Windows equivalent to Target Disk Mode?
December 18, 2012 7:47 AM   Subscribe

Colleague's Windows laptop isn't starting up properly. Would it be possible to boot this laptop as an external hard drive to another computer, a la Apple's Target Disk Mode, perhaps using an Ethernet cable? We have both Windows machines and Macs in the office. Please note that I am exclusively looking for this sort of solution, within the confines of this particular question.
posted by Sticherbeast to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Short answer: No. You'd have to take the drive out of the machine and place it in a USB/Firewire enclosure

Longer answer: Have a look at a rescue boot CD/DVD. You might be able to bring up enough of an operating system to allow another computer to connect via the network and offload the hard drive.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 7:51 AM on December 18, 2012

To the best of my knowledge, there's no analogous function in Windows. You have to remove the disk and install it in another machine (or maybe a USB-connected external drive case).

I bet a beer, though, that there's some kind of Linux-based live-CD tool that will do this.
posted by Rat Spatula at 7:52 AM on December 18, 2012

There's a slightly less painful way to do this without purchasing another drive enclosure. It's a fancy but not very expensive cable that plugs right into the (removed) hard drive, and connects to another pc via usb.

SATA/IDE to USB 2.0 Cable
posted by Aquaman at 8:02 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Third-ing the boot CD answer. This will get the computer into a state where data can be transferred, assuming the problems are not hardware-related.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:08 AM on December 18, 2012

Aquaman, that cable looks like a solution to a problem I have (unbootable disk + broken screen). I don't know much about different types of hard drives (and I haven't yet taken the drive out of the broken machine). But would you guess that the hard drive from an 8-year old VAIO laptop (with 14'' display, to get an idea of the size) is likely to be one of types that works with that adapter?
posted by benito.strauss at 10:15 AM on December 18, 2012

No. I can't imagine any way how that would work.

To rescue the drive data use Clonezilla as a Live CD / on a memory stick. It supports network drives as a target for storing a drive image.

benito.strauss: It will work. Your drive is most probably a 2.5" IDE harddisk (44-pin connector).
posted by mirage pine at 1:36 PM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

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