How to Retrieve Data from External Hard Drive that Won’t Boot?

Learn to retrieve data from external hard drive that won’t boot via two phases in this article. Besides, you can get some external hard drive data/partition recovery tips.


By Penny / Updated on April 2, 2024

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Is it possible to retrieve data from external hard drive that won’t boot?

The external hard drive is a useful data storage device that can save plenty of electronic files. It’s a separate device that connects to your PC via a USB port. Thus, the external hard drive is a great choice for data backups and portability.


But some users are bothered by unbootable external hard drives. Not to mention getting data from this portable storage device.


I found my external hard drive cannot boot after connecting it to my Windows 10. So is it possible to retrieve data from external hard drive that won’t boot? Thanks.

As a matter of fact, bootable media makes it possible to recover files from external hard drive Windows 10 PC. If you’re eager to jump out of the data loss dilemma, please read further.

How to recover data from external hard drive that won’t turn on?

If there’re no deletion performances of this unbootable external hard drive, after altering the boot order to boot Windows 10 from USB flash drive, you can get your desired files with ease.

On the contrary, please continue following the steps of the second phase to recover deleted and missing files from external hard drives.

Phase 1. Create a bootable media via AOMEI Partition Assistant

Assuming you accidentally deleted Windows 10 boot partition (EFI Partition or System Reserved Partition), your Windows PC definitely won’t boot.

At the moment, the top priority is to create bootable media with a professional partition manager tool like AOMEI Partition Assistant.   

If the budget allows, you’d better use a blank USB drive because the data on this USB stick will be formatted.
Prepare another bootable computer.
Bootable media can make the previously unbootable PC restart normally. If you need, you can follow the steps of Phase 2 directly to perform external hard drive data recovery.
Download Demo Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Step 1. Download the free AOMEI Partition Assistant demo version on a working PC and connect your USB to it. Then click Make bootable media > Next.


Step 2. Select “USB Boot Device” and click “Proceed” to begin the pending operation.


Step 3. Click the “Yes” button to begin the process.


Step 4. After connecting your bootable USB media to your unbootable computer, go to its BIOS.

Step 5. In BIOS, locate the Boot menu and look for the Boot Sequence.

Step 6. Change the bootable order from your connected bootable USB media.

Step 7. Press F10 to confirm your PC will boot from the bootable USB media.


Please connect your external hard drive to the computer to locate your needed data.

Phase 2. Recover files from external hard drive Windows 10 via data recovery software

After booting, how to recover files from external hard drive Windows 10 PC? If you’ve made a disk backup with free Windows backup software, you can get your desired files from this backup directly.

If not, there’ll be no better way than using one of the best Windows data recovery tools, MyRecover to get them back.

  • For a higher data recovery rate, please avoid newly written performances after data loss.
  • After recovery, please remember to save these retrieved files in a new saved path.
  • To recover a large number of deleted & missing files from your external hard drives with ease, you can consider upgrading MyRecover to the Professional or Technician edition.   
Powerful features, friendly design, and industry experience of MyRecover:   
Powerful features: Recover deleted & lost Word, Excel, PPT, folders, compressed files, photos, songs, videos, audio, websites, and other 200+ file types from internal/external hard drives.
Easy-to-find: During Quick Scan and Deep Scan, you can quickly locate your desired files by Filename, Path, Date, Size, etc.
Convenient: Retain the original Path, Filename, and Format for the deleted files.   
Excellent compatibility: Support NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, and ReFS file systems.

Don’t hesitate to install MyRecover on your Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, or Windows Server PC now!

Download Software Windows 11/10/8/7/Server
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Step 1. Connect your external hard drive to your Windows. After running MyRecover, hover the mouse over your external hard drive and click Scan.


Step 2. Filter your needed data according to Name, Date, Document Type, or Path.

  • Name: Type the filenames of your desired files to narrow the search area.
  • Date modified: Set the date according to your situation (today, yesterday, the last 7/30 days, etc).
  • Size: Filter the file size based on your needs (<128KB, 128KB~1MB, 1MB~ 512MB, etc).


Step 3. Go to the Deleted Files/Recycle Bin/Other Missing Files folder and select the files you want. Then click “Recover x files” to start Windows data recovery.


Related Q&A about external hard drive data/partition recovery

Obviously, it’s possible to retrieve data from external hard drive that won’t boot with feasible fixes. Apart from that, there’re some related tips about external hard drives.

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.