Retrieving Files from a Non-Booting Hard Drive: A Guide

hard drive

Knowing how to recover files from a hard drive, especially when it’s not booting up, should be something that you must know if you own a computer. It’s because while you may have some issues when your electronic devices are starting to give up on you, most of these issues do happen randomly and prevent you from accessing your important data. Fortunately, we have just the right information you need to recover your crucial files easily. Consider the following tips for your guidance: 

Get an external hard disk enclosure

You need to get an external hard disk enclosure to put your drive inside and use it as a storage device through USB, eSATA port, and FireWise. Luckily, you can easily get enclosures from Amazon and other online stores for 20-50 bucks. They also come in either 3.5-inch or 2.5-inch sizes. Just ensure you have the appropriate internal interface based on the type of drive you have. It would be either IDE/ATA or SATA. 

If you are unsure about the classification, it would be wise to contact an IT professional to help you find the proper enclosure and even do the actual data recovery for a reasonable price. 

Remove your non-booting hard drive and put it into the purchased enclosure

You must remove your hard drive from the system unit to place it inside the enclosure. For this part, there’s no one-size-fits-all procedure because it all depends on your unit’s build, form factor, and model. That’s why it would be recommended to look for your manufacturers’ documentation or browse through the website to see its mechanism, which is typically either an easy latch or mounting type.

Latches are easier to use because all you need to do is press down to release your disk from the drive bay. In the case of a mounted one, you must have a Torx 5-point screwdriver and a flat-head screwdriver. Luckily, these tools are an investment if you see yourself doing computer repairs and customizing to meet your needs and preferences. Otherwise, it would be more practical to have IT professionals near you to do this.  

Install the hard drive into the enclosure

Installation should be simple, but it can also depend on the enclosure you purchase since some of them do require some manual adjustments. But generally, you should be able to place the drive inside, put the enclosure cover, and you’re all set. If you have issues with this step, contact your enclosure provider for further assistance. 

Connect your USB and power cable to recover the data

The next step is to connect your drive to a computer just like you would for an external hard drive. Once you turn on your drive, your interface should detect the drive right away and install it. Then, you will be prompted to browse through it or access it through File Explorer. 

When you get an error message, don’t worry because it just means the drive is still protecting your data. Just click Continue and enter your administrator password upon request. 

Copy all your drive’s data to a safe location

Once you can access your data from the drive, get them all so that you can format the drive afterward. You can even use it as a storage device if you wish. Your first course of action, though, is to find a secure location for all your important files to ensure you don’t ever have to go through that ordeal of data recovery ever again. Luckily, you can use cloud storage and other similar solutions for your convenience. 


Going through the stress of not being able to access your files because of issues with your hard drive is something no one would ever want to experience. Fortunately, you now know exactly what to do to prevent it from happening again. Just follow the previously mentioned steps and consider seeking help from professionals when needed. 

Are you in need of reliable data recovery services in Greenwood and other IT solutions? Consult with our team of experts at Finchum’s Computer Services. We can help ease your stress about external drive problems and other related issues. Contact us today! 



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