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I have an HP Pavillion Laptop, running Windows Vista.

The video card is dead.

I need to access my data from a desktop computer running Windows XP SP2.

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migrated from Feb 8 '11 at 18:42

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.


Pull the hard drive out of it and attach it to the desktop. It's probably SATA.

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Data is stored on things called "Hard Drives" (on most computers anyway). These hard drives are inside computers; your laptop has one in it. The same applies for almost all computers. You want the data off the hard drive, the easiest way to do this is to remove the hard drive from the malfunctioning computer.

Remove the hard drive (HDD) and connect it to another computer using a SATA to USB cable, or if both computers support SATA, just plug away as all SATA drives use the same size cables.

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Remember @ChrisS there are two types of SATA. There is SATA and SATA II. Most computers that are relatively new use SATA II, before that, they used PATA (also known as IDE). Before that, they used SATA. All SATA is not the same. Overall, other than that part of the answer, you had a good answer. – David Feb 8 '11 at 19:04
@David, SATA and SATA II drives and controllers will work with each other (generally, and at the lesser speed). It wasn't called PATA until SATA came around, back then it was just ATA (and was called IDE when it was first developed by WDC way back in the day when it was little more than a crude version of the ISA bus on a ribbon cable, though the name stuck long after it was changed). SATA drives can also be used on SAS controllers, though not the other way around. Considering his computer has Vista, it's likely a SATA drive. – Chris S Feb 8 '11 at 19:23

Remove the hard disc and attach it to your working PC.

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I've had to accomplish this task multiple times. The easiest thing to do (in my opinion) is go and buy a 2.5" HDD (IDE/SATA) to USB enclosure. They're relatively inexpensive, and you'll get a good amount of use out of it.

Remove your HDD from your laptop (they're usually easy to get to from the bottom of the machine), and plug it into the enclosure. Plug it into your computer, and it should recognize it as an external drive (like a flash memory stick), and you'll be able to browse/copy/transfer through your filesystem.

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