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Broken PC - What Can I Access?


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I have a broken Windows 11 PC.

There's something dodgy about this build and I've never been able to figure it out.


RX 580 graphics card is very suspect but I replaced the motherboard so it isn't that. This time, I let the graphics card uninstall the old drivers to update to the new ones. Makes me wonder why I bother sometimes...


Every so often, it'll blue screen BOOT DEVICE INACCESSABLE.

It's quick enough for me to just reinstall Windows but takes a day to do so and reinstall programs and such.


However, if I was to take the hard drive out and connect it to another PC, what can I access?

For example, I didn't back up the hosts file so would like that and there is some stuff that was on the desktop that I'd like to back up (usually dot store anything on the desktop).


All personal documents are stored on another hard drive so they're safe and I plan to "keep documents and settings" anyway but it's that hosts file that's more important I thought (although not life or death important!) 



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As long as the drive it not bitlockered, you should be able to access pretty much everything.

Is this a spindle drive (HDD) or SSD?

If i were you, make a copy of stuff, like that hosts file, to a usb drive the next time that the pc is running fine... so when you do re-install, you shouldnt worry about anything getting lost. OR, make a backup of the host file, and anything else to the other drive where you store personal docs etc.

I assume you have checked the cables, or maybe even swapped out the sata cables, done bios updates etc, also maybe try a different power cable from the psu!

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Yeah, I usually have a backup but made some changes and didn't think 🤔


It's an SSD.


I'll check and reseat cables. I haven't tried cables from the graphics card but can't imagine that being the problem?

Dunno though, could be anything with this PC! 

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Could it be a failing CMOS/RTC backup battery?  If those drop below voltage required to save the BIOS (UEFI) firmware's configuration settings, the motherboard could end up not seeing the drive on POST.

I would also suggest checking both the motherboard and the SSD for firmware updates, and make sure you are using  the latest chipset/SATA/NVMe device drivers from the respective manufacturers.


Aryeh Goretsky


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  • 2 weeks later...



You should be able to read any files from the drive. These may include documents, registry data, and application data e.g. bookmarks, email data files.


If the drive is encrypted by Windows you can unlock the drive with the recovery key stored in your Microsoft account.


Note: BitLocker encryption is not enabled on Windows 10/11 Home edition by default.

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