A sudden impact is probably one of the worst things for a standard hard drive. The force from a fall is more than enough to knock the needle into direct contact with the magnetic medium, which is usually spinning at 4200 to 5400 revolutions per minute. The result: horrible scratching of the medium's surface, which is so delicate it can't work effectively if even the most minute dust particle rests on it.
Here's what you can do to check and see if you have any recoverable data:
First, the hard drive in your laptop is a 2.5" Serial ATA drive. To attempt any data rescue at all, you must first find an external hard drive enclosure that will fit this size. Also, you need to make sure the enclosure is compatible with SERIAL ATA drives (or SATA, as its more commonly known). Be careful NOT to get an enclosure that requires an IDE connection (IDE is the common term for Parallel ATA, or PATA, so skip over anything that says IDE or PATA).
The right enclosure will fit a 2.5" SATA drive and will allow you to connect the hard drive to another computer via USB.
To remove your hard drive from your...departed...laptop, follow these instructions:
1. Make sure the screen is closed, then turn the computer over so the bottom side is facing up.
2. You will see a series of little access doors fastened with single philips head screws. Using the cardinal directions as a reference, If you're looking at your laptop and the battery is in the north position, then the hard drive bay will be on your left side on the opposite end from the battery. (See the picture for a clear guide to its location.)
3. Remove the two screws and lift off the access door to reveal the hard drive.
4. The hard drive is likely fastened to the computer. If so, remove the four screws (two on each of the hard drive's long sides) to release it.
5. Remove the SATA connector from the end of the hard drive and lift the drive out of the case.
You will now need to put this hard drive in the enclosure you bought. Follow the instructions that come with the enclosure if you need to (it's really very easy though-easier than removing the hard drive from your Toshiba). Once the hard drive is properly connected and enclosed, use a USB cord to plug the unit into another computer.
If you hear the drive spinning but Windows fails to recognize the drive, that's going to be a strong indicator that the hard drive is damaged. The true extent cannot be known, but you will at least know the hard drive was responsible for your computer's failure to boot following the fall.
If Windows cannot recognize your drive, you're going to have to seek more rigorous means of getting any data back. There are software suites that can do a fair job, but they're not free and they're not cheap. Try searching for "hard drive data recovery software" on your search engine of choice. There are also services that will have you mail them the hard drive, and then they will perform all kinds of intricate methods of extracting salvageable data. Again, however, such services are not free, and they are REALLY not cheap.
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