[3 Solutions] How to Get Photos Off Old Hard Drive on Windows

If you want to know how to get photos off an old hard drive, this passage introduces 3 solutions to photo recovery from an old hard drive.


By Kelsey / Updated on April 2, 2024

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Overview of getting off photos from old hard drive


Case 1. How do I get pictures off my old hard drive?

I have found an old hard disk where I saved a lot of photos from my childhood. But when I connected it to my computer, there was nothing on it. Can someone help me with how to get photos off an old hard drive?


Case 2. Can I get photos off a broken hard drive?

Hi everyone. One of my old hard drives died. It had thousands of pictures that I couldn't lose. Would you recommend any recovery tool that could save the files? Thanks in advance for your help.

Once a hard drive (external & internal), USB flash drive, or SD card is not used for a long time, the files stored on it may get lost for various reasons when you use it again. Before getting down to how to recover data from hard drive, let's see some common causes of file loss. Apart from files being deleted accidentally, we list several ones as follows:

  • Hard drive’s file system is corrupted or formatted in FAT.
  • Hard drive displays as a RAW file system and can't be recognized by Windows.
  • Files on the hard drive have been hidden due to a file system error or a virus attack.
  • Hard drive is damaged, corrupted, or dead from some hardware failures.

External Hard Disk

How to get photos off old hard drive on Windows?

For hard drives that are too old to function properly, the above reasons are why your data may not be able to be accessed properly, though it may still be stored on the hard drive. How to get pictures off an old hard drive? Here are some proven methods that can work you out.

Way 1. Find photos on old hard drive using DIR command

You can locate all your photos as well as hidden pictures on the old hard drive with the dir command. The dir command line will display a list of files and subdirectories in a directory. With the /S switch, it recurses subdirectories and lists their contents as well.

The tutorial guide below will help you with how to get pictures off an old computer hard drive from Command Prompt.

Step 1. Open the Run command window using the keyboard shortcut Windows + R.

Step 2. Populate “cmd” and press Enter.

Step 3. Type the “dir D:\*.jpg /s” command (you can change the drive letter D: with your old hard drive letter) to display all jpg picture files. If your photos are not in jpg format but png format, you can modify the command to “dir D:\*.png /s” to figure out how to get photos off an old hard drive on Windows 10 and other Windows versions.

Dir Command

Step 4. After that, copy these directory paths and open them on Windows. That’s how you can recover lost data on computer from hard disk.

Way 2. Check old hard drive with CHKDSK command

If your photos disappear due to a damaged partition, how to retrieve pictures off an old hard drive? CHKDSK is what you need. CHKDSK (means check disk) is a command line tool that allows you to check the hard drive for logical errors or bad sectors, and you can use it to fix most file system errors. This tool can be helpful for damaged partition recovery as well.

Depending on the number of files, the size of the hard drive, and the number of errors on the hard drive, CHKDSK can take anywhere from minutes to hours to complete. You can follow the following steps to get how to retrieve photos from an old hard drive running this tool.

Step 1. Search for “Command Prompt” in the Windows search bar and select Run as administrator.

Step 2. Connect the hard drive letter and type “chkdsk G: /f /r /x” and press Enter to detect and fix possible errors.

Chkdsk G F R X

Step 3. (Optionally) You can input “attrib -h -r -s /s /d G:\*.*” to recover hidden data from hard drives.

Attrib Cmd

Way 3. Recover photos from old hard drive via data recovery software

If your files on the hard drive have been deleted or formatted, the command line may not be useful. But you can use a professional data recovery tool like MyRecover to get back lost pictures. There are many good reasons why you should use this tool to recover lost photos.

✔ Easy to use: Without technical information and incomprehensible options, you can recover data in 3 steps on an intuitive user interface.
✔ Powerful recovery features: This Windows recovery tool supports you to recover documents, excels, photos, videos, and other 200+ types of data from sudden deletion, formatting, hard drive corruption, virus attack, and system crash.
✔ Fast and complete recovery: Using the Quick Scan and Deep Scan methods to discover all lost and deleted files, this tool will retrieve data at a high speed and a high recovery rate.
✔ Widely use: It supports data recovery from USB flash drive, external hard drive, SD memory card, emptied Recycle Bin, and is also compatible with FAT32, NTFS, exFAT, and ReFS in Windows.

How to get pictures off an old laptop hard drive as well as an external hard drive? Follow these steps:

Step 1. Download and launch Data Recovery for Windows on your PC and hover the mouse over the drive where you want to get photos off. And then, click Scan.

Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Select Location To Scan

Step 2. This program will check and list all lost files quickly and comprehensively. You can quickly locate a specific type of file or a certain file by using the Filter feature as well as the Search option.

Scan C Drive

Step 3. Tap the Recover x files button and select a path to store the photos you selected for recovery.

Recover Deleted Pictures From C Drive

The bottom line

This post showed how to get photos off an old hard drive using the CMD and useful file recovery software. If the CMD methods do not work for old hard drive data recovery, don’t forget that you can finish it with a recovery tool like MyRecover.

Kelsey · Editor
Kelsey is an English editor of AOMEI Technology. She is passionate about helping people find effective ways to deal with all problems in computer. She has great insights into data backup and recovery, disk partition and clone, and other data protection measures. She likes learn computer skills to improve herself and enjoy quality time with family and friends.