Connect laptop hard drive to desktop computer

Yesterday my laptop failed to boot. Everything appears to be normal but each time I turn it on it hangs on Windows screen with a running bar. I cannot boot my laptop to the desktop. I tested the hard drive and it passed the test. I think that my hard drive is fine and the operating system is corrupted. I have very important files in my documents and I need to recover, transfer them to the desktop computer as soon as possible. How can I connect the laptop hard drive to a desktop computer?

It is nice that your hard drive passed the test. I think you have very good chances that your data is still good and you would be able to transfer it to the desktop computer. Here are some tips for connecting a laptop hard drive to a desktop computer:
1. You can use 2.5” hard drive adapter and connect the laptop hard drive directly to a desktop computer through the IDE connector on the system board. The desktop hard drive would be connected to IDE1 so you can connect the laptop hard drive to IDE2. After you boot the desktop computer the second hard drive would be detected and you can access it as a regular HDD. Now you can recover, transfer all needed files from the laptop hard drive to the desktop hard drive.
2. You can use an external USB enclosure for laptop hard drives. I think that would be the easiest and fastest way to access your data. You can find an external USB enclosure in any computer shop and it would cost you about $20-$30 or buy it on ebay for $10. After you remove the laptop hard drive, place it inside the enclosure and connect to the desktop or another laptop computer via the USB cable. It is not necessary to install any drivers for the enclosure if the desktop PC runs Winodws 2000 or Windows XP. If the desktop PC runs Windows 98, then most likely you’ll have to install a driver for the enclosure before you can access the hard drive. The USB cable and the driver usually supplies with the external enclosure. Now you can access the laptop hard drive as a regular drive on your desktop/laptop computer.

135 Responses

  1. My laptop died, so I salvaged the HD and stuck it in an external enclosure. I see the HD on my new PC now, but I can’t access the My Documents folder. I also can’t run some of my programs because they say they haven’t been installed on my computer. How do I fix this? Thanks in advance!

  2. You’re the greatest. You just saved me $650 on a new laptop.

  3. Laptop Freak

    Helen,
    If you connect the hard drive enclosure to a computer with Windows 2000 or Windows XP, you don’t need to load any drivers. The hard drive should be detected automatically. Here’s how it usually works:
    1. You connect the external hard drive enclosure to a working computer. The balloon will pop up in the lower right corner and it should say “A new hard drive is detected… Blah-blah”.
    2. The second balloon will appear “New hard ware is installed…Restart the computer”
    3. You restart the computer, go to My Computer and you should see the external drive in there. Access this hard drive like a regular drive and transfer all needed files.

    If the external hard dive will not appear in My Computer, then either the hard drive has been damaged or you got a bad enclosure. I got one of these “bad” enclosures. When I connect it to my desktop computer it bluescreens and reboots, but the same enclosure works perfectly with my laptops.

  4. hi there,my laptop was smashed up but i managed to retrieve the harddrive as well as few other parts here and there,the problem i have now is i bought a 2.5 enclosure so i could transer files from the drive onto my desktop or my new laptop but i cant find the drive anywhere on either computer.
    it came with a little driver disk but when i click setup it comes up with an error saying some file is missing,then it says all drivers are fully installed.
    the external drive i brought is a blueye Xeasy portable hard drive model:U225 usb2.0
    both my desktop and laptop recognise the new hardware but i cant find the drive to access my files.
    is there something im missing?

  5. Hi again.. I’m sorry I did not come back here since last post. No, they are not encrypted, the names are black. :( I don’t have a clue of what to do anymore with this. I still have a hope that someone would know and maybe post something here. A friend of a friend might take a look at the C-Drive in a couple of weeks, if he has a chance.. I slowly started to get over the lost files, but it’s not easy seeing them there and not being able to access them.. very weird. No programs out there to retreive a previous version of a file? They all seem to say that they were modified the day that I connected the C-Drive (as posted above in more details). Either way.. thank you for your time, please let me know if you can think of anything else.
    Ella

  6. Laptop Freak

    Sorry Ella,
    I’m not really sure what is going on. I don’t know why you can copy files but cannot open them. Are you positive that files are not encrypted? The file name letters are black (not encrypted) or green (encrypted)? When you encrypt a file, the filename changes to green.

  7. They all say they were modified on Saturday (the day I connected C Drive). Besides this folder all other folders are fine. Is there a way to retrieve a prior version of files? lol.. I must sound not very smart.. I just spent countless hours since then trying to figure this out.. If i try to open for example any music files, they can’t. I get the message that they can not open, the file might be corrupted. Any text files open, but they are “blank”.. if my move my mouse over them, there is something there, but nothing visible, .. but like I said, they are not empty, they still have the same file size as they had before. System restore would not help, since it’s “my documents” folder. I was lucky enough that my mom has the same laptop model, and so I put it in my mom’s laptop, worked just like mine, all programs, etc. I am not sure if I the folder did not work from the beginning.. it actually maybe did work, that’s why I mentioned that I was going to copy that folder to CD that was too small in the size and then deleted those temporary files that were waiting to be written to the CD. I also was trying to do the “file transfer wizard”, but it did not let me put it to the CD’s as well. After that I opened one of the files and from that point on I know that the files are “bad”

  8. Hello.
    Yes, I can copy them, drag them, no error message. Do you think They are corrupted?
    I do remember that I was going to copy them to the CD, but they were big in file, and the CD was not (only 700 MB), so I deleted the temporary files that were going to be written to the CD. (which was the whole “my documents” folder copy… I don’t think that should damage anything, but just in case I thought I should say it.
    So right now I have these files, pictures, music, but I can’t do anything with them. Yesterday I tried to upload a file from the folder, just a simple notepad file to the web and it said “invalid file”.
    Any thoughts? Thank you very much.
    Ella

  9. Laptop Freak

    Michael,
    In order to connect the laptop and PC directly, it’s necessary to set up a network. It’s not as simple as just connecting both computers via a USB cable.
    The easiest way to connect the laptop to TV is via S-video port using S-video cable.

  10. Laptop Freak

    Ella,
    Can you copy files from the laptop hard drive to the other computer? Do you get any error messages when you try drag-and-drop or open a file in My Documents?

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