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Friday, June 22, 2007

How to recover data from a hard drive with destroyed MBR

I just read this post on

"All my work was on HD of the laptop that died and MBR was destroyed. Who can help me and restore it? I am an artist (exhibited in NYC) so if you can restore it, I will offer you a signed archival print of my work! I would very much appreciate your help!"

Since I used to support desktop engineering in a major pharmeceutical company, this was something I am familiar with so I sent this response.

Re: Lost data on hard drive.


It sounds like your in a pickle. How do you know the issue the MBR? Is the problem here the PC just wont boot, or are you getting some other error message?

If it is the MBR (Master Boot Record) here are two viable solutions that can allow your recover your data even though the MBR has been destroyed.

Option A Remove the hard drive and attempt to access the files from another PC.

You can attempt to get files from that hard drive by removing the hard drive from the laptop. Then puchase a usb to hard drive adapter like this one

You should then be able to plug the USB into another computer and access files of the drive.

Option B Fix the MBR using the windows recovery console. Another option is attempting to repair the MBR of the hard drive. To do this (assuming your hard drive has windows installed) follow these steps:

  • Use the Windows Setup floppy disks or the Windows CD-ROM to start your computer.
  • At the "Welcome to Setup" screen, press F10 or press 'R" to
  • After you start the Windows Recovery Console, you receive
    the following message:
    Microsoft Windows(R) Recovery ConsoleThe Recovery
    Console provides system repair and recovery functionality. Type EXIT to quit the
    Recovery Console and restart the computer.1: C:\WINDOWS Which Windows
    Installation would you like to log on to (To cancel, press ENTER)? After you
    enter the number for the appropriate Windows installation, Windows will then
    prompt you to enter the Administrator account password.
  • After logging type in fixmbr and hit enter to fix the master boot
  • Type exit to restart the computer.
Hope This Helps. For more information on how to use the windows recovery console visit

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