How to Recover Files from Damaged Windows Laptop

  • A broken laptop does not mean losing all your data. Even if it is not backed up to the cloud, you can still recover files from it.
  • This article assumes that the physical hard drive is still working. Software issues or not being able to boot from the drive apply here.
  • The guides in the HDD / SSD section contain complete instructions on how to troubleshoot common drive problems in Windows.
  • For more tips and recovery software, see the Data Recovery Software section available on the website.

Suppose your laptop broke down, but you want to get your personal files back. In this tutorial, we will show you how to recover your files from a damaged laptop, assuming your hard drive is still working.

You can use this guide to get your files back if your laptop won’t turn on or your screen is damaged, but we must mention that this guide won’t help you get your files back if your hard drive is down. Before you begin, you will need an external 2.5 ″ hard drive USB enclosure.

Contents index

  • How to recover files from a broken laptop
    • STEP 1: Install Stellar Data Recovery Professional
    • STEP 2: Remove your hard drive
    • 5 ″ IDE HARD DRIVE
    • STEP 3: Buy an external USB enclosure
    • STEP 4: Install your HDD

How to recover files from a broken laptop

  1. Install Stellar Data Recovery Professional
  2. Remove your hard drive
  3. Buy an external USB enclosure
  4. Install your HDD
  5. Connect your HDD to a functional PC
  6. FIX: Access Denied to External Hard Drive

STEP 1: Install Stellar Data Recovery Professional

The software Stellar Data Recovery is a great tool that helps you to restore photos, videos and files accidentally deleted. It can even help you restore files from a lost Windows partition!

If your laptop can still be turned on and used, it is the fastest way. Install the software, choose the location, and then move all your recovered files to an external drive.

If that laptop cannot be used, download and install this software on a different device, follow the next steps in this article to connect your old drive to your new device and run Stellar Data Recovery on the old drive to get back everything you need. .

It runs on Windows 10 as well as older versions of Windows and has very few system requirements (a minimum of 2GB of RAM, 250MB of disk space, and a Pentium process are listed).

This means that you can use almost any device, new or old, to recover data from broken laptop.

Of course, you can use the software for even more things like: recovering emails from .PST files (Microsoft Outlook), recovering files from other media like SSD, USB stick, CD / DVD or other optical media.

Download Stellar Data Recovery Professional here

STEP 2: Remove your hard drive

First of all, you will need to remove the hard drive from the laptop. If your hard drive has mounting brackets or carts, you will need to separate them from the hard drive. Regarding the type of hard drive, most laptops use 2.5 ″ hard drives, and they can be IDE or SATA hard drives. We will show you the difference between the two in the following pictures.


The IDE hard drive connector has two rows of pins.


The SATA hard drive has two flat connectors. One of these connectors is used for data and the other for power.

We also have to mention that the same type of connectors are used on 3.5 ″ SATA desktop hard drives, which means that you can connect a 2.5 ″ hard drive from your laptop directly to a desktop PC using the same cables.

  • RELATED: How to Repair Corrupt Files After Using File Recovery Options

STEP 3: Buy an external USB enclosure

If you do not have an external USB enclosure for the 2.5 ″ hard drive, you will have to buy one, just keep in mind that your purchase IDE or SATA enclosure depends on the type of your hard drive, as IDE enclosures are not compatible with drives SATA drives and vice versa.

We recommend the NexStar brand, but any other brand should work too. For IDE hard drives, you can use the NexStar 2.5 ″ IDE HDD enclosure . For SATA hard drives, you can use the NexStar 2.5 ″ SATA HDD enclosure .

STEP 4: Install your HDD

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2014 and has since been renewed and updated in May 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and completeness.


by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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