Broken Laptop? How To Recover Data After A Laptop Crashes


Our last blog post covered the topic of using the Cloud for backing up your data, and the advantages that it possesses over using an on-premises solutions.  They are:

*You don’t have to purchase any new infrastructure devices (servers, computers, etc.);

*Higher levels of reliability of retaining your data;

*Greater levels of protection;

*Tremendous cost savings;

*No more tape backups.

Now that you have everything safely stored, the next question is: how do you recover your data in case of a laptop crash or computer crash?

Well, with the Cloud, all one has to do is connect to their account with their Cloud service client application. With a few clicks of the mouse, just download the missing data that is needed.

With that said, however, there are many other instances in which you have to recover data from other types of devices such as: your laptop, wireless device, smartphone, or even a server.

The Seemingly Dead Laptop (Hard Drive Outage)

In this post, we examine the general way in which you can recover data in an extreme, worst-case scenario – a dead hard drive in a laptop.

So, you may be wondering how can one do this…

The common misconception is that once a hard drive is dead, all of the information and data that resides in it is totally wiped out.

For the most part, that is a myth.

The reality is that (more than likely) the data is all still there, but the trick is finding the best way to extract it.

Safe Mode – First Line Of Recovery

Assuming that you’re running a recent version of the Windows Operating System (OS) [Windows 10], the preferred method is to try to boot your laptop first into “Safe Mode“.

Entering Safe Mode

In Windows 10, there are some different ways to enter “Safe Mode.” We’ll just go over one in this post.

If Windows 10 fails to boot normally three times over, the fourth time (by default) it enters in an Automatic Repair mode. Using this mode, you can boot into “Safe Mode”.

NOTE: To trigger the Automatic Repair mode, you must interrupt the normal boot process three consecutive times.

Use the reset or power button on your Windows 10 laptop to stop the laptop during boot, AKA before it finishes loading Windows 10 (if you use the power button, you might have to keep it pressed for at least 4 seconds to force the power off).

When your Windows 10 laptop enters the Automatic Repair mode, the first thing you see is a screen that tells you that Windows is “Preparing Automatic Repair.”

After the laptop goes through its scanning and all, it should show you 2 buttons (one to “Restart” and one for “Advanced options”). Click on the “Advanced options” button.

From there, click on the following buttons as they come up:

  1. “Troubleshoot” ->
  2. “Advanced options” ->
  3. “Startup Settings ->
  4. “Restart”

Then there are some options for you to choose…

  • Press 4 or the F4 key on your keyboard boot into minimal “Safe Mode.”
  • Press 5 or the F5 key to boot into “Safe Mode with Networking” (this option usually allows you to still access the Internet while in “Safe Mode“).  <—This is probably the option you want.
  • Press 6 or F6 to go into “Safe Mode with Command Prompt” (this is usually for those that are pretty technical).

What Is “Safe Mode”?

Safe Mode” is essentially a stripped-down version of the complete Windows OS.

Safe Mode” was put into Windows OS to run as a diagnostic tool so that you can try to repair what is malfunctioning.

In many cases, “Safe Mode” can be used to recover your missing information and data.

Now the trick is to hook up your laptop to another device (maybe an external hard drive) so that your stuff (data) can be transferred and stored elsewhere.

After which, it will eventually be moved to a newer laptop.

Hopefully, this can be done before the laptop hard drive completely dies.

Laptop Hard Drive Hiccups and External Hard Drives

Many times, slight hiccups or corruption (usually caused my the age of the hard drive) are an indicator that it’s time to get a new laptop.

On that note, external hard drives aren’t too expensive – they can be purchased from your local office supply store.

In fact, if you don’t have a cloud back-up service, it’s a good practice to carry around an external hard drive with your laptop.

After all, you simply don’t know when disaster will strike (be sure to keep your data password-protected in case of theft).

Many people don’t do this, and as a result, they are often left in a state of panic, trying to figure out what to do – thus, wasting more time.

*Make sure that you also have a USB cable also to connect your external hard drive to the laptop.

Great… But Safe Mode Isn’t Working For Me

Now, what happens if you cannot boot up your laptop in the Safe Mode?

The next step then is to make use of a third-party recovery software package.

This may sound a little intimidating, but it’s not too bad.

There are many such packages that are currently available.

Some of the most widely used recovery packages include recovery modules such as:

  • Undelete Recovery;
  • Digital Media Recovery;
  • CD / DVD Recovery;
  • Lost Partition Recovery;
  • Damaged Partition Recovery.

So, as you can see, there are a number of options for your data recovery that you can use, depending upon your circumstance.

You may be wondering now, if my laptop is dead, how am I going to install a recovery tool onto my laptop?

Well, this is where you may need to use a Data Recovery Boot Up Disk that is provided from one of the recovery packages.

There is a separate procedure for all of this which, unfortunately, is out of the scope of this post.

If you’re in a situation and are in need of some assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

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