If you've read my previous post about the problems I've been having with my HP dv6000 laptop, you might know about the workaround I found to turn the laptop on when it refuses by removing the battery first. If you've read the comments on that post, you might also know that that workaround stopped working a few weeks ago. So the laptop is again on it's way to HP for repair.
Backing up my data... but the laptop doesn't start!
I was a bit scared about my data on the hard drive at first. Since the laptop wouldn't turn on, I couldn't back up my recent data (actually a few photos of a special day and some of my girlfriends documents... and a NBA Live save game...). HP told me that there was nothing they could do. It's part of their repair process to reformat the drive and reinstall the system and they don't do backups. This is on their warranty agreement and they confirmed this on the phone. They also told me, here comes the good news, that I could remove the hard-drive and connect it to another computer to backup the data without violating the warranty agreement.
So I bought a 2.5'' SATA hard-drive case to connect the disk to a USB port on another computer. The case cost me about 13€.
Removing the disk from the laptop was no big deal. Is pretty simple. You do have to remove two screws but that is all.
Connecting the disk to another computer
I decided to connect it first to a Windows 2003 box. I just thought "since this was running windows, let's just connect it to a windows box to be safe". Well... I sure connected to the USB port... Windows detected something was connected and told me it was installing the necessary stuff. A few minutes later, the new hardware was ready... or was it? There was no new drive under "My Computer" so I went to "Disk Management" to try to see what was going on. Full lock up. The computer just hanged.
I didn't wait long until I connected the disk to my Ubuntu Linux box. About 3 seconds later, a pop-up appeared warning me the disk I had just connected was previously attached to a Windows box that wasn't properly terminated and therefore the filesystem might not be clean. I was given the choice to remove the disk, connect it back to a Windows box and safely remove it or force mount using the command line. The full command line needed was also displayed. Since I knew what might happen if I connected it back to the windows box, I forced the disk to mount read-only on the Linux box and backup up all my files without any problem.
Again, Linux saved the day!