23 Nov 2011
Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
Lucid Puppy way to recover files from a non-bootable computer
All of a sudden Windows 7 isn’t booting. Why? Is it a software/OS problem or is it a hardware/HDD problem? A live CD can help one, in most cases. If Linux boots and you can view all the files on the HDD, then most likely you have a software/OS problem. In rare cases even now, a live CD can falter with some hardware it does not recognise ab-initio. So it is always better to run and check your live CD when the machine is working fine and keep it ready. No need to sweat if Windows 7 stops booting. Next, if after trying out the various Windows Repair Options, Windows refuses to budge and only a reinstall is the option, you can safely copy the data on your HDD to an external drive if you haven’t backed it up before or haven’t used a multi-partitioned drive to store data seperate from the OS partition. In this hands-on trial, I shall be writing the Lucid Puppy on to a pendrive and booting from it, instead of burning the bootable ISO on to a CD . Helpful for those with netbooks without an optical drive. The essentials: a. Download the latest version of Universal USB installer from http://www.pendrivelinux.com/universal-usb-installer-easy-as-1-2-3/ It is a 980KB .exe file that can be run straightaway. No installation b. Download the latest version of Lucid Puppy (Ubuntu-Compatible Build) ISO (128KB) from http://puppylinux.org/main/Download%20Latest%20Release.htm c. A FAT32 formatted pendrive. Creating a bootable Lucid Puppy pendrive: Plug in your pendrive into the PC and Run the Universal USB installer. In the Step 1 field to select the Linux Distribution/bootable ISO, choose Try Unlisted Linux ISO (New Syslinux) in the drop-down box.(Though Lucid Puppy is there in the list of USB installable Linux distributions, I chose this to drive home the point that one can use any bootable ISO and not necessarily a Linux Distro for booting from the pendrive.) In Step 2 browse to the Lucid Puppy ISO. In Step 3 select your pendrive and click Create. Read the next dialog box and click on Yes. Wait for the process to complete and Close the program. Your bootable Lucid Puppy is ready to be deployed any time. Recovering files from the non-bootable Internal Drive: Plugin your pendrive, and an external drive of sufficient capacity to save the recovered data from the unbootable PC. Power-on the PC and tap the appropriate function key as the BIOS starts to bring the boot menu and choose to boot from the USB drive. Wait for Lucid Puppy to load. The first screen to appear on the Lucid Puppy desktop will be the Personalized Settings box. Keep defaults and press OK. On the lefthand side bottom of the desktop, you will find all the partitions of your PC and all the external drives. Hover the mouse arrow over these to read the capacity and determine which is your C drive and wnich is your data-saving external drive. On the next screen you may get a Simple Network Setup box. Just close it. Click on the Mount icon on the desktop to bring the Pmount Puppy Drive Mounter. In the drive tab, check your C drive capacity and click on MOUNT. In the USBdrv tab, check your external drive capacity and click on MOUNT. You will now have a screen with both drive windows open. A green dot next to the drive icons indicates that the drive is mounted. QUIT the Pmount Puppy Drive Mounter. Right click in the empty space of the external drive window and select New > Directory. Type a name of the directory to which you want to copy the data from your C drive and click on Create. You are now ready to copy the folders/files from your C drive into the newly created Dirctory on the external drive. Ctrl+left click to select the folders/files on your C drive and with the left mouse button pressed drag them on to the newly created directory on the external drive and let go. Click on copy and copying starts.
Copying in progress. Copying finished. You have the data on your external drive. Power-off your PC. Menu > Shutdown > Power-off. In the last screen asking you whether you want to save the session, press right arrow key to select No and press ENTER. Source of inspiration for this hands-on trial : http://help.artaro.eu/index.php/windows-7/troubleshooting-windows-7/recover-files-from-hard-disk-7.html
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