Q&A: How can I retrieve my files from a broken laptop?

broken-laptopQuestion from Troy W.:  I have a three year old laptop that has a broken screen (it’s completely smashed because my sister sat on it lol).

I checked and it would cost more to have the screen replaced than the laptop is really worth.

I plan to just junk it, but I have a lot of files on there that I really need to get off of it first. How’s the best way to retrieve those files?

Rick’s answer:  Troy, you should indeed be able to copy the files off of your damaged laptop. Here are a couple of options:

1 – Even though the screen is unusable, the laptop itself might still boot up just fine. If it appears to start up after pressing the power button you can try connecting an external monitor via the external video port. If all goes well you can simply run the machine with the external monitor long enough to copy the files from the hard drive.

2 – If the laptop is completely dead you can remove the hard drive and connect it to another PC via an inexpensive USB external hard drive adapter. Alternatively, you can buy a USB external hard drive case and leave your laptop drive permanently connected to your computer as an external drive.

If you decide to go with the first option, be sure to either remove the hard drive from the laptop before disposing of it. That way no one will be able to fire up the machine the same way you did and steal your data.

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