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Can't start up


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#1 rchill

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 12:45 PM

My wife's Dell Inspiron laptop (2007) won't start up. Start up recovery can't solve the problem. Safe mode methods can't solve the problem, either (eg. system recovery, latest advanced configuration, etc.) I have done an online chat with a Microsoft technician ($50) and she couldn't solve the problem. It seems most likely that the windows system files required to start the computer are corrupted or damaged.

My wife has no back up and she is petrified that she will lose irreplaceable personal files in her word processing, spread sheet, graphics and email programs. The Microsoft technician recommended contacting Dell for assistance in using a "recovery partition." But from what I can tell so far this would mean losing her personal files (Dell computer appear to have some information recovery capability from 2009 on) ; the same would happen if we were to reinstall Vista (although we don't have a replacement disc, we bought the computer from Dell online and the company didn't include a reinstallation disc in the shipment).

Question: is there another way that a knowledgeable person could enter the system and correct the damaged or corrupted start up code? Or is our only remaining alternative an effort to recover the files from hard drive?

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#2 Allan

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 12:47 PM

You can try slaving the drive to recover the data. When trying to access the data after slaving you may need to take ownership (http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows-vista/add-take-ownership-to-explorer-right-click-menu-in-vista/)

#3 sach2

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 01:19 PM

If the files are extremely important then I would buy a new laptop HD and clone the existing one to the new HD.

Todo Backup would do the job.
Download Todo Backup on a working computer and use the option to build a bootable CD.
Then boot from the CD on the laptop with the new HD connected by USB using something like this adapter.
Use the clone disk option in Todo to copy the entire laptop drive to the new HD.

This would give you a complete copy of the HD to work with. You could then troubleshoot the Vista startup problem or give it to a tech to work on and know you have a safe backup copy. If worse comes to worse and a restore to factory defaults becomes necessary you still have a complete copy of all your wife's files for recovery. (You could troubleshoot the copy if that would make you feel safer)

At about $100 (HD and adapter) it is probably worth the investment to be on the safe side. You could accomplish the same thing without the adapter if you had a PC that would recognize both the old laptop drive and a new one at the same time and boot from the CD.




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