How to Recover Files from a Dead Laptop? (2023)

Do you know how to recover files from a dead laptop? This article will be worth reading because it teaches easy methods to get files from dead laptops.


By Lora / Updated on April 2, 2024

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Can you recover data from a dead laptop?

Laptops, also known as notebook computers, are widely welcomed by users worldwide because they are easy to carry and can work without a power supply.

Laptops genuinely served so many people, helping them deal with work and store & protect their files.

However, as also delicate devices, the laptop hard drives, and the assemblies, to some degree, are vulnerable and prone to be damaged.

Users may have accidentally dropped the laptops, have liquid like coffee spilled over and damaged them, etc. And with it, the laptop became dead and failed to boot, stopping users from accessing their files.


Need to get files off dead laptop


My one-year-old Toshiba laptop died - I thought it was a bad power cord, but apparently, it's something internal. I couldn’t get all my old files off before the battery went out. How can I recover files from it? Can I connect it to my new laptop? The old one won't power up at all. Appreciate any suggestions.


- Question from Tom’s Guide


That’s quite a common and frequent disaster but with various severity, from mild to intense.

Let’s check the possible symptoms of a dead laptop which can help you assess the damage to the laptop and decide how to fix it.


What are the symptoms of dead laptops?

The symptoms are roughly listed according to the severity. Check and estimate how severely the laptop was damaged/dead.

  • Frozen/sluggish performance. You may find the laptop responds so slowly in the beginning.
  • Frequent program crashes. The glitches can persist even after restarting.
  • Weird sound (like a clicking sound) while working. This indicates physical damage to the hard drive (if it uses one).
  • BSOD (Black Screen of Death). You may find no display on the screen after booting.
  • Fail to power on. A dying laptop might fail to boot up several times; if it cannot start up at all, it is dead.


Then, the following methods part can assist in getting data off dead laptop.

How to recover files from a dead laptop efficiently & safely?

With the above symptoms, you can clearly find out how severely your laptop was damaged. The prominent indicator is if it can boot up.

If your laptop can still boot up but act oddly or slowly, it is better to back up laptop to external hard drives or other safe places immediately.

If the laptop refuses to start, keep reading and perform laptop hard drive data recovery before data get overwritten.

Preparation: assess the damage & remove the hard drive

Prior to the recovery operations, we still need some preparations.

It requires the same operating systems when connecting the removed laptop drive to a desktop computer.

Step 1. Prepare a hard drive disk enclosure and cable. Please make sure to choose a compatible USB enclosure.

Step 2. Remove the hard drive from the dead laptop carefully > put the disk into the enclosure > connect the hard drive to a desktop computer using the cable properly. Then the laptop hard drive can now work as an external hard drive.

Step 3. If there is no file loss from the hard drive since it is dead, and you can access the files on it normally, you could copy them to the desktop computer to recover them.


But what to do if you find many files disappearing from the drive? Don’t be frustrated; keep reading and follow the steps below.

Efficient dead laptop recovery process

When data loss/deletion occurs due to system crashes, deletion, disk formatting, virus infection, etc., using advanced data recovery software for Windows is a safe and efficient way.

Undoubtedly, users will prefer a tool that is easy to operate, comprehensive, efficient, and compatible. Thus, we suggest you try MyRecover. It is specially designed for Windows users, available for all, regardless of experience or knowledge.

Excellent: Recover deleted and lost files from HDD, USB, SSD, folders, and external devices, e.g., photos, music, movies, audio, websites, compressed files, etc. 
Easy-to-use: Offer intuitive and clear GUI and filters to help users scan and get files from dead laptops in a breeze. 
Convenient: During recovery, keep the original Paths, Filenames, and Formats of deleted files. 
Compatible: Available for Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, or Windows Server PC with NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, and ReFS file systems.
Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Now, follow the steps and learn how to recover files from a dead laptop.

Users can use the free version to restore 30 MB of files for free each time. To unlock unlimited data recovery on multiple devices, upgrade MyRecover to the Pro & Tech versions.

Step 1. Install and run the program > connect the dead laptop hard drive to your Windows PC correctly> hover the mouse over the connected external device > click Scan.


Step 2. While scanning, input the filenames/extensions to locate the files faster. Also, you can sort the detected files by size, path, type, etc.


Step 3. Files detected will be classified into different types, choose the target files> click Recover x files. For example, choose Images; thus, you can recover photos from external hard drives


Other methods to recover data from dead laptops

If removing the dead laptop hard drive is inconvenient, you could also make bootable media to start the laptop.

Method 1. Use bootable media

Since the laptop is now unbootable, we need to make bootable media and boot it up. To make it easier, we could turn to an efficient data backup software that offers this feature – AOMEI Backupper.

Please prepare an unused or unwanted USB to load the bootable media or back up the USB files in advance because the USB will be formatted.

Step 1. Install and run AOMEI Backupper > connect a USB to the desktop computer > choose Tools > click Create Bootable Media.


Step 2. Select Windows PE option > Next > select the USB stick > click Next.

Step 3. Connect the bootable USB to the dead laptop > start the laptop > press Del & F12 simultaneously to enter the BIOS > change the boot order to boot from the USB >  Press F10 to confirm.


Then, assess the damage and decide to copy files to the desktop PC or use data recovery tools to restore files.

Method 2. Turn to an in-lab data recovery service

Another feasible method is to send the dead laptop to the data recovery services. You may need to consider this option when the laptop is severely physically damaged. At this time, it is almost impossible to repair it and get files from dead laptops by yourself.

Then, how much does a laptop recovery cost? How long does it take?

Commonly, the data recovery service will cost from $500-$2,000, according to how intense the damage is. And it generally takes 2 days to over 1 week to finish the fixing and shipping.

Thus, it is strongly recommended to create disk backups/system backups/file backups from time to time to avoid data loss in the future.


This article gathers practicable methods and detailed info to teach you how to recover files from a dead laptop.

Users can follow the general process: estimate the damage, remove the dead hard drive from the laptop, connect it to a working computer, and use professional data recovery software to search for data.

Lora · Editor
Lora is an editor of AOMEI Technology. She is also a tester and editor of AOMEI Data Recovery Tools. -- "Keep testing, write the most useful tutorials for helping people recover the lost data for Windows and phones" is the most meaningful thing for her. Dedicated to creating helpful tutorials, she hopes her tutorial can assist users to effortlessly solve data loss problems on their personal computers and mobile phones.