How to Get Files off a Laptop with Broken Screen

How to get files off a laptop with broken screen

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You dropped your laptop, and now the screen doesn’t work. But you need the files on it. Of course, you can send it to repair, but it often takes time to repair a laptop screen. And sometimes, you can’t afford to wait that long.

Luckily, It’s possible to get the files off yourself. Let’s find out how.

Can I use a laptop without screen?

If your laptop turns on and runs normally, you can connect it to an external monitor via the video-out port. That way you can use the laptop and copy the data to somewhere else.

How to get files off a laptop with broken screen:

Connect the laptop to an external monitor

If the laptop runs ok, connect it to an external monitor. Most laptops have one. Different laptops come with different video output ports such as VGA, HDMI, and DisplayPort. Find out which one your laptop has.

You can connect to external monitor using the VGA output port, if the screen is broken.
Image: VGA Port on a laptop.
DIfferent HDMI ports on laptops
Image: HDMI port types.

1. Check if your TV/monitor has video input ports

Most modern TVs and monitors come with HDMI input ports, through which you can connect your laptop to it. Look at the image below and check if your TV/monitor has one.

HDMI input ports on a TV, you can connect your laptop to it if the internal screen is broen.
Image: HDMI Input on a TV.

2. Get a corresponding cable

Now that you know the port type of your laptop and the monitor, all you need is the right cable to connect your laptop. For example, if you have a mini HDMI on your laptop, you need a mini-HDMI to HDMI cable.

But if your laptop has a VGA port, then you need a VGA to HDMI converter plus a standard HDMI cable.

Or maybe you have a newer laptop with no dedicated video port. In that case, you’ll need a USB-C to HDMI Converter plus a standard HDMI cable.

Remove the hard drive

If the laptop is dead and doesn’t turn on, removing the hard drive is the only way of getting your files. This can be tricky since it involves disassembling the laptop. But there are tons of resources online, and you may actually find one for your specific model. If you can’t do it, you can always ask a friend or go find an expert.

If you’re doing it yourself, you’ll need the right set of screwdrivers. You can buy a cheap multi-purpose screwdriver set from amazon.

You’ll also need a USB converter to connect the drive to other computers. If your drive is an HDD or SSD, you’ll need a USB to SATA converter. And if your drive is an M.2 card, you’ll need a USB to M.2 NVME Adapter. These adapters convert your internal hard drive to external media, from which you can access your files on the go.

DIfferent types of computer drives.
Image: Different Computer drives.

Can I get files off a compeletely dead laptop?

A dead laptop doesn’t function, but it doesn’t mean all the components are dead too. So unless the physical drive inside the laptop is damaged, you can always get the data. You just have to remove the hard drive and find a compatible USB adapter for it.

Can damaged laptop screen be fixed?

Probably yes. You should easily find a replacement screen on eBay. But the repairing process isn’t easy, and we recommend that you find an expert for this.

Is it worth replacing my laptop screen?

It depends, mostly on you! Most repair stores will charge 200-300$ for these kinds of tasks. So if the laptop isn’t very expensive, just get the files off and buy a newer model instead. If you do it yourself, a screen replacement can cost as low as 100$. But you shouldn’t try that unless you are familiar with hardware repairing.

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