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Windows 7: Windows will not boot. How do I backup user folders/desktop content?

17 Apr 2014   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
Windows will not boot. How do I backup user folders/desktop content?

I have an issue where windows hangs on the boot screen (window icon). My PC began rebooting and crashing recently and this is the final straw where it will not load.

I have multiple hard drives, so I can install windows onto another drive. My question is: how do I get access to the content on the main drive's user folders? Will it be locked, or will I be free to access it?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Apr 2014   #2

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit

Just remove this drive, fit another with an OS on it, or install one, and then reconnect the problem drive and reboot. Providing the drive has not failed completely you should then be able to start copying off your files. Alternatively you could just boot a live CD, such as Puppy Linux and start copying straight away.

EDIT - just ensure your new disk is first in the BIOS boot order.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Apr 2014   #3
Microsoft MVP


Unplug all other HD's to try Troubleshooting Windows 7 Failure to Start. Everything is there in the blue link that can be done to try to start Win7, if necessary rescue files then do a perfect reinstall.

A quick repair attempt would be to confirm the Partition Marked Active is 100mb System Reserved (preferred if you have it) or C then run Startup Repair - Run 3 Separate Times. But if seriously infected it may not repair so start back at the top of steps.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

17 Apr 2014   #4

Linux Lite 3.2 x64; Windows 7, 8.1

If you want to wipe the original install, use a linux boot disk to save the data first. You have a better chance of accessing it under linux than windows due to user passwords on the data. Puppy linux or Parted Magic are great rescue media.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Apr 2014   #5

Windows 7 Pro x64 Windows 10 Pro x64

My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Windows will not boot. How do I backup user folders/desktop content?

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