DIY Data Recovery for Crashed Drives

At Iowa City Data Recovery, one of our service groups, we get a lot of support requests from people who describe their drives as crashed.

Sometimes the failures are mechanical, but often the drive is just not starting up because the operating system or file structure is corrupted.

In these cases, it’s fairly easy for someone to get their files back by following these steps.

Decide Your Approach

If you have a relatively new and fast computer, you may want to be careful during this process so you can reassemble everything later. You’ll need your recovery software to reinstall everything.

This process works best if you just purchase a new drive for the computer. You may want to purchase a new SSD (solid state drive) for your computer. This will help it run faster, and you can save your defective drive just in case there are files on it that you don’t want to accidentally erase.

If the computer is older, you may want to just purchase a new computer, and continue with the steps below.

If you have a second, working computer, then you can continue with the steps below, and once you’re sure you have all the files, and if you think the drive isn’t mechanically damaged, you can consider reusing it after you’ve recovered your files — but reusing it will erase the data on the old drive so be careful, or just get a new drive.

Recovery Process Overview

Once you remove your drive (discussed below) and connect it to a working computer using a dock or adapter (described below), you’ll attempt to read your files from the drive. If the operating system was Windows 7 or later, then you probably have a folder in the Users directory/folder. You’ll want to check all user folders since you may have used other logins.

If the drive isn’t immediately readable, you may be able to use data recovery software to access the files. Or, you might try using a friend’s Apple computer to read the drive — since file corruption that stymies Windows computers might not be a problem for Apple.

Additional supporting information is found below.


Remove the Drive

For most people this is the hardest part, and it’s important to do this properly so as to not damage your computer or drive. Be sure to use the right tools.

  • Desktop. In general, with desktop computers, you’ll most likely need a phillips screwdriver, but some systems don’t require tools. Be sure to take pictures of how everything is connected, and label cables. Also, be sure to unplug the computer before beginning. Then, as you’re working, keep a hand or rest your bare arm on the metal case so any static is neutralized.
  • Laptop. Some newer laptops have non-removable solid-state drives (SSD technology). You may want to search YouTube for instructions that are for your model computer. Some Dell computers have only one or two screws that are removed, then the drive slides out. Other computers may require that the bottom of the computer be removed. If you’r not careful, you could take things apart and not be able to assemble later.


Get an External USB Drive Adapter

With a USB drive adapter you can connect your drive and hopefully read it on another working computer. If it has a virus  you’ll want to make sure that doesn’t spread to the working computer. You could also use a new drive to reassemble your old computer, and then once it’s working, use the USB adapter to get your files back — therefor not needing a second computer. Below is information on the various options for connecting an internal drive by USB.

External Drive Docks and Adapter Kits

There are two general types of systems for connecting an internal drive externally.


Drive Dock

The drive docks these days are usually for SATA drives that just plug into the dock. You’ll probably want one with the faster USB 3 standard. [Details]


Drive Adapter Cable

The drive adapter cables take up a little less room. Some are dedicated to SATA drive connections like the one shown below. [Details]
Other adapter kits can accommodate older style drive connectors such as the kit shown below. [Details] This kit can handle 2.5″ and 3.5″ IDE as well as ESATA drives. [Buy]

How to Force Quit a Program on an Apple Mac Computer

The chart below shows how to force quit a program on an Apple Mac computer. There are two primary ways to do this. You can choose Force Quit from the Apple Menu found in the upper left corner. Or, you can press the alt/option + command + esc keys on the keyboard to bring up the Force Quit menu. Click the image for a larger view.


Apple Mac Force Quit Menu

The Force Quit menu is shown below.


Best Mobile Smart Phones From One Plus One, HTC One M8, Google Nexus, Moto X, LG G3, and Amazon Fire


One Plus One

Summary. The powerful Qualcomm© Snapdragon™ 801 processor with global 4G LTE is coupled with an immersive 5.5″ 1080p display for over a day’s worth of battery life.  We focused only on features that would truly improve the OnePlus One experience such as Voice Wakeup, and On Screen Gestures. (How to buy.) Thanks to T.P. for assisting in the research of this document.

Enhanced Android OS. The OnePlus One comes with a special version of CyanogenMod (based on Android™), designed for the One. It’s fast, light, secure and will receive updates for at least 2 years.

Camera. The camera on the OnePlus One excels thanks to quality optics, sensors and algorithms. Boasting a 13 megapixel Sony Exmor IMX214 camera with f/2.0 aperture, the OnePlus One camera takes amazing pictures even in low light conditions. Shoot anytime, anywhere for bright, sharp photos. Our camera has 6 physical lenses. Your photos will be more precise and detailed without suffering from distortion often caused by lower apertures. With an impressive 5 megapixel camera adorning the front of the OnePlus One, selfies will be more captivating than ever. The extra-wide 80º viewing angle captures more area than other phones so your pictures will include more background without distortion.

Processor. Packing a Qualcomm© Snapdragon™ 801 processor with 2.5GHz Quad-Core CPUs, the OnePlus One’s operational capacity and performance are enhanced by Qualcomm’s heterogeneous computing approach. This chipset harnesses the robust integration of many components for incredible speed and power efficiency. Among them, the custom Krait CPU architecture for sustained peak performance, integrated 4G LTE connectivity and Adreno 330 GPU for superior graphics and gaming experience, boosting 3D interfaces, colors and textures.

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Motorola Moto X

Moto X™ is ready when you are.  It responds to your voice – no touching necessary.  Quickly access the 10-megapixel camera with a twist of your wrist, letting you take pictures before the moment passes. Record 1080p HD video with stereo sound, and video chat with a front-facing HD camera. Use Moto X’s entire 4.7-inch HD screen as a viewfinder without any icons obstructing your view. Intuitive controls let you push to zoom, tap anywhere on the screen to take a shot, or tap and hold to continuously shoot. Moto X is the first smartphone ever to be designed and assembled in the USA, so it’s close to you before it even gets to you.  Once you turn it on, it’s all yours. Just talk. (Buy from Republic Wireless, Verizon, or use the MotoMaker to design your own.)

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HTC One (M8)

The HTC One (M8) has an all metal body with sleek lines and soft curves that has been crafted to fit perfectly in the palm of your hand. It curves around the screen with no edges or seams to make it one of the most comfortable phones to hold. HTC sense 6: We’ve given the Sense 6 user experience a stylish new overhaul. It’s bolder, cleaner, and more colorful. Enhanced intuitive gesture recognition makes access to your phone faster and easier, and allows you to interact with your phone in ways you never thought possible. • Motion LaunchTM gestures • Custom themes and fonts • HTC Sense TVTM Sports – Real time sports scores and stats • HTC BlinkFeedTM – Your world at a glance • ZoeTM – Bring your stories to life.

Take brilliant day or night time shots with the HTC Duo camera. Add pro effects effortlessly, automatically make mini movies in seconds, or flip to the 5MP front camera for the perfect selfie.

UFocus lets you select what you would like to be in focus, even after you’ve taken the picture. The aesthetic blur you see is called the bokeh effect. It’s a professional effect you normally only get with expensive cameras or complicated editing software. On the new HTC One it just happens automatically.

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Google Nexus 5

Slimmer, lighter design. Nexus 5 is precision-built from strong materials, and the intelligently simple design showcases more of what matters to you. At only 4.59 oz and 8.59 mm thin, it’s the most powerful Nexus phone yet. Speed and power to spare.

With 4G/LTE and ultra-fast Wi-Fi, Nexus 5 keeps you connected at blazing speeds. Add in the cutting-edge 2.26GHz Qualcomm SnapdragonTM 800 processor and you’ll race through games, zip around the web and switch between apps at the flick of a finger. Stunning 5 display.

More room to do what you do, and better colors too. Nexus 5 gives you a Full HD display so you can see every detail in lifelike color with less glare and a wider viewing angle-the perfect canvas for your moments. Powered by Android 4.4, KitKat. Android is fast and powerful yet simple to use. Focus on getting stuff done without having to think about the technology underneath.

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Get the ultimate in smart technology. The LG G3 phone is sleek, stylish and innovative to its core. Featuring a stunning 5.5 Inch, Quad HD 2,560 x 1,440 resolution display, Laser Auto Focus and more, the LG G3 proves that form and function are not mutually exclusive.

Sign up to get the latest LG G3 news and LG G3 release dates delivered directly to your inbox, or browse our collection of cell phone accessories and activity trackers – to get even more from the devices you rely on.

Behold the latest smartphone in LG’s award-winning G Series. Now, with a larger, clearer display, a laser-precise camera and superior smart interactivity, we can confidently call the G3 the best smartphone that LG has ever made.

The LG G3’s new 5.5″ Quad HD (2560 x 1440) display transforms the smartphone visual experience at 4 times the resolution of HD. Stunning graphics and life-like colors seem to jump off the screen, showing imagery in its finest detail and clarity at 538 pixels per inch.

Never miss a photo-op again! Capture the moment when it happens, even when the subject is moving or the lighting isn’t optimal. You’ll be able to take the photo faster due to the advanced Laser Auto Focus feature and streamlined camera UI.

Capture true-to-life memories with the LG G3’s 13 MP OIS camera. The floating lens steadies the shot for sharp, focused imagery and the advanced sensor lets more light in. And, take perfect pictures without having to adjust a bunch of settings. Just point, shoot, and take your best shot.

Gain quick, secure access to the home screen by tapping your personalized 3 to 8 point pattern anywhere on the display. There are 86,358 possible code combinations.

The LG G3 is a device that constantly learns and adapts to your ever-changing needs and interests, providing personalized suggestions that makes life easier and more productive. With contextual analysis, it helps you get organized, stay on task, keep in touch with friends, and won’t let you miss an important event.

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The Amazon Fire Phone is a powerful mobile technology that comes with free technical support.

Dynamic Perspective

Experience interactions not possible on other smartphones. Tilt, auto-scroll, swivel, and peek to navigate menus and access shortcuts with one hand. Dive into a new class of immersive apps and games—peek to see detailed views of clothing, shoes, and more in the new Amazon Shopping app for Fire phone, or take on a character’s viewpoint to see around corners and obstacles in games. Learn more

Firefly technology

Quickly identify printed web and email addresses, phone numbers, QR and bar codes, plus over 100 million items, including movies, TV episodes, songs, and products—simply press and hold the dedicated Firefly button to discover useful information and take action in seconds.Learn more


Get free, live, on-device video support with an Amazon expert, 24×7, 365 days a year at the touch of a button. No appointments necessary. Now available over the AT&T cellular network, in addition to Wi-Fi. Learn more

Amazon Prime

For a limited time, Fire phone includes a full year of Prime. Enjoy unlimited streaming and downloads of tens of thousands of popular movies and TV episodes with Prime Instant Video, over one million songs and hundreds of playlists with the all-new Prime Music, over 500,000 books to borrow for free with the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, and FREE Two-Day Shipping on millions of items. Normal data charges apply when accessing Prime Instant Video, Prime Music and other digital content over the cellular networkLearn more about Amazon Prime

Immersive apps and games

Peek in maps to show Yelp ratings. In StubHub stadium view, see 90 degrees to the left and right of your seat, as if you were actually there, looking around. In games, like Lili, take on the character’s viewpoint and move your head to look around corners, obstacles, and other objects.

One-handed short cuts

Access menus, shortcuts, and useful information with tilt, swivel, and peek.

  • Tilt for panels—use the left panel to navigate menus, and the right panel to access useful information and shortcuts, like attaching photos to a text message, viewing song lyrics, and more.
  • Swivel for access to important notifications and quick actions like Mayday, Flashlight, Settings, and more.
  • Peek keeps your display uncluttered by revealing additional details and quick actions only when you need it.

One-handed reading

With auto-scroll, scan long web pages without ever having to touch the screen.

Simply press the Firefly button to instantly identify and take action on…

  • Phone numbers, web, and email addresses. Firefly identifies printed text on posters, magazines, and business cards—make calls, save new contacts, send emails, and visit websites without typing long addresses.
  • Movies & TV. Firefly recognizes over 240,000 movies and TV episodes, and 160 live TV channels. Firefly uses X-Ray, powered by IMDb, to show information on actors, plot details, and related content—add titles to your Watchlist or download to watch later.
  • Music. Firefly recognizes songs so you can access artist information, play related songs, download albums direct to your Fire phone, or add them to your Wish List to purchase later on. With Firefly-enabled apps like iHeartRadio and StubHub, you can create radio stations based on an identified artist, or even find tickets for their next show.

Over 70 million products

Recognize household items, books, DVDs, CDs, video games, and more. Access product details, add items to your Wish List, or order on Amazon straight from your Fire phone.

Free, live, on-device tech support

Simply hit the Mayday button in quick actions and an Amazon expert will appear to help you via live video. Our tech experts can co-pilot you through any feature by drawing on your screen, walking you through how to do something yourself, or doing it for you—whatever works best. Throughout the process, you’ll be able to see the Amazon expert live on your screen, but they won’t see you.

Now available over the AT&T cellular network

In addition to Wi-Fi, Mayday is now available over the AT&T cellular network. Enjoy free, on-device tech support, 24×7, 365 days a year. Normal data charges apply when you are using Mayday over the cellular network.

Help in 15 seconds or less

No waiting in line. No appointment required. The Mayday response time goal is 15 seconds or less.

Dell Joins Google, Intuit, Bing, and Others Now Accepting #Bitcoin Via #Coinbase

20140802sa-coinbase-bitcoin-merchant-online-stores-vendors(Source: “ Partners With Coinbase to Become the Largest Ecommerce Merchant to Accept Bitcoin,” Coinbase Blog, 18 July 2014)

Dell is now accepting bitcoin payments from consumers and small business shoppers across the U.S. for all items available on, including the Alienware line of products. To date, Dell is the largest ecommerce company to officially accept bitcoin, with nearly $60 billion in annual sales. Head over to to view this video guide on Dell’s bitcoin splash page and see the bitcoin payment process in action.

With the Coinbase integration, Dell is able to provide its customers with even more flexibility when it comes to payment options. Coinbase partnered closely with the Dell team to implement bitcoin payments on in just two weeks, and we look forward to continuing to support Dell in the coming weeks as they implement additional bitcoin features. For more information about this integration, visit the official blog here.

To celebrate this partnership, Dell will soon be offering a special Alienware promotion where customers can save 10% off a new Alienware system purchase (up to $150 limit) when checking out with bitcoin. Visit to learn more.

Box World Tour 2014 – Cloud Storage Symposium and Conference


How will changes taking place in the new information economy impact your business?

How will you make sure your workforce is collaborating and managing their content in a way that ensures your business is more competitive and powerful?

Click here to complete the registration form and join us at Box World Tour. You’ll hear from industry leaders such as Aaron Levie, Geoffrey Moore and Whitney Bouck on how the cloud is transforming business in 2014.

At this summit you will:

  • Understand why over 200,000 businesses such as Southwest Airlines, P&G, Schneider Electric, New Balance, Netflix, Spotify, the BBC and more than 97% of Fortune 500 choose Box to power their collaboration and content management
  • Hear about new ways to improve collaboration internally and with external teams, partners and clients
  • Gain insight into how you can quickly make all of your business information and content just as available and secure on mobile devices as on your office desktop
  • Learn how Box can help your business today with in-depth demos, plus a peek into the future of where Box is going

Password Protected Sharing in Windows 7 – How to Turn On or Off

  1. Go to Control Panel.
  2. Go to Network Sharing Center
  3. Click on Advanced Sharing Settings
  4. Expand the Home or Work profile settings and choose to turn Password Protected Sharing on or off. It is on by default to only allow access to those you give permission.