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Dead PC Disk Recovery

mar7t1n
Grafter
Posts: 84
Registered: 09-08-2007

Dead PC Disk Recovery

MY PC died this week. It was self build three years ago so I thought I'd replace the motherboard and processsor, get a bit of an upgrade and carry on for only a few hundred. But seems standards have changed and it's coming down to about all that's useful is the monitor and case. Even the power-supply standards have changed! It's hard to accept that for one faulty component I'm basically going to have to bin the lot and pretty much start again.
Anyway I have two topics of conversation. One is how do I get at my data? I have a SATA disk with NTFS, some files of which I protected by user to stop them being read by just anyone. If I find someone kind enough to open their box and plug my disk in. Will I be able to boot up from my disk and just get at the files I need and transfer them to a removable USB. Or because the PC is different will it just fail. Yes I know I should have been a bit hotter on my backups. Long term stuff is safe, but files I use every day I've lost at the moment and don't want to go back and do all that work again.
Second question is the pro's and con's of self build or off the shelf for the replacement PC. When I did this before it was such a hassle. It's easy to fit the bits, but if something doesn't work a faulty component looks excatly the same as a working one. So the motherboard went in and out about 5 times before finally getting it replaced. No wonder it or the processor is blown 3 years down the line. But off the shelf insists you buy Windows which I don't need as I already have a licence thank you very much, and I've got a working keyboard, mouse and monitor.
10 REPLIES
VileReynard
Seasoned Pro
Posts: 10,651
Thanks: 206
Fixes: 9
Registered: 01-09-2007

Re: Dead PC Disk Recovery

If you opt to have it built for you, it is still possible to get a motherboard with sufficient PCI slots. You will have to get a new processor/memory though. Probably a new graphics card?
You can have a PC made for you without any operating system - I mean not everyone needs (or wants) to run Windows.
That's how I had the PC on which I'm writing this - I wanted a dual-core 64 bit with better graphics than in the standard package; also an "extra" PCI slot to take my SCSI card. It came with a cheap SATA disks - which I use for backups. So I added my old SCSI disk in and installed Linux. I didn't pay for (or get) any Windows [this forum does not allow a suitably descriptive word to be used here].
If you have any 64 bit cards, find out if they will physically fit on the new motherboard.

Swift
Dabbler
Posts: 23
Registered: 27-11-2007

Re: Dead PC Disk Recovery

Your best bet here (in regards to your files) would be to add the drive to another system like you suggest, but you won't be able to boot from the OS installation on that drive with the different hardware. You will need to boot from that computer's existing drive, and access your files that way.
If you find yourself locked out of certain folders due to the restrictions you mention then this article should help you out:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/308421
mar7t1n
Grafter
Posts: 84
Registered: 09-08-2007

Re: Dead PC Disk Recovery

Useful Components
Case - still shiney
Keyboard
Mouse
Monitor - although it's not widescreen
DVDRW Drive - which is only 2 months old.
160Gb SATA disk - although it's 3 years old and approaching it's unreliable life period.
Rubbish
Motherboard - believed to be dead
Processor - believed to be dead
Graphics Card - as it's an AGP slot
Memory - as they now run at 800MHz and mine is only 400Mhz
Power Supply - as it's only HA! only 400W and now they use 24 pins not 20 on motherboards
Heat Sink - as it won't fit 775 processors without a kit which costs as much as buying a new one
Cliff_Jordan
Grafter
Posts: 228
Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: Dead PC Disk Recovery

Re the data recovery. I had a similar situation about 18 months ago and bought an external drive enclosure (USB). Dabs have them currently for about £15-17 - look under Storage>Accessories>External Enclosures.
I couldn't boot from the old drive but was able to access all the data on it by this method.
Cliff
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 2,680
Thanks: 1,062
Fixes: 8
Registered: 10-04-2007

Re: Dead PC Disk Recovery

If you want to go down the part build route, you could try http://www.powerc.com
Look at their Motherboard bundles options - you choose Motherboard and then options on Case; Memory; Graphics
You could also go for a Base unit only option?
Nice touch is that all their prices include VAT and delivery (if it's over £50).  I've used them several times and been impressed with kit and delivery.
E.g.  Ordered 19" Widescreen LCD 15:00 Wednesday, delivered and had it installed on my system 11:00 a.m. Thursday
Maurice
Community Veteran
Posts: 17,024
Thanks: 1,218
Fixes: 13
Registered: 06-11-2007

Re: Dead PC Disk Recovery

Hello,
If you want to access your files on your old hdd, then you need to get to Maplin, and ask them for a hdd piggyback device.  I bought one recently which does both SATA and IDE.... cost me £40 but well worth it, as you can use it externally of any computer, and not have to mess about with the innards of the "host" ...
You remove your hdd from your original machine and plug it into the piggyback device, then plug that into the usb of another computer, and it will show up as an additional Local Disc    e.g    local disc E:/.
Set up a folder on your "host" computer drive C:/ and call it Recovered Files, or similar, then using Window Explorer  drag and drop the files and folders  from your hard disk to it.
Then if you have a memory stick  copy them to that, ready to copy back to your "new" computer ! Failing that  use the DVD/CDR
VileReynard
Seasoned Pro
Posts: 10,651
Thanks: 206
Fixes: 9
Registered: 01-09-2007

Re: Dead PC Disk Recovery

Or just add the new drive into the new box.
Then you will have more disk space.

mar7t1n
Grafter
Posts: 84
Registered: 09-08-2007

Re: Dead PC Disk Recovery

You'll be pleased to here I put my disk into a friends PC and it booted off my disk without fiddling, and everything seemed to work apart from the mouse. So swapped to a wired PS2 mouse and could then get at my files and pop them onto an external USB drive.
A lot of new motherboards are now presenting SATA disks on the back plate so if you know someone with one of those then it's even easier.
So my data is safe.
I  just need to decide on a new PC now. Still undecided on doing it on the cheap and self building, keeping my case, hard disk, optical disk, keyboard, mouse and 17" TFT screen . Or just starting again from scratch with a brand new PC with a nice new 19" widescreen, new disk the lot. After all it's only money..... But I do resent that I'd be getting about £100 of stuff I didn't actually want, Ie Vista and 5-in-1 card readers etc. So the self build is probably the way I'll be going. Things will be half the price in another 12 months time. And until my PC went wrong I was perfectly happy with it.
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,729
Registered: 04-04-2007

Re: Dead PC Disk Recovery

Anything on here take your fancy;
http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Dell-Outlet
They update stock daily, so keep checking.
Chilly
mar7t1n
Grafter
Posts: 84
Registered: 09-08-2007

Re: Dead PC Disk Recovery

I've plumped for a self-build with components sourced from www.micom.co.uk in the end. There local so easy to pick stuff up and take it back if it doesn't work. Just not got it yet. I had nieavly thought that by sorting by price and then deciding on something suitable within my budget that I would get best quality for price. Oh how wrong. On double checking it turns out that the Core 2 Due E6750 is cheaper than the E6600. So I swapped my order, had to also change the mother board for a better one but that's good cos I get 6 USBs on the back rather than 4. Then I'm keeping all my peripherals and getting a pretty decent PC for half the price of a new one. I'll let you know how it goes.