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Windows 7: How to boot Windows7 from USB (WinToUSB)

04 Oct 2017   #1
yflpov

Win 7 Ultimate x64
 
 
How to boot Windows7 from USB (WinToUSB)

Hello,

I dropped my computer and it seems I trashed the HDD - when I try to start Windows I hear a clicking sound on startup and it freezes.

Unfortunately, I need to recover data from the HDD. I used WinToUSB to burn a Windows 7 ISO on the USB and run the OS from there and I hoped I could access at least some of the files I need on the HDD.

When I try to boot Win from the USB I can't do it even though I have disabled all other boot options but the USB or I choose boot from USB in the boot menu specifically - the computer still boots the HDD. I tried to remove the HDD, put the USB in and run Win and it works but I don't have access to my HDD.

Hope someone can help me out.

Best!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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04 Oct 2017   #2
mrjimphelps

Linux Mint 18.2 xfce 64-bit (VMWare host) / Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit (VMWare guest)
 
 

Have you taken a look to see if perhaps the hard drive might have come unplugged, or that the connection might be broken?

The clicking sound indicates a mechanical problem with the hard drive. But it doesn't automatically mean that the drive is dead. Some people have success by creating a Linux boot disk, then booting into Linux and running it from the DVD. Once they have done this, they can read hard drives which are inaccessible in Windows. To try this, go to www.ubuntu.com and create a Ubuntu Linux DVD. Then boot from it. During the boot process, it will ask you if you want to run Linux from the DVD, or if you want to install it to the hard drive. Tell it you want to run it from the DVD.

Once you have gotten into Linux, try to read the contents of your hard drive. If you can, then you can copy the files to an external drive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Oct 2017   #3
yflpov

Win 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Thanks for your reply.

I inspected it visually again. No signs of damage on the laptop or HDD connectors.

Maybe Linux will do what I need. I did imagine the same thing with the WinToUSB approach but, hey.

It occurred to me, what would happen if I were to create a bootable installation USB and only format C: (where my Windows is) and then proceed with the same WinToUSB solution. This could work for me as the files I need are all on D: and I have verified that the WinToUSB flash drive does launch a working OS. Please share your thoughts.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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04 Oct 2017   #4
mrjimphelps

Linux Mint 18.2 xfce 64-bit (VMWare host) / Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit (VMWare guest)
 
 

I would try the Linux approach first, because Linux can read drives that Windows sometimes struggles with. Also, running your operating system from a DVD means that you will have less activity on your hard drive. Your hard drive is about to fail, if it hasn't already failed. (There's no other possible explanation for the clicking noise.) You want to use it as little as possible till you get all of your files off of it.

Since your hard drive is about to fail, you should purchase a new hard drive. Either a mechanical one (cheaper), or an SSD (faster). Then install Windows to the new hard drive; then copy your files to the drive. I would recommend against running your OS from a flash drive; a flash drive will be slower than an internal drive; and a flash drive is more prone to failure.

Once you have installed your new hard drive, you could try out Linux before reinstalling Windows. You might decide that you prefer Linux over Windows. I mentioned Ubuntu Linux. Linux Mint is also a popular Linux distro. I have used both, and I have found that I prefer Mint over Ubuntu. My point is that since you will need to reinstall the OS anyway, this is an opportunity to try out a different OS.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Oct 2017   #5
AddRAM

Windows 7 Pro x64 Windows 10 Pro x64
 
 

Just plug it into a desktop.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Oct 2017   #6
TrustMe

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

You can also use Kyhi’s Bootable Rescue Disk. Download the iso, extract it to a bootable flash drive or burn it to dvd and boot from it. It is a live version of Windows.

Windows 10 Recovery Tools - Bootable Rescue Disk - Windows 10 Forums
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Oct 2017   #7
yflpov

Win 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

@mrjimphelps
I will do that. I was wondering if I can burn Linux on a USB since I haven't got any DVD's lying around.
I already bought a new HDD so all I need to do now is recover as much as I can from the old drive.
Thanks for the suggestions. I will try them out and see what's what.
@TrustMe
That's a handy suggestion. Thanks for your input!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Oct 2017   #8
mrjimphelps

Linux Mint 18.2 xfce 64-bit (VMWare host) / Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit (VMWare guest)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by yflpov View Post
I was wondering if I can burn Linux on a USB since I haven't got any DVD's lying around.
Yes. Both Ubuntu and Mint (and probably most other Linux distros) allow you to use a USB flash drive rather than a DVD.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Oct 2017   #9
Megahertz07

Windows 7 HP 64
 
 

Use Rufus - Create bootable USB drives the easy way to create a USB boot able disk from a iso file.
Use a Linux like Ubuntu, Lubuntu, Mint etc.

As Brian suggested, the easiest way to read and test the disk is to attach the HDD to another desktop.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Oct 2017   #10
yflpov

Win 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

@mrjimphelps
Thank you for your suggestions and your time! I have managed to recover everything that was of importance to me. I already have the new HDD in with Windows 7 installed.

@Megahertz07
I did think about doing so but I don't have a desktop so I needed another way. Also, thanks for clarifying how to do the bootable USB - I knew how to but it never hurts!

@TrustMe
Thanks for you suggestion, as well! I tried it for the sake of learning something new and I think that the concept is quite nifty.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 How to boot Windows7 from USB (WinToUSB)




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