How to Recover Data from a Dead PC

We all know we’re supposed to routinely back up our hard drives, but many of us forget to until it’s too late. So, when your computer isn’t turning on, your first worried thought is probably of the data you’ll lose if you can’t resolve the issue or circumvent it long enough to recover your local files. Whether the problem is an OS malfunction, malware attack or faulty BIOS settings, you want to exhaust every possible option for recovery before throwing in the towel.

While there’s no guaranteed data recovery method for this situation, there are a few things you can try. Read on and we’ll guide you through some options that may help you save your data.

Data recovery from a dead PC

There are a few ways you can approach data recovery.

In some cases, a dead PC is actually just a PC that’s struggling to boot. In this case, you can use BIOS utility to recover your data. While it will not work for data stored on the C drive, it could recover data from other locations. Follow these steps:

  • Insert a USB drive into your computer.
  • Turn your computer on, hit the boot key (typically F12) to enter the boot menu, then click on USB Installation to initiate Automatic Repair.
  • If Automatic Repair fails to repair your computer, move through the subsequent prompts by clicking the following options in this order:
    • advanced options
    • troubleshoot
    • advanced options
    • command prompt
  • When the Command Prompt window opens, type “notepad.exe” and hit enter on your keyboard.
  • In Notepad, select file in the top menu bar, then click open.
  • Click This PC on the left, then change the type of files to All Files in the dropdown at the bottom of the box.
  • Right-click on desktop, hover the cursor over Send to, then select your external drive from the menu.

If your computer won’t turn on, you can also try using your hard drive as an external drive for data recovery. Be careful with this option! Read all steps carefully before getting started and follow them exactly, or you may permanently lose all data on the drive by accident:

  • Remove your computer’s hard drive and connect it to a fully functioning PC using something like a SATA to USB converter.
  • Open Disk Management.
  • If the hard drive is listed as RAW, assign a letter drive to it before proceeding. If the system prompts you to format your RAW drive when assigning it a letter, do not format it! You will permanently lose your data.

If the above options aren’t successful or seem too daunting to try on your own, consider using data recovery software or seeking help from a data recovery professional. Your files are important—don’t risk losing or corrupting them in your effort to get them back. The skilled data recovery experts at are here to help. If your files are recoverable, we’ll get the job done fast. Contact us today to get started.

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