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04 Oct 2012  
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ult. x64
Peppermint Live CD/DVD/USB - Create for Emergency Backup

Create Live Peppermint CD/DVD/USB to Backup Data when Windows 7 Will Not Boot

information   Information
In some instances, Windows 7 installations can become non-bootable if serious corruption of the system files have taken place, for example through the action of malware. If these corruptions are extremely severe, the installation cannot be repaired and the only course of action left is often to wipe (format) the hard disk and reinstall Windows 7 from scratch. Before you do that, however, you may wish to copy any user data (photo's, music etc.) files from the faulty installation to a backup drive.

This tutorial will show you how to do this in just a few easy steps by creating a free Live PepperMint5 Linux distribution on a bootable USB flash drive or CD.

Note   Note
There are many free Linux distributions that can accomplish this task, but I have specifically chosen PepperMint5 because:
  • it is a small, lightweight distribution
  • it has a look & feel that will be familiar to Windows-only users
  • it does not require any knowledge of Linux jargon (e.g. sda1, sda2)
  • it is easy for novice users to understand
*** Update ***
I've decided to replace the use of the Lili USB creator originally referenced in this tutorial, with the Rufus USB creator, after some reports of problems with Lili. Special thanks to jumanji who brought this to my attention, and also suggested Rufus as an alternative.

The screen capture images are taken from PepperMint3 -- the distro available at the time of writing this tutorial -- but they are the same for later versions such as PepperMint4 or PepperMint5.

In order to perform an emergency backup, you will need the following :

  • External USB drive (to store your backed-up data)
  • 1Gb or larger USB thumb/flash drive (to hold your bootable PepperMint5 installation)
You will need to know how to boot the troublesome computer from either a CD/DVD or USB drive. The way you do this depends largely on the make of BIOS of your computer. If you aren't sure, just ask.

Step A - Creating the Live Peppermint5 USB/CD/DVD

On a working computer download Rufus and the PepperMint5 ISO from the links above. Now run Rufus by double-clicking the Rufus executable.

Replicate the settings shown in the Rufus panel below. Use the CD icon to browse to the location of the PepperMint5 ISO, and confirm that correct ISO is selected as shown at the very bottom of the panel.
Peppermint Live CD/DVD/USB - Create for Emergency Backup-r1.png
Click Start, and then OK on the warning pop-up to write the ISO and make the USB flash drive bootable. Once complete, a confirmation message is displayed, as shown below.
Peppermint Live CD/DVD/USB - Create for Emergency Backup-r2.png
You can now close Rufus and unplug the USB flash drive. You have now created the Live PepperMint5 Linux USB.

Step B - Booting from the Live Peppermint5 USB/CD/DVD

Insert the USB flash drive into a USB2 port (or insert the CD/DVD into the DVD drive) on the problem computer and boot with either device.

After a few seconds, the PepperMint5 boot screen will appear. Select Live Mode as shown below. and hit enter.
Peppermint Live CD/DVD/USB - Create for Emergency Backup-p1.png
PepperMint3 will now boot to the screen shown below.
Peppermint Live CD/DVD/USB - Create for Emergency Backup-p3.png

Step C - Copying user data to the external USB drive

Click Menu and then click File Manager as shown below.
Peppermint Live CD/DVD/USB - Create for Emergency Backup-p4.png
Click on the File Manger that opens, and then type CTRL+N to open a duplicate File Manger Window and arrange them side-by-side.

Use the left-hand file manager window to browse for and locate the files you want to copy. Select your external USB drive in the right-hand side file manager window. Now simple click & drag the files you want to copy from the left-hand window to the one on the right. In the example shown below, I am copying my Music folder to the external USB drive.
Peppermint Live CD/DVD/USB - Create for Emergency Backup-p5.png
When you are done copying, close the file manger windows, and then select the Logout option from the Menu button. Now select Shutdown as shown below.
Peppermint Live CD/DVD/USB - Create for Emergency Backup-p7.png
That's it - your data files are now safely copied to your external USB drive.


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