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How to Retrieve Pictures From a Broken Laptop

Updated February 21, 2017

These days we keep our entire lives on our computers, from financial records and tax returns to irreplaceable family photographs. If your laptop suddenly crashes, you need to take immediate steps to retrieve the vital files it contains. Removing the hard drive from the failed laptop and connecting it to a working computer can let you retrieve important photos and save your memories.

Shut down your laptop and remove the power cord. Turn over the laptop and remove the screws that hold the hard drive in place.

Grasp the hard drive by the front bezel and pull it out of the laptop. Set aside the broken laptop.

Connect the large end of the hard drive-to-USB connector to the connector on the laptop's hard drive. Connect the other end to a free USB port on another computer.

Start the other computer and right-click "My Computer." Look for a new drive letter that represents the addition of the laptop's hard drive. Depending on the configuration of your computer, this could be the D, E or F drive.

Double-click the drive letter that represents the laptop's hard drive. Scroll through the folders on the laptop hard drive until you find the photos you want to retrieve. Highlight the photos, right-click and choose "Copy."

Highlight a folder on the hard drive of your computer, right-click and choose "Paste." This copies the photos from your broken laptop to a working computer.

Use a file-recovery program if you still cannot access your photos. If you have antivirus software on your computer, it may include a file-recovery program. If not, you can download and use trial versions of many file-recovery programs.

Things You'll Need

  • Hard drive-to-USB converter cable
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About the Author

Based in Pennsylvania, Bonnie Conrad has been working as a professional freelance writer since 2003. Her work can be seen on Credit Factor, Constant Content and a number of other websites. Conrad also works full-time as a computer technician and loves to write about a number of technician topics. She studied computer technology and business administration at Harrisburg Area Community College.