2 Quick Ways | How to Save Data From a PC That Won't Boot

How to save data from a PC that won’t boot? Read this page and get 2 effective ways to recover data from computer that won't boot. Also, you can also backup files when the PC won't boot in simple steps.


By Lori / Updated on April 2, 2024

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Can You Get Files Off from Computer That Won't Boot

It's undoubtedly frustrating to face an unbootable computer, especially when you're worried about losing valuable data. Maybe the bootloader is corrupted, or a driver issue could be causing you to get a black screen.

If your computer refuses to boot and you are missing a backup. So here are the questions: How to save data from a PC that won't boot? How to recover data from computer that won’t boot?

How to Save Data From a PC That Won't Boot

If you encounter such problems, there is no need to panic. Read on to get 2 solutions that will guide you to recover data when PC won’t boot in Windows10/8/7.

How to Recover Data When PC Won’t Boot in Windows 10/8/7

Generally speaking, if you have backup files, you can easily and quickly retrieve lost files when Windows won’t boot. But what if you don’t have a backup file? Don’t worry, in this case, you can try the following 2 methods to recover and save data from a PC that won’t boot.

Way 1. Create a Bootable Media to Save Data from a PC That Won’t Boot ( Faster)

When your computer won't boot from the hard drive, you can create a bootable media (CD/DVD or USB) containing Windows to access files from hard drive via MyRecover. It allows you to recover data from a hard drive that won't boot and save all data from the failed hard drive to another secure external storage device.

  • During the creation process, all existing data on the media will be erased. Using an empty drive or this free Windows backup tool AOMEI Backupper Standard is advisable to protect your data beforehand.
  • Free download and install MyRecover on a workable PC. Connect a blank USB drive or insert a CD/DVD into the system for the creation of a bootable medium.
Download Software Windows 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Step 1. Make a bootable drive

1. Launch MyRecover on the workable computer, and choose "Crashed PC Recovery".

crashed pc recovery

2. Select an empty USB or CD/DVD bootable disk to create a boot drive according to your needs and click "Execute".


3. When you create a bootable USBdrive, it will erase all data saved in the USB drive. Please back up important data in advanced. Then click Yes.

confirmation window

4. The creation operation will run and you can check it. The process will take a several minutes.

creation process

5. You will see the creation success message and be notified of the steps to boot from a bootable disk. Then, start retrieving data from won't boot hard drive.


Step 2. Boot your PC from the bootable USB

Insert the bootable medium to the PC that won't boot > press F12, F2, F10, F11, Del, or Esc to enter the BIOS > modify the computer's boot order in BIOS > restart the PC and choose the proper boot device (a bootable USB drive) > save the change by pressing F10 and exit.

Professional Bootable Data Recovery Software
  • Compatible with many data loss situations. Such as recover data from PC that wont boot, formatted disks, crashed systems, virus attacks, etc.
  • Recover deleted Microsoft Word, Excel, PPT, PDF, PPTX, ODP, CSV, WPS files, and other 200+ file formats with three steps.
  • Recovered deleted/lost data retains its original filename, directory, and path.
  • Support NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, ReFS in Windows 11/10/8/7 and Windows Server.

Step 3. Recover data from a crashed system/PC

1. After booting from MyRecover bootable disk, hover the mouse over the drive saved deleted files before, and click Scan.


2. The program will initiate a scan of your drive. Utilize the Search Box or the Filter feature for a swift identification of the desired data.


3. Upon identifying the required data, select it and click "Recover x files". Then, opt for a new location to store the recovered files.


🌟Tips: For unrestricted data recovery, try to consider upgrading MyRecover to the Pro or Tech version.

Way 2. Try Another Computer to Recover Data When PC Won’t Boot

If you find yourself unable to start your computer and need to get data off laptop hard drive that won’t boot, another method is to remove the hard drive and connect it to another functioning PC. For this manual data recovery way, follow these 5 steps:

Step 1. Turn off the computer, remove the battery, and unplug the laptop or computer from the electrical outlet.

Step 2. Open the laptop or computer case, find the unbootable hard drive, disconnect the hard drive cable, unscrew the screws, and remove it from the case.

Remove Drive

Step 3. Place the hard drive into the external hard drive enclosure and connect it to the operating PC. Alternatively, connect the drive to another functioning computer.

Drive Enclosure

Step 4. Restart the new computer with the standard operating system on the primary drive so that you can read and access data from the unbootable hard drive.

Step 5. Finally, copy the files and recover data from the unbootable hard drive to the new storage device

Further Reading: How to Test a Hard Drive That Won’t Boot?

When Windows won't boot, you will usually see a black screen with only the cursor visible, and the following error message may appear:

🐱‍🏍 The Boot Configuration Data for your PC is missing or contains errors

🎊 Master Boot Record (MBR) corrupted

🎇 Missing boot sector

🐱‍👤 Error loading operating system


🎏 Bootmgr is missing. Press CTRL + ALT + DELETE to restart your computer

However, not all of the boot problems are related to the health of your hard drive. You can troubleshoot a computer that won't boot. Here are the steps to diagnose the problem:

1️⃣ Press Num Lock or Caps Lock during startup: If the light does not light up, there may be a hardware problem.

2️⃣ Removing the laptop battery: For laptops with removable batteries, remove and connect the charger. If successful, consider replacing the battery.

3️⃣ Reconnect the hard drive to the motherboard: Make sure the hard drive cable is securely connected. Check whether Windows boots normally.

4️⃣ Change the boot order in the BIOS: Prioritize the drive that contains Windows in the BIOS settings.

5️⃣ Reset BIOS settings: Switch from UEFI to Legacy BIOS Switch BIOS mode.

Bonus Tips: How to Backup Files When the Computer Won't Boot?

How to back up files when computer won't boot? After the bootable USB drive is created successfully, it is recommended to use this free backup software for Windows - AOMEI Backupper Standard. You can choose an entire disk/ partition/file/system backup as your needs.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step 1. Plug in the bootable media (USB drive) to the unbootable Windows PC.

Step 2. Start the problematic PC from the bootable USB drive. In the main interface of AOMEI Backupper, click Backup > File Backup.

File Backup

Step 3. Add the files or folders you need to back up. Select the location to save files. Then, click Start Backup.

Select Destination


That’s all about how to save data from a computer that won’t boot. There is no doubt that using MyRecover to create bootable media is very helpful when your computer won’t boot. It can also help you recover laptop hard disk crash.

Ensuring data protection on your hard drive is crucial and it is recommended to use the free Windows backup tool AOMEI Backupper Standard. This tool facilitates file/folder/system/disk backup, enables quick file recovery from backup, and helps in overall data security.


How to recover files from SSD that won't boot?
MyRecover is especially useful to recover data from SSD that won't boot. Accessing files from a non-bootable hard drive on your SSD needs 3 simple steps: Create a bootable drive > Start your PC that won’t boot from the bootable drive you created > Select the non-bootable SSD to scan.
How to get files off of a dead computer?
Way 1. Boot in Safe Mode (internal HDD)
Way 2. Boot from CD or external flash drive
Way 3. Remove the HDD and connect it to another PC
Way 4. Boot PC with a Windows installation disc
Way 5. Utilize a professional data recovery software
Can I get files off dead PC?
Access your data by using the system's hard drive as an external drive. Change the boot media to USB via the BIOS utility or reinstall Windows with a USB installation media to retrieve data.
How do I get data off my old computer?
Here are 3 options you can do:

1. Slide the old drive into a USB hard drive enclosure and connect it to the new PC.
2. Connect the old disk to your new computer with a USB hard drive adapter.
3. If it's a desktop, connect the old disk as a secondary internal drive.
Lori · Editor
Lori receives professional technical training since joining AOMEI, and aims at helping users troubleshoot problems on data recovery and protection. She focuses on simple, efficient and practical methods, and provides professional advice. Being able to help readers and users is her ultimate goal.