So laptops can be tricky things to get up and running again once they’ve given up the ghost. Breathing new life into that empty Dell shell is the hobby of many a computer geek but can you necessarily trust the dorky demeanor to prevent a bad situation from getting worse? The good news is that your lifeless Lenovo can be brought back to life if you can save the soul! And by soul, I mean data of course.
So here’s the first thing you should not do for a successful laptop recovery:
1. Don’t have a backup of your main hard drive.
In this case, it is easy enough to use something like Backup and Restore for Windows or Time Machine for a Mac. Ideally you’d want to keep these backups on external hard drives. Both of these apps can remember what your system looked like before the dreaded incident occurred so that when you restore, except for having thrown out that good-for-nothing piece of junk, your old data will be good as new on the new system.
Speaking of which, backups are only as reliable as the last available backup.
2. Don’t have backups of your backups.
I’d also like to point out that it’s a good idea to keep the backups safe. Consider using a reliable backup application that’s able to sync your stuff to some cloud storage in case something happens to the external hard drive.
That was the easy part. Here comes the techie talk you were waiting for:
3. Don’t use the right tools if you’re going to recover data from a broken hard drive.
For a more labour intensive laptop recovery, it’s usually possible to retrieve the data from the actual disks of a broken hard drive. Hard drives crash for two reasons, logical failure, and mechanical failure. But how does one distinguish between the two? Typically you’ll hear a clicking noise (different from the usual soft grinding) if it’s a mechanical failure. If it’s a logical failure, you’re in luck and you’ll be able to do it yourself.
A simple search on the internet will return some suitable software which will also guide you through the process – costing a mere 70 odd pounds to buy. In order to perform the laptop recovery you might need another computer to run the software and a cable to connect to the distressed hard drive.
And that brings us to the next point:
4. Don’t call the pros if your hard drive has crashed due to mechanical failure.
Popular Mechanics says, “If the components in your drive are still functioning, you can recover the data yourself. If there’s mechanical damage, send it to the pros.” The tricky thing with mechanical failures is that it’s, well, tricky. The drive itself is made up of tiny moving parts and if fiddled with incorrectly, will result in more damage and possible permanent data loss. Even in a worst case scenario, like accidentally dropping your laptop in Grandma’s potato soup (which is much like a natural disaster), Glenn Derene writes, “…[they were] able to save 99 percent of the data from the dry drive and 100 percent from the flooded drive. Had we been paying customers, the service would have cost us $1200 each.” At around 800 pounds this laptop recovery was costly but doable.
Finally, as to the causes of a broken laptop, I leave you with some sage advice:
Just because there’s an apple on your Mac, it doesn’t mean you should dip it in caramel.
Don’t say I didn’t tell you so.