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Windows 7: Lucid Puppy way to recover files from a non-bootable computer

23 Nov 2011   #1

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 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

Edit 12 Oct 2015: The version of Lucid Puppy (Ubuntu Compatible Build) 5.2.8 ISO used here can now be downloaded from Long-Term-Supported WaryPuppy (LTS)

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.)

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In Step 2 browse to the Lucid Puppy ISO.

In Step 3 select your pendrive and click Create.

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Read the next dialog box and click on Yes.

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Wait for the process to complete and Close the program. Your bootable Lucid Puppy is ready to be deployed any time.

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EDIT 28 May 2014.:

UPDATE: The easiest way to create this bootable pen drive is to use Rufus
See my post here: Is there any way of saving a completely unrecognisable hard drive?

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 :

My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Aug 2014   #2

Windows 7 Home Premium (x64) Service Pack 1 (build 7601)

This is an excellent tutorial jamnaji. It really helped out. I was able to rescue all my art projects and then some. Wish I could give you Reps for this. Cheers!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Aug 2014   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64bit

Thanks Jumanji, but in Puppy how to select all files and folders to copy ctrl+a doesn't seem to work
My System SpecsSystem Spec

25 Aug 2014   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Elljay View Post
This is an excellent tutorial jamnaji. It really helped out. I was able to rescue all my art projects and then some. Wish I could give you Reps for this. Cheers!
Thanks Elljay. Glad that it helped.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Aug 2014   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by RommoR View Post
Thanks Jumanji, but in Puppy how to select all files and folders to copy ctrl+a doesn't seem to work
Hi RommoR,

It is ctrl + (left click) of the mouse and not any alphabet on the Keyboard. Hope that clarifies.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Aug 2014   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit

OK, on a second reading I understood your query.

Ctrl + a indeed selects all the files/folders - provided you had selected the drive by left clicking on the empty space in that window.

I ran Lucid Puppy today to investigate your query and the screenshot below explains everything. Here I have mounted two drives sdc1 and sdd1, selected all the files in sdc1 and copied it all to sdd1 in one go.
Hope it clarifies everything. ( I had used Lucid Puppy to recover data only once and that one time I had to read my own guide when it came to copying from one drive to another .)


EDIT: Look closely at the Title Bars of the two disks. The disk selected will be white and gray while the not-selected one will be full gray.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Aug 2015   #7

Win 7 64 bit, 6.1.7601 Service Pack 1 Build 7601

Thanks for providing this to forum & pointing me to this thread. I have the situation. You can review my posted thread. My laptop is Lenovo Z580

Win 7: Black screen on boot up, before login screen?

I am looking your approach to backup my files. Here are some questions, I have . I need your guidance.

How do I able to backup OEM Hidden partition using Lucid Puppy?

I have three(3) user logins in this laptop such as Admin, Local user1, Local user 2.

What are the additional steps required to preserve the data within these logins/users?

I have installed various tools/software in this laptop.

Will I able to restore (bring back) all installed items (Software/tools/Registry entries etc) during this process?

My HDD capacity is 750 GB. What kind of media to use for backing up my data using Lucid Puppy?

Will Read/write CD work?

How do I restore back after setting to factory default?

How do I bring back all the windows 7 updates todate?

Thanks for helping.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Mar 2016   #8

MS Windows 8 32bit

Thank you Jamnji! Your step by step went flawlessly for me. My Dell latitude E6510 had the same HD failure that most previous posts experienced. The Puppy Linux boot flashdrive (pen drive) went great and everything looks just like your screen shots. I had previously backed most but not all of my HD files, so this action mapped out by you was a "life-saver"...time saver. I carefully noted my laptop steps that would help the previous post about how to chose your file from the failed drive to copy. For laptop, press and hold Ctrl key and then move cursor to file with cursor pad. At the desired file, left click. You can repeat this process for whatever other files you want to copy. Next just hold Ctrl key down and drag the files with cursor to the other drive directory that you are copying to (the remote HD).
Much Thanks from Davis Hall.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Apr 2016   #9

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit

Glad it helped. The laptop steps should help those with the laptop HDD failing to boot. Thanks for listing it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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

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