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Resurrecting a W7 laptop


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#1 RevGAM

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 11:17 AM

The HDD on the laptop I'd been using is dying, and it's got all my data on it, too, since my 1TB portable USB backup HDD was in the shop being repaired (thanks to my toddler son) but was just returned to me today. The laptop still works, but it failed the HDD quick test in BIOS after only 10%, and Windows hangs sooner or later every time I use it. There's a lot of data (about 200 GB) I want to get.

The laptop is collateral (ie: not mine) against a substantial amount of money owed me that probably will never be paid me (long, irritating story). When it was lent to me, I got the manuals, Vista installation discs, etc., but they didn't give me the Windows 7 discs (which it's running on now). Vista is legit (there's a COA sticker too), but I have no idea if the W7 is legit or not, but I've had no trouble with MS's genuine Windows check. Given that I'm in Indonesia, it's entirely possible that W7 is pirated (but I don't know). The laptop owner is hostile, so I can't go and demand, ask or beg for the W7 disc or any other help. She wants the laptop back without paying up - she even sent over a civilian police officer to try and strong-arm me.

The last backup to the backup partition was done when it was still running Vista, so I can't make use of it. I've tried running recovery and various other options aimed at fixing W7 with no luck (can't do it). I did manage to make a rescue DVD.

Question #1: Saving My Data
I don't know if I'll be able to transfer all my data to my portable USB backup HDD without the laptop crashing or hanging. What's a good program to transfer over all of my data QUICKLY, given the speed limit of USB 2.0? I have Teracopy and Total Commander, but if someone knows of something else that is fast and reliable, please let me know. I have a lot of irreplaceable stuff that I need to rescue for my educational and environmental work, amongst other stuff.

Question #2: Saving W7
Is there a way that, while (or after) saving my data, I can move W7 to my USB backup HDD? It has been suggested that I could use a disc image program like Ghost but, at this point, I don't have a replacement drive to move it to, just my backup drive.

If I use a FREE program that functions like Ghost, I could set up my USB HDD with a partition that matches the size of the laptop's first partition where W7 is, right? Later, I could expand the partition size to take up the whole TB of space. What disc imaging program could I use that would be free?

Are there other options I'm not aware of?

Question #3: Getting W7 If I Can't Save It
Let's say I can't transfer W7 to the new HDD, and I can only get my data off. In the absence of the W7 installation discs, what are my options without going out and buying new installation discs? I am flat broke for the foreseeable future (long story). I can get the W7 product key off the laptop using ProduKey. I don't want to go get a pirated W7 disc and use the product key with it because I won't know if the disc is infected or even if the key is legitimate. I'm ASSUMING the key is legit, so I'd like to try getting W7 somehow.

Question #4: What If I Boot with My USB HDD?
If I can install Vista to my backup HDD with the discs I was given...
And set the laptop to boot from USB HDD (which is available in BIOS)...
Wouldn't it be possible to boot my laptop using the portable HDD and copy everything onto it from Vista without too many hassles because I won't have to worry about the laptop's W7 crashing since I won't be using it? I'll just have to deal with the laptop's HDD stopping from time to time (how do I do that?).

If that'll work, then I could even use the portable HDD as the boot device for the laptop on a regular basis, and deal with the W7 problem when I have money and at my leisure. Right? Well, except the HDD might end up dying while doing that.

My first priority is saving my data. W7 is secondary by a long shot unless there's a free solution to my problem.

Thanks in advance to the experts here!

Namaste, Peace & Love,
Glenn


If I have frustrated you, then I must be a student. If I've imparted information or a skill to you, then I must be a teacher. If I've helped you, then I must be a volunteer. If I've touched your life, then I must be happy!
If you had to choose between saving just your family, or saving 10,000 GOOD people (but not your family), what would you choose?


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#2 PCCom

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 03:53 PM

Hi,

Let's shot for getting you data first. Most likely none of this will work.

Plug in your external Hdd. Boot with rescue disc. From the command prompt determine your drive letter for the user files and for the external hdd. To find out from command prompt C: (Enter) Dir (Enter) list of files and folders look for USERS if not there then D: Dir then E: till you locate the drives you need will For example C is partition/drive with User folder and E is the external hdd from command prompt "copy c:\users E:\" cross your fingers and hit enter.


You can get a win7 w/sp1 iso here EDIT: Link to iso removed to comply with site owner directive. ~ Animal


If you have access to a desktop simply remove the hard drive from your laptop and install it into the desktop leaving the original hard drive. Boot up the desktop normally hopefully you will have access to your laptops hard drive and be able to copy and paste your data.

I don't think you can install Vista to a USB HDD hmm if your external hdd has a 2.5" hdd in it you could install it into the laptop.
Now that i think about it I would get another hard drive use imagex to image the drive. Roberto Mencia's blog has everything you'd need to know.

Hope this helps

#3 RevGAM

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 11:01 PM

I understand about the copy command, thank you.

Is there something potentially or actually illegal about that ISO link that was removed?

The laptop is using a 2.5" drive, of course, whereas this XP machine uses ATA 3.5" drives, so I can't try that. There's a SATA port on the board, but I don't have a cable. If I had an external USB HDD case, I could pop it in that but...no money to buy one.

Why do you think Vista can't be installed on a portable 2.5" HDD? I'm not sure what you meant by the end of that sentence. Again, I don't have money to buy another HDD. I'm literally really poor and if I had musical skills I'd start busking.

Thanks!

Namaste, Peace & Love,
Glenn


If I have frustrated you, then I must be a student. If I've imparted information or a skill to you, then I must be a teacher. If I've helped you, then I must be a volunteer. If I've touched your life, then I must be happy!
If you had to choose between saving just your family, or saving 10,000 GOOD people (but not your family), what would you choose?


#4 RevGAM

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 03:15 PM

Update: I was checking the discs and it turns out I was fooled. The envelope for the Windows install disc has a Vista COA sticker on it, so I assumed it was Vista - it's a W7 upgrade disc. So, that means Questions 2 & 3 are resolved. I'd edit out those two questions if I could...but I can't.

Now, since I can't put Windows on my USB HDD, how do I prepare it for use to boot and copy files off the laptop? Am I going to be stuck using DOS copy, or can I rig the HDD to boot with something that'll support a fast copy program? Please advise of my options on this, since I'm at the point where some of the educational data is desperately needed now. Roberto Mencia's link didn't seem to be of use...?

Namaste, Peace & Love,
Glenn


If I have frustrated you, then I must be a student. If I've imparted information or a skill to you, then I must be a teacher. If I've helped you, then I must be a volunteer. If I've touched your life, then I must be happy!
If you had to choose between saving just your family, or saving 10,000 GOOD people (but not your family), what would you choose?


#5 PCCom

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 08:57 AM

Sorry about the removed link. I thought it was legit since you have to have a COA to use it. Oh well.

The most inexpensive way is just boot with rescue disk then copy to external hdd. You could try Knoppix live linux cd or any number of other such distros.

Hope that helps

#6 RevGAM

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 05:46 PM

That sounds much easier than preparing my external HDD to boot up. The rescue disk, I mean.

I don't know enough about Linux (read: nothing at all) to be able to use Knoppix. :(

Thanks for the tip! I think I'll try that...after I wake up. (snoring) :crazy:

Namaste, Peace & Love,
Glenn


If I have frustrated you, then I must be a student. If I've imparted information or a skill to you, then I must be a teacher. If I've helped you, then I must be a volunteer. If I've touched your life, then I must be happy!
If you had to choose between saving just your family, or saving 10,000 GOOD people (but not your family), what would you choose?


#7 RevGAM

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 11:20 PM

Um, I booted with the rescue disc, but there is no function for copying files. Short of using Ultimate Boot CD, is there a simple way for me to copy files from the rescue cd? I didn't see an option on the menu for the CD, and it doesn't support DOS commands apparently. I have no cash to buy an expensive program to do this.

Thanks!

Namaste, Peace & Love,
Glenn


If I have frustrated you, then I must be a student. If I've imparted information or a skill to you, then I must be a teacher. If I've helped you, then I must be a volunteer. If I've touched your life, then I must be happy!
If you had to choose between saving just your family, or saving 10,000 GOOD people (but not your family), what would you choose?


#8 RevGAM

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 11:21 PM

Ex-pen-sive: Anything with a price tag of over $.50.
Source: Glenn's Poorman Dictionary
:whistle:

Namaste, Peace & Love,
Glenn


If I have frustrated you, then I must be a student. If I've imparted information or a skill to you, then I must be a teacher. If I've helped you, then I must be a volunteer. If I've touched your life, then I must be happy!
If you had to choose between saving just your family, or saving 10,000 GOOD people (but not your family), what would you choose?


#9 PCCom

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 08:48 AM

Hi,

Using the rescue disc you have to use the Dos prompt.

#10 RevGAM

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 09:45 AM

I used the command line interface, of course, but it doesn't support copy and no help file appears when I type help or ?.

Namaste, Peace & Love,
Glenn


If I have frustrated you, then I must be a student. If I've imparted information or a skill to you, then I must be a teacher. If I've helped you, then I must be a volunteer. If I've touched your life, then I must be happy!
If you had to choose between saving just your family, or saving 10,000 GOOD people (but not your family), what would you choose?


#11 PCCom

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 11:11 AM

I'm confused, I've used dos prompt to copy files many times. Perhaps you typed incorrectly or I'm just missing something.

#12 RevGAM

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 11:09 PM

After the rescue CD boots up and goes through the various initial screens, I get to the menu that offers things like startup repair and, finally, command prompt. I chose command prompt. When I typed in "copy c:*.* e:" it rejected the command. I tried standard variations, all of which were rejected, including just copying the "users" folder. Perhaps I've forgotten something about the command, but it appears to match the help file info on this computer.

Namaste, Peace & Love,
Glenn


If I have frustrated you, then I must be a student. If I've imparted information or a skill to you, then I must be a teacher. If I've helped you, then I must be a volunteer. If I've touched your life, then I must be happy!
If you had to choose between saving just your family, or saving 10,000 GOOD people (but not your family), what would you choose?


#13 RevGAM

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 12:10 AM

Help?

Namaste, Peace & Love,
Glenn


If I have frustrated you, then I must be a student. If I've imparted information or a skill to you, then I must be a teacher. If I've helped you, then I must be a volunteer. If I've touched your life, then I must be happy!
If you had to choose between saving just your family, or saving 10,000 GOOD people (but not your family), what would you choose?


#14 PCCom

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 12:01 PM

copy c:\users E:\

C being the OS drive e being the external

#15 RevGAM

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 12:26 PM

With all due respect, when you work a case, you're supposed to look at the history of the case so you don't repeat yourself.

You already suggested "copy" in post #2. In #7, 10 & 12, I explained that the copy command doesn't work from the rescue CD.

...

I have resolved the problem anyways. I reseated all the components I could access without too much trouble (WLAN, RAM, HDD, battery) and the laptop has been running for 5 hours without problems while I've been backing up my data.

Thanks for trying.

Namaste, Peace & Love,
Glenn


If I have frustrated you, then I must be a student. If I've imparted information or a skill to you, then I must be a teacher. If I've helped you, then I must be a volunteer. If I've touched your life, then I must be happy!
If you had to choose between saving just your family, or saving 10,000 GOOD people (but not your family), what would you choose?





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