this is risky since you may bring secondary damage to the hard drive during the taking out and connecting action. (This will be discussed in situation 2)
  • I advised you to use the MiniTool Power Data Recovery Boot Disk to access & recover files on the current

How to get files off a laptop hard drive that won’t boot with the Boot Disk (also take the Personal Deluxe License as an example):

Step 1: find another laptop/computer that works fine. Then, complete the preparations for recovery.

  • Choose a license with Snap-in WinPE Bootable Builder (only the license types which support “Snap-in WinPE Bootable Builder” can help you create the bootable disk).
  • Pay for the license to get its setup program.
  • Install the software and register it with your license.

Step 2: initialize the media builder by following ways.

  • Click on the “Bootable Media” button from the main interface of the software.
  • Double click on the “MTMediaBuilder” application from the software installation folder.

initialize the media builder

After that, please follow the prompt messages in each interface to create a boot disk (bootable USB flash drive or bootable CD/DVD) smoothly.

Read part 2, situation 1 in this post to know how to make a Boot Disk:

How To Recover Data From Corrupted Internal Hard Drive | Guide
How To Recover Data From Corrupted Internal Hard Drive | Guide

If you’re stuck in the data recovery from corrupted internal hard disk, the solutions and software provided here will be of great help.

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Step 3: remove the boot disk you’ve made from the computer and connect it to your laptop that won’t boot. Now, restart the laptop and press the corresponding button to enter BIOS setup.

Step 4: navigate to the Boot menu and adjust your boot disk to be the first boot device. Now, save changes and exit.

Step 5: wait for the initializing process. When you see the following interface, please click on the first option – “MiniTool Power Data Recovery” to enter the main window of the data recovery software.

click on the first option

Step 6: repeat step 1 ~ step 4 discussed in part 2.

Reading here, you must know how to deal with the “Operating system not found” error or other errors that result in a boot failure.

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Situation 2: How to Transfer Files from a Broken Laptop to another Laptop

A real case:

The hard drive in my HP laptop which is a Western Digital SATA hard drive recently crashed. The operating system on the hard drive was windows 7. After it was crashed, I started it again and it said unbootable hard drive. I took the hard drive out of my laptop and connected it to my desktop which has XP on it, using an USB 2.0 to IDE SATA HDD Adapter Cable. I have tried a lot of data recovery software to see if I can get my files back and none of them work. If anyone has an idea or solution to my problem please let me know.– asked by superfusion on Bleeping Computer Forums

To transfer files directly from the dead laptop hard drive, you should first disconnect the hard drive from the current dead laptop. Then, you’re supposed to connect it to another computer (laptop or desktop computer) to make it an external hard drive.

  • If this external hard drive doesn’t appear on the new computer, please fix the problem to make it appear.
  • If it does appear, you can copy files off the hard drive immediately and save them to the hard drive of the current computer or to a removable hard disk connected to this computer.

Part 4: Bottom Line

It’s easy to discover that your import files were missing from laptop hard drive, but it’s difficult for you to stay calm in such case, right? Here, I have provided solutions for you to recover files from laptop hard drive no matter whether the laptop can boot successfully or not.

After reading the step-by-step tutorials I have shown to you in the above content, you’ll find laptop data recovery is really a piece of cake. You just need to seize the time and do what I tell you to do by using MiniTool Power Data Recovery. I guess you’ll fall in love with this hard drive data recovery software like our other users. Wish you good luck!

Part 5 – Laptop Hard Drive Recovery FAQ

How can I retrieve data from a dead laptop hard drive?
  1. Find another computer that works fine.
  2. Insert a CD/DVD or connect a USB drive to it.
  3. Run MiniTool Media Builder to create a bootable disk.
  4. Connect the bootable disk to laptop and enter BIOS to set laptop to boot from this disk.
  5. Scan the laptop and choose files you need.
How do I destroy a hard drive?
It’s necessary to destroy an old hard drive when it was used to save important data. If you don’t need the drive at all, you can break it into pieces or burn it; however, if you only want to erase data on it, you should use Wipe Disk feature to fill sectors with zero and one.
Can I use my old laptop hard drive as an external?
Of course, you can. You should open the case of your old laptop to locate and take out the hard drive carefully. Then, put the old hard drive into an external enclosure and install it properly. After that, you can connect and use it as an external USB drive conveniently.
How do I transfer data from laptop to hard drive?
You’ve got three choices to transfer data to a new hard drive. First, connect the hard drive to PC and copy & paste files from your laptop. Second, let the drive stay inside other devices and sync the useful files through cloud services. Third, use Windows Easy Transfer.
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