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How can I rescue my files?


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#1 sn0zb0z

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 01:53 PM

Hi.

My computer has crashed. It is Windows Vista. When I turn it on it comes up saying to Launch startup repair or start windows normally. Starting it normally doesn't work, it tries to load and then restarts itself.

However, I can get it to bring up the safe mode menu by clicking F8. I tried running safe mode and it went through files, said please wait at the bottom and then restarted and brought up the first menu (launch startup repair/start normally).

I did try the startup repair but it was asking for drivers or the operating system (something like that) and there was nothing listed in the box it came up with and I couldn't seem to find anything when looking through folders. Not really sure what I was looking for but there were no files under any folder that I could see. I just clicked next because I didn't know what else to do. It did seem to be trying to do a repair but it never got anywhere.

I got up another menu after that which said I could try the repair again, do a system restore from a restore point or do a complete restore from a disk.

For some reason it can't find any restore points but I know there was some. I do have restore disks but I really really want the files off the hard drive before I restore the computer back to how it was originally.

Sorry if this is a bit confusing with all the different menus.

Basically, I can get up the safe mode menu with various options but safe mode doesn't work and I don't know what else will help and I have the option of launch startup repair but I'm a bit lost on how to find anything on that.

How can I get my files off the hard drive or restore the computer without losing any files? I have an external hard drive to transfer them on to, I just need to get to the files.

Any help would be great.

Thanks.

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#2 AustrAlien

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 02:20 PM

Copy all your important personal files to your external hard drive: That would be a good start.

If your computer is not able to boot into Windows or simply not able to access the internet, you can use a LIVE Linux operating system run from a bootable CD or flashdrive instead of Windows, to access the internet, to access files on the HDD(s) and do other tasks.

:step1: Using a working computer:
  • If you wish to use a LIVE CD ...
    • Download the Linux version of your choice (usually an .ISO image file).
    • There are many options to use for a LIVE CD. I suggest that you try one of the following:
    • Puppy Linux (smallest download file size at 128 MB)
    • There are two versions currently available, namely Slacko and Lucid. Either will do the job nicely.
  • Linux Mint 12 Lisa (versions for a CD, and larger versions that need to be burned to a DVD disk)
[*]Burn the .ISO image to CD: If you do not already have a suitable burning program for writing .ISO images to disc ...
  • Download and install ImgBurn.
  • Ensure that you UN-check the box agreeing to install the Ask toolbar during the installation.
  • Place a new (blank) CD disc in the drive tray.
  • Choose Write image file to disc.
    • Under Source, click on the Browse button: Navigate to and select the .ISO file that you wish to burn.
    • Place a check-mark in the box beside Verify.
  • Click Posted Image
[*]When the CD has been burned and verified as successful, it will be bootable.
[/list][*]OR ... if you wish to use a LIVE flashdrive ...
  • Go to UNetbootin - Homepage and Downloads and at the top of the page, click on Download (for Windows) to download the application.
  • Follow the instructions further down the page under the heading Installation & Screenshots.
  • Run the application to download and install the Linux version of choice to your flashdrive.
  • I suggest that you try one of the following:
  • Puppy Linux (smallest download file size at 128 MB)
  • Linux Mint 12 Lisa (download file size depends on version)
[/list][/list]
:step2: Boot the problematic machine from the LIVE CD or flashdrive.
  • (You may have to configure the Boot Menu or BIOS Setup Menu to boot first from the optical/CD drive or the flashdrive, which ever you are using.)
  • Choose to run the Linux operating system from the CD or flashdrive without making any changes to your computer.
    Do NOT install Linux on your hard drive.
  • When the Linux operating system loads ...
  • You will have internet access in the normal manner.
  • You will be able to navigate to all the files on your HDD.
  • You can backup your files by copying them to a flashdrive or an external hard drive.
You may find one of the following guides useful:
Recover files from Windows XP hard disk using Puppy Linux

Recover files from Windows Vista hard disk using Puppy Linux

Recover files from Windows 7 hard disk using Puppy Linux

The easiest way to copy files/folders in Puppy is to drag-and-drop from one window to another. To do this open a window showing what you want to copy. Open another window showing the location that you wish to copy to .... and move the windows so that you can conveniently see both at the same time.

Now, simply drag the items you wish to copy from one window into the other. Simple.
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#3 sn0zb0z

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 02:26 PM

Thanks. I can't get Windows to boot at all so I will try the Live CD. I'll see if I can find a spare flash drive. If not, does it matter if the CD is a CD-RW or does it need to be CD-R?

#4 AustrAlien

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 02:29 PM

Some people have success with CD-RWs: Personally, I don't use them.

I can only suggest you try it. There is no valid reason for it not to work with a CD-RW.

Flash drive works fine too!
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#5 sn0zb0z

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 02:36 PM

Ok. Well I found a flash drive so I'll try that lol.

Thankyou for your help and quick reply :)

#6 AustrAlien

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 02:37 PM

No worries: I hope you enjoy the Puppy experience! :thumbup2:
AustrAlien
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#7 sn0zb0z

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 04:32 PM

It's strange not seeing Windows lol.

It finally loaded, but I had to use a CD, it wouldn't boot from the flash drive.

I opened sda1 but got an error message although it did load and I could get to some folders, just not what I wanted. I tried opening sda2 and sda3 but they won't open and now it states please wait, probing hardware.....

I think I tried to do too much at once. It has said this for a while. I'm thinking my best option is to turn my computer off for now and try again tomorrow when I have more time and can solve any errors. But am I ok to turn it off while it has this message?

#8 AustrAlien

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 04:38 PM

I opened sda1 but got an error message ...

What was the error message exactly? It is sounding like a serious hard drive, partition table &/or NTFS file system problem.


Re: "am I ok to turn it off while it has this message?"
Yes, since Puppy is loaded in memory only, and does not make any changes to the hard drive, there is no problem "pulling the power plug" anytime.

Edited by AustrAlien, 14 June 2012 - 04:45 PM.

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#9 sn0zb0z

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 04:46 PM

Problem with mounting the drive. It says the ntfs-3g driver was unable to mount the NTFS partition and returned an error message, then says it failed to write lock'/dev/sda3'/

There is a bit more to it but it's still loading up the windows for the drives/folders.

A quick google search of the message suggests its not good though...still, it seems people who have had it can't get to any folders.

And that's good to know.

It loaded the window for sda3. Now it's showing a new window with sda 1,2 and 3 with the (un) mount button next to it. Two are blue, the other grey.

#10 AustrAlien

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 04:53 PM

From what you have reported, it would seem that there is a problem with the third partition, sda3.

Which version of Puppy are you using? Slacko or Lucid?

We should firstly test the hard drive to see if a problem with that may be causing the corruption that is preventing Puppy from mounting sda3.

Test the hard drive.

It is best to use the hard drive manufacturer's own diagnostic utility, but Seagate's tool will work OK on most brands. The diagnostic tool is run from a bootable CD (Windows does not need to be working. The first two steps are done on a working computer, while the third step is to boot the ailing computer with the CD that you create in the first two steps.)

:step1: Please download SeaTools for DOS (CD) from Seagate's SeaTools for DOS web page

or use the following direct download link to download the latest version of SeaTools for DOS:
Download SeaTools for DOS ISO Image

The downloaded file name is SeaToolsDOS223ALL.ISO
[/list]
:step2: Burn the downloaded .ISO image to a CD using the appropriate burning software.
  • If you do not already have a suitable burning program for writing .ISO images to disc ...
    • Download and install ImgBurn.
      Ensure that you UN-check the box agreeing to install the Ask toolbar during the installation.
    • Place a new (blank) CD disc in the drive tray.
    • Choose Write image file to disc.
    • Under Source, click on the Browse button: Navigate to and select the .ISO file that you wish to burn.
    • Place a check-mark in the box beside Verify.
  • Click Posted Image

    When the CD has been burned and verified as successful, it will be bootable.

:step3: Boot from the CD.
  • (You may need to access the BIOS Setup Menu or the Boot Menu and change the boot order to enable booting from CD before hard drive.)
  • From Basic tests on the Main Menu, run the Short test and then the Long test.

    (The long test will take some considerable time to complete.)
    The results will be shown as either a PASS or FAIL.
    There is a chance that during the Long test, you may be offered the opportunity to attempt repairs on the hard drive:
  • If so, go ahead and attempt to do so, but ONLY after backing up all important personal files.
[/list]Note: You may wish to view the following ...
Please let us know the results of the tests.

When you can, include the make and model number of the problematic hard drive. If you do choose to use SeaTools, you will see the model number (and maybe the make) when SeaTools first detects the hard drive.
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#11 sn0zb0z

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 05:01 PM

Slacko I think.

Despite messages I did get to my User folder. I may have double clicked or something because it seems to have gone to a random folder within that folder. Either way, it is showing me some of my files. I assume if I went back to the previous folder it would show me the rest.

I do have a lot of files even within that one folder so I think it's just going really slow, but I have managed to copy over one photo to my external hard drive so it does seem to be ok, at least to a certain point.

Now I have it all up I don't really want to shut it down lol. But as it's late, there's a lot of files and there are the messages I think I'm going to have to. I'll have to look into that then tomorrow but hopefully I can get all the files despite the messages...

#12 AustrAlien

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 05:08 PM

Yes, it is quite likely that you double-clicked: A habit from Windows that is hard to break!

If by chance there is a serious problem with the hard drive, it would be best to copy your files to the external hard drive while you have the chance! :exclame: Start the copying now.

On the other hand, it should be OK to shut down and resume another day: It is a risk you will have to weigh up and make a decision on for now.
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#13 sn0zb0z

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 05:15 PM

Indeed.

I found all my files. Although even copying a folder at a time I hate to think how long it will take. 10 minutes+ and it's yet to copy over 1 whole folder.

I imagine it probably would be fine to leave it and as it's currently gone 11pm I would prefer to leave it. But past computer problems say I should get everything while I can.

I'd start with small folders or important folders first but I think most are big and important so...nevermind lol

#14 AustrAlien

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 05:25 PM

If Puppy/copying files is slow/exceedingly slow, that is indicating Puppy is having a problem!

It may be best to assume the worst, and play it exceedingly safe, and adopt a different approach? See the following link for the approach I am thinking of, namely creating an image of the whole hard drive on your external hard drive, before rescuing the files from the image:
  • http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic452210.html/page__view__findpost__p__2729168

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#15 sn0zb0z

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 05:33 PM

It is slow but we are talking many GB. I have saved some stuff. Just trying to cancel the copying cuz it appears to be stuck. Can't leave it running all night so...I think my only option is to shut it down and hope. As much as I hate to do that.

Is there any quick way to close all windows and stop it?




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