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Windows 7: O/S not loading in any mode, just need data off of it

25 Sep 2013   #1

windows 7 home
 
 
O/S not loading in any mode, just need data off of it

So I've really made a mess of my laptop, it seems.

Problem

- Laptop is basically on it's last legs. Has been running hot, slow and loud. I just need the data off of it and can wipe the whole thing. It's an HP Pavilion DV6
- Since the main problems started (not being able to load windows), it has been restarted several times (by my pressing the on/off button) while system repair or other things are running. I know, my bad.
- It has attempted to check the disk twice with lots of "...file(sector?) is unreadable"
- This last time, it finished disk check, restarted itself and then went to repair mode
- It's been like that all night, granted it took several hours to do disk check
- I am assuming the hard drive has been compromised

Possible Solutions?

1. Should I let it system repair run it's course, even if it's a few days?
- I am not able to boot in safe mode or last good configuration
- It is an authentic Windows 7, but I am unable to locate my disks now (it's been 5 years)

2. I know there is another drive on my computer to restore, I believe but have no idea how to access it. Tried going to BIOS but the option for that drive is unavailable
- Since I just want the data, I know that there is a way to connect my not-working properly hard drive to a working one (although I'm a little nervous about how to do that)
- Hubby has a cross-cable and we tried, but it came up on the working computer in explorer, but we were not able to access anything. It said something about having to make the networks the same etc. My old comp is not loading so I can't get to a network screen on it
- If I decide to buy a kit to access the old hard drive via USB or something like that, is it safe for my data to be pulling the hard drive out of the laptop just like that?

Any other ideas? I really just need pictures of my kids from the computer. I did a back up to an external drive, but now it doesn't show on that drive even though it said it was transferred (when it was working)....urgh!

Sorry for the long post and thank you in advance for any help you can provide me...

Kris

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

25 Sep 2013   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

Please be warned, depending on the extent of the damage, you may need a specialist data recovery solution. There is no guarantee that the data is in a readable (enough) format for standard recovery systems to work. However there are people you can pay to recover your data. (In fact your local PC shop probably has such a service.) To be honest, if you're not that comfortable poking around inside a PC, this is the option I would recommend.

For the sake of completeness however, I will give the way I would go about attempting this below. (Again no guarantees!)

If it's saying the sector is unreadable, you may have one of two problems. Either, your filesystem is corrupted, (which a format and reinstall would fix.) or the hard drive itself is dying.

Either way, you need to get that data out of there ASAP. Depending on the equipment you have available to you, you've got a couple of options.

The first one, is quite simple. Simply remove the hard drive from the laptop and connect it to another computer (preferably a desktop, as these have more expansion slots). The process is quite simple, but you will need a SATA cable to connect it. In fact, here is a tutorial: SATA Hard Drive - How to Install and Setup. Laptop hard drives are smaller, but the connections are identical, so as long as you rest the HDD on a (non conductive) surface, it should be ok for long enough to get the data out.

Failing that if a desktop isn't available, you can get what is known as a HDD enclosure which will make your hard drive work like an external drive.

If you already have a external hard drive available, you can use a linux live CD (created on a different PC) to access your files and move them onto the external, leaving the hard drive in place. Personally I like Linux Mint as it has a windows feel. Main Page - Linux Mint

I suggest you IMMEDIATELY stop any and all recovery options, as every write to the drive reduces your chance of recovery.

Lastly, for future, backup! If it's important, then back up your backups!

Let me know if any of that doesn't make sense.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Sep 2013   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

Just the other day - Oh! may be this morning - I wrote this post. External HDD Error: You Need to Format the Disk Before You Can Use It

1 and 2 in it apply here.

If you want to go the Linux way, you have three workouts here in this forum using Puppy Linux, Peppermint and Mint. In all cases you may use Rufus - Rufus - Create bootable USB drives the easy way - to create a bootable Linux pendrive with the downloaded Linux ISOs , boot your lappy with it and try recovery onto an external HDD.

Emergency Kit - save your files from a dead OS by whs

Peppermint3 - Create Live CD/DVD/USB To Use For Emergency Backup by Golden

Lucid Puppy way to recover files from a non-bootable computer by one jumanji

Take your pick. Personal preferences can vary.

If not successful, then you can go with PhotoRec.

Guide to using PhotoRec recovery software.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


25 Sep 2013   #4

windows 7 home
 
 
Thank you

Thank you Martin and Jumanji,

I did contact someone to see if I can get it fixed professionally. Seems reasonable enough. He said I could potentially do the external hard drive thing, but if the hard drive is beyond corrupted, I would need more help to retrieve the data.

I am not scared per se of doing it myself, I rather like the challenge, I just don't want to make the situation worse.

Your help has been invaluable. I will certainly look into all your amazing suggestions.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Sep 2013   #5

windows 7 home
 
 
I got it!!!

Hi all,

Wow, I can't believe it worked! I used a USB and Mint Mate via the guide you provided (thank you by the way) and was able to see and get everything off my hard drive. I just can't believe how well Mint worked. It was so simple and intuitive at the same time.

I am a happy camper...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Sep 2013   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

Brilliant news glad to hear you recovered that data. Now remember those backups

As an aside, yes I personally think Mint is the best operating system around at the moment. I would drop Windows altogether if I could get half my games to run!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 O/S not loading in any mode, just need data off of it




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