Fixing a computer that won’t turn on can be frustrating, but the panic caused by data loss is getting worse. If you can’t turn on your computer and don’t even have a backup, don’t panic. There are many possibilities.
There is always a risk that your hard drive will get damaged or fail. In this case, data recovery is expensive or impossible. However, in most cases, you cannot start the computer for other reasons. Such as power cut, boot sector damage or many other important data storage habits such as photos and documents. So if you can’t open it, it’s time to see if you can save the data.
There are two ways to facilitate data recovery. One requires knowledge of software and the other requires knowledge of hardware. Both require external drives to copy data. It can be used to store files during computer repair or replacement. Don’t worry if you don’t have much experience. You can solve this by carefully following the instructions.
Make your PC boot from USB drive
Your computer hardware may still function properly, but it won’t work in Windows. The bootloader may be corrupted due to a driver problem, or you may see a black screen instead of the familiar Windows desktop. However, if your computer is still running, you can use it to set up other environments where you can access your data.
If you are using a Windows PC, you can create a bootable USB drive in Windows to detect your hard drive. Buy another computer with at least 16 GB of storage space and a USB port. Download and run Microsoft’s Media Creation Tool on this computer and select ISO when prompted.
Then download and run Rufus, select the USB drive in the “Devices” section, select Windows ISO in the “Installation Options” section, and select Windows To Go in the “Image Options” section. Please click on Start and then wait for the process until complete. For more information, see the Rufus Run section of this guide. If you’re on a Mac, there are similar instructions for running macOS from a USB drive at Macworld UK.
Once done, you can restart your computer. However, when viewing the home screen, you have to press any of the keys on the keyboard to open the main menu. Usually, this menu tells you which button to show on the screen. For example, to access the Start menu on my computer, I have to press the F11 key on the Start screen. Here you can select a USB drive to start the Windows environment.
You can press Del or F2 to enter BIOS setup, If that doesn’t work. Find the Boot Order section and move the USB drive to the top of the list.
If all goes well, the computer will boot into the new Windows environment from this USB stick. When you open File Explorer, you will see the hard drive which contains all the data (if the drive is not damaged). If your hard drive is BitLocker encrypted, you will need this USB drive to run Windows 10 Pro and a recovery key to access your data. Without a key, files can be lost forever.
When the data is displayed, plug in an external drive and drag all the important files onto it. From here, you can safely reinstall Windows and troubleshoot startup problems without worrying about valuable data.
Remove your Hard Drive and plug it in another PC for test
You won’t be able to boot from a USB drive if your PC won’t turn on at all, as described above. However to access your data, you can remove the hard drive from your PC and plug it into another working PC for test. To do this you will need external hard drive reserved, a SATA to USB cable, docking station, a screwdriver, or whatever other tools that can open your PC.
You may need to check what your laptop is using (pictures on Amazon often show suitable disk types, can you watch a video from a damaged computer to see what kind of hard disk is compatible with the type of laptop that you are buying?). If your laptop uses an M.2 drive instead of a standard 2.5-inch drive, you’ll need a SATA M.2 to USB adapter, or an NVMe M.2 to USB adapter.
To be honest, finding the right adapter is the hardest part of this process. Turning on your computer can be difficult, but it’s actually a lot easier. Not all computers walk you through the process, but you can usually find uninstall instructions on Google along with your laptop’s model number.
This almost always involves removing a few screws from the bottom of the laptop and removing the bottom case. Usually, you can access the hard drive or SSD directly.
For some laptops, I’m lucky if the memory sticks to the motherboard, so I need to use or install a universal adapter for boot into USB drive. When you open the desktop, the slider can be easily removed from the side case. You don’t need a driver.
After removing the drive, plug it into a USB adapter and plug it into a USB port on your computer. (Ideally, you can use your computer on the same platform. If you have a Mac drive, it’s best to connect it to another Mac.) If you’re lucky, the drive should appear in File Explorer or Finder. I’ll do it ..
You can select the files you need (or protect all files) and drag them to an external drive. After a safe backup, you can restore or replace your computer or restart and restart your files.
Hopefully this experience demonstrates the importance of backup. You hear it a lot, I know it’s easy to put off. But don’t listen. You can clone your hard drive, create image files, or create recovery discs. Check your hard drive health. Set up a backup now, forget about it, and make sure you don’t have to face this panic again.
On my daily job, I am a software engineer, programmer & computer technician. My passion is assembling PC hardware, studying Operating System and all things related to computers technology. I also love to make short films for YouTube as a producer. More at about me…