How to Recover Files from Laptop that Won’t Boot?

Seeking ways to recover files from laptop that won’t boot? Use different methods to recover data from laptop that won’t boot and recover deleted files from hard drives.


By Penny / Updated on September 2, 2022

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How can I recover data from a hard drive that won’t boot?

Help! Laptop crashed, and boot media missing! BIOS cannot detect drive!


Please help me! My laptop crashed and it says Boot media missing when I restarted. After that, it takes me to Preparing Automatic Repair and the Troubleshoot menu. I tried one by another, but these two options cannot work. My project is due in 3 days, and all my files are in it. I need urgent help to fix it or to recover my files. Thank you so much.

- A user from ten forums

If your laptop crashes or you accidentally deleted the boot partition, your computer won’t boot. At the moment, it seems like a hot potato for you to recover files from laptop that won’t boot. If you’re desperate to jump out of the data loss dilemma, please read on.

If your boot fails because of a missing boot partition, you can create a bootable disk to boot your laptop. Then you can access your desired files.
If your laptop has been physically damaged, you can disconnect the hard drive and install it on another PC.    

Case A. Create bootable disk to recover files from laptop that won’t boot

Free AOMEI Backupper Standard is a practical utility to make bootable USB media.   

Please prepare a new USB drive because all the existing data on the USB stick will be formatted.
Prepare another bootable PC.
With the bootable USB media, the previously unbootable laptop can boot normally. If you need to recover the deleted/lost files, you can refer to the steps of the second case.

Phase 1. Create a bootable USB media

Step 1. Install and run AOMEI Backupper. Then connect your USB to the bootable PC.

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

Step 2. Choose Tools from the left and select the “Create Bootable Media” option.


Step 3. Select Windows PE option > Next.

Step 4. Select the USB stick > Click “Next” to create a bootable USB media.

Phase 2. Boot the laptop from the bootable USB media

Step 1. Connect the bootable USB to your unbootable laptop.

Step 2. Turn the laptop on and press Del & F12 at the same time to enter the BIOS.

Step 3. In BIOS, locate the Boot menu and look for the Boot Sequence.

Step 4. Change the boot order to boot from the bootable USB drive.

Step 5. Press F10 to confirm your laptop will boot from the bootable USB media.


Phase 3. Make a file backup from the bootable USB media

A growing number of users have realized that regular backups are the best hedge against data loss. That’s the truth. With the help of freeware AOMEI Backupper, you can make a File Backup to prevent files/folders loss.   

There’s no need for you to use different Windows features to backup files, partitions, or the system separately because this free backup software also permits you to make a “Partition Backup,” “Disk Backup,” and “System Backup” at the same time.
Compared with Windows features’ complicated backup steps and varied limitations, AOMEI Backupper is much easier to operate.

Step 1. Download and install AOMEI Backupper on your computer.

Step 2. After running it, select the “File Backup” option.


Step 3. Click “Add folder” or “Add files” > “This PC” > “Devices and drivers” to add files and folders. Then click the “Start Backup” button.


Case B. Recover deleted/lost files from hard drive

After booting, how to recover deleted/lost files from hard drives? There’s no better way than using top-rated data recovery software for Windows to resolve this issue.

Deeply rooted in the data recovery field and embedded with the combined scanning method, MyRecover is such a powerful and user-friendly tool.

Recover the deleted/lost files from HDD, USB, SD cards, and other storage devices.
Recover 200+ types of data: Word, Excel, PPT, Photos, Videos, Audio, Emails, and Compressed files.   
Get the original path, filename, and format for the deleted files.
During scanning, you can search your targeted files by typing their filenames in the search bar or wait to find all the deleted and other lost files on your computers after running Quick Scan and Deep Scan automatically.  
Support NTFS, exFAT, FAT32, and ReFS file systems.

So don’t hesitate to download it on your Windows 7, 8, 10, 11, or Windows Server!

Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
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Step 1. Launch it on your PC. Then select the partition/disk that includes your desired files and click the “Start Scan” button.


Step 2. Please search or view all the deleted and other missing files after scanning.


Step 3. Go to the Deleted files/Other missing files folder, and select the files you want to restore. Then click the “Recover x files” and save them in a different saved path.


Wrapping up 

How to recover files from laptop that won’t boot? This efficient post lists two ways for you to recover data from laptop that won’t boot or recover deleted files from hard drives.

Naturally, if you need to recover deleted files from hard drives after booting, please go to the second case.

To prevent data loss in the future, why not give the above data loss prevention software a shot? Meanwhile, please don’t empty your Recycle Bin from time to time.

Penny · Editor
Penny works as an editor at AOMEI Technology, while she's a tester and editor for AOMEI Data Recovery Tools. She enjoys helping users with data recovery issues on Windows and iPhones using simple and practical solutions. Outside of work, she has a strong affection for pets, particularly giant pandas.