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Disaster! laptop got soaked in a storm

can i recover my hard drive?



8:52 am on Mar 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

i hope someone can help - i am in mourning. my laptop was destroyed a few days ago by rain. i was caught in a cloudburst on a motorbike and my laptop (and mobile phone) have totally died on me.

my biggest problem is that the laptop is a work-issued windows NT system. We can't FTP at all, all my ports are disabled (therefore cannot attach a cd burner or even use a floppy) and my laptop has a really odd configuaration which makes it hard to remove the hard drive and try and recover via a colleages laptop as i doubt anyone else has this particular setup.

i let it dry for a few days and it seems as though the system is firing up, but the display has gone. several friends have said that it is likely that the hard drive is still intact - but no-one has a clue on how i could recover the data.

i have been backing up monthly for work-related content but i have also done about 350 hours of work on a private project which i didn't back up (and before you all laugh at me, i was intending buying my own system today and tranferring via email this weekend. unfortunately i was 2 days too late) i am desperate to recover this data.

my question: is all hope lost or are there companies out there that can take any hard drive out, read the data and burn a copy for me no matter what system it came from? if so, what type of company should i be looking for in the yellow pages?

tx in advance


9:43 am on Mar 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Back in 98 the techs recovered the server after the 6 foot flood water subsided after 3 days. They got all my games & useless stuff back to me......I kept everything else on the desktop PC which they just trashed with the furniture.

So yes there is hope, you justhave to get it somewhere and get it apart.

Cheers from the Outback

Alternative Future

9:53 am on Mar 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


Here at work we once had a disaster and required to recover lost data during a format process that went wrong this software package done all it claims to do: FastFileRecover [dtidata.com]

I am not sure if this is the kind of recover you require but thought it might help if all else fails :)




1:07 pm on Mar 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Jane - a few thoughts-

1) Have you tried hooking up an external display?

2) As for recovery services, if all that is required is hooking your HD up to a working power supply, a local computer repair shop may be able to do the job,and could be a good place to start. Anything more complicated than that, and I would start searching on the Internet.

3) Be warned - there is a reason that "Data Recovery" is one of the most expensive keywords on Overture :(

Good luck.


3:28 pm on Mar 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Laptop HD are very generic, just smaller than regular PC drives and use a different cable, you should have no problems finding an adapter (they exist and work well) to connect that laptop harddrive to a regular PC as a second (or Nth) drive and just copy the data you need across.

Or if you know someone who has a Neo MP3 Jukebox, you can toss the harddrive in there, and copy the files to a PC with USB since you can just plug a laptop HD into a neo and it acts like a external harddrive (with the added bonus of being able to play MP3s)


11:14 pm on Mar 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

thanks all. yes, tried external display but no luck. not sure if the connection is broken but i get a blank screen on the second monitor. i can't connect a USB port - apparantly windows98/NT doesn't allow this?

i asked the guy who i bought my new laptop off if he could do something but he said i needed an identical machine to do that and he didn't have one. he didn't seem overly knowledgable though.

i also asked our IT "help" desk - after all we have 12,000 employees and i can't be the only idiot there:-) but they were firstly extremely cross with me and secondly said i should have been backing up and they aren't prepared to recover lost personal data. bah.

next stop will be several calls to computer repair shops!


2:12 pm on Mar 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

If you can get the drive out of the laptop getting the data off will be easy. Laptop drives are all pretty standard


12:34 pm on Mar 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

>>>If you can get the drive out of the laptop getting the data off will be easy. Laptop drives are all pretty standard

Yep. Just bought a USB hard drive enclosure to access the data I didn't get to backup on my laptop HD before sending it off to be fixed. Processor had a melt-down.

The enclosures run about $50-$150 for 2.5" - 3.5" HD. Some sites have them way overpriced so shop around a little. Make sure you know the size and PINs of your HD before ordering one, but most are 2.5 with 44-pin slots. They are basically simple plastic cases that you secure your HD into and plug through your USB ports if you have them.

They are also great for using as portable backup HDs or hot-swap drives.

Once you hook it up, you'll be able to read and write off it like an extra drive. IF your drive isn't really damaged.


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