Ubuntu can be used fine to back up files, but you don't have to install it, you can also use its Live CD. There are also smaller (download) alternatives to Ubuntu.
Do you have an XP CD? If so, try the following.
- Insert the Windows XP CD-ROM into the CD-ROM drive, and then restart the computer.
- If your PC is not booting from the CD, you need to change the boot order:
- Restart your PC
- As soon as you get an image, press the Setup key. This is usually F2, or Del. On some machines the key can also be a different one. It should, however, be stated on the screen which key is the setup key.
- Once you enter the computer's BIOS, use the arrow keys and tab key to move between elements. Press enter to select an item to change.
- Navigate to the tab, where you can set the boot order. It should be called Boot or Boot order
- The tab should now show your current boot order.
If the CD-drive is not at the top, please navigate to the CD-Rom drive with the keys arrows. Then move it to the top of the list. The keys for switching boot position are usually + to move up and - to move down. However they can be different, but they should be stated in the help, so that you can find them easily.
- Once the CD-drive is on top of the boot order, navigate to Exit and select Exit saving changes.
- Your PC should now boot from your XP-CD.
Click to select any options that are required to start the computer from the CD-ROM drive if you are prompted.
- When the "Welcome to Setup" screen appears, press R to start the Recovery Console.
- When prompted to choose a windows installation, type 1 and press enter.
- When you are prompted, type the Administrator password. If the administrator password is blank, just press ENTER.
- A command prompt will open
Type chkdsk /r
and press enter. Let the disk check run unhindered. Note - this may take a while.
When finished type EXIT and press enter to reboot. Let me know how things are now.
If you do not have the XP CD, let me know and I'll give you alternative instructions.
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
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Malware analyst @ Emsisoft