Monday, 29 December 2014

Retrieve Picture Files Off Broken Computers With External Hard Drive Enclosures

When a computer dies, the two most common culprits are the motherboard and the hard drives. If your hard drives themselves died, then getting files off them is next to impossible. When the motherboard is the part that is nonfunctional, however, you can take out the hard drives and place them in external enclosures. These enclosures convert internal drives into external drives you can plug into any desktop or laptop. Even if your hard drive is clicking or making other unusual sounds, there is still a chance you can retrieve some pictures off the drive before it completely dies.


1. Shut off your computer and unplug it from the wall. Open its case and set the case lid or top aside. Locate your hard drive, which in most computer cases are placed at the front of the computer, near the CD or DVD drive. A hard drive is 3.5 inches wide, around an inch or so thick, and has two cables -- one data and one power -- connected to its back. Unplug the cables attached to the backs of your drives.

2. Remove any screws holding the hard drive in the case using a Phillips-head screwdriver. These screws are located on either side of a drive. Some drives, particularly in Dell computers, come on plastic "rails" so you can easily slide the drive out of the case, but you must then remove the rails using a screwdriver.

3. Insert the hard drive into the enclosure, orienting the connector end so that it faces you rather than the bottom of the enclosure. Take the lid to the enclosure and find its cables. Connect these cables to the connectors on the drive. Secure the enclosure lid, which often requires a couple of screws.

4. Plug in the enclosure's power source. Note that not all enclosures require a power adapter, as some get their power through the USB port. Plug your data cable -- typically a USB or eSATA -- into the enclosure and plug its other end into the computer. If the cable is eSATA, look for a port on your computer labeled "eSATA" that looks similar to a USB port.

5. Power on the enclosure or allow it to power itself on if it does not use a power adapter. Go to "Start" and select "Computer." Find the new drive letter and double-click to open your drive's contents. Locate any files with extensions such as JPG, GIF, TIF, PNG or PSD. These are all image file types.

6. Open "Computer" again in a new window and then double-click the drive where you want to place the image files. Line both windows side-by-side or on top of each other. In the window containing the hard drive with your image files, select all image files you want and drag them over to the second window you opened. Depending on the health of the old hard drive, you might need to make multiple attempts before you can get all the files.

Tags: hard drive, hard drives, image files, your hard, drive case