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Need to get files off a laptop with a broken screen

This is a discussion on Need to get files off a laptop with a broken screen within the File and Application Sharing forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. I have a laptop that boots to a black screen. I'm pretty sure that the laptop overheated and the motherboard/onboard


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Old 07-02-2009, 09:14 PM   #1
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I have a laptop that boots to a black screen. I'm pretty sure that the laptop overheated and the motherboard/onboard video got fried. Just before, the screen made funny colored lines, then turned off. I tried letting it sit, but no luck. Anyway, I need to get the files off the laptop.

I tried connecting it to another laptop via ethernet cable. So I see it on the network, and the log-in screen comes up. However, it will only let me log-in using the Guest account, which is disabled on the host laptop. And I can't re-enable it. How do I get my files off the broken laptop? I'm aware I can take the hard drive out, but I'm not so good taking apart laptops, and I don't see why I shouldn't be able to get the files off with the cable.

How do I get around the guest account problem?

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Old 07-03-2009, 06:04 PM   #2
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Well, normally the laptop hard disk is pretty easy to remove, unless it's a Sony.

Why can't you login remotely using the user account name/password that has full access?

Did you consider simply connecting an external monitor to the machine? Almost every laptop on the planet has provisions for an external monitor, and you normally just toggle it using a function key sequence.

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Old 07-03-2009, 09:19 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by johnwill View Post
Well, normally the laptop hard disk is pretty easy to remove, unless it's a Sony.

Why can't you login remotely using the user account name/password that has full access?

Did you consider simply connecting an external monitor to the machine? Almost every laptop on the planet has provisions for an external monitor, and you normally just toggle it using a function key sequence.
--------------------------------------

Yes, I realize I can take the hard drive, but I'm trying to exhaust all other avenues first.

I can't login via Windows because it only lets me login as Guest, but it's disabled on the host machine. So I bought this USB double-ended transfer cable, and it allows me to login in under my own username, but for some reason, the password i use everyday isn't working!

Yes, I already tried the external monitor, it doesn't work. I realized that I think it's not a broken screen, I believe that the laptop overheated, and fried the onboard video.
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Old 07-04-2009, 12:32 PM   #4
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Well, at this point I think you've expended far more effort than would be required to simply remove the hard disk and recover the data the easy way. I'm out of ideas, since the obvious ones are not acceptable.
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Old 07-05-2009, 10:26 AM   #5
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I've had to fix this twice now. Have a friend (or me) install VNC on your computer and have it run at boot. Start your PC normally and login somehow and have your friend connect. You'll see your screen on their PC just fine.

If you need me to, I can help you. If you can burn a Linux live CD and boot into safe mode it shouldn't be too hard to install VNC while blind.

Alternatively, you can plug in an external monitor, though not everyone has the money to purchase one. If you boot into safe mode, it automatically turns on every display plugged into your computer.
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Old 07-06-2009, 06:04 AM   #6
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If he could see enough to boot and install VNC, don't you think he's just use copy to move the files off the machine?
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Old 07-06-2009, 09:28 AM   #7
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You can easily install it without a screen. Somehow he'd need to boot into safe mode and use the keyboard to navigate. This can be tricky since the BIOS's load time can be somewhat unpredictable, but I've heard somewhere you can just hold f8 a few seconds after pressing the power button and it'll bring the menu up. Once he's into safe mode, he could do something like this:

* Boot
* Insert a disk, USB drive, etc with the VNC installer on it (Only the installer. If there's anything else on it things could get very confusing.)
* Wait about a minute for the computer to recognize it
* Hold the windows key and press E and use the arrow keys to navigate to the disk and press enter. (If he's used the computer enough, he should know where the icon is)
* Press the down arrow key and hit enter.
* Hold alt and hit N and A a few times. N means next, A means accept (For the EULA). Once you think it's done, hold alt and press F, for finish. Of course, you need to give the program time to complete each step, so don't just press the keys really fast and expect it to be done in under a second.
* Hold the windows key and press R, type shutdown -r -t 00
* Wait for your computer to reboot, then connect.

The only catch is you need to make sure the VNC program you're installing starts up at boot and doesn't need authentication. If you can't find one like this, you can usually change the settings on most VNC programs via the registry or an .ini file using similar methods to the steps described above, or by having a friend give you a disk with a .reg or .bat file on it. I can't really give you an example of how to do it, I just got out of bed and I'm still not fully awake. If you ask me later about it I'll try to help.
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Old 07-08-2009, 08:07 AM   #8
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This is an incredible amount of effort with no certainty of success. I can't imagine why the direct approach isn't being used here, but have fun!

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