If this is Ubuntu or probably even if it is not, you can Boot up with the live cd and access or back up the files with the live session...
In the Ubuntu Live CD you can do this by clicking Accessories;Terminal. And then opening a browser with administrator privileges by typing the following command:
A password box will open. After entering your password an administrator file browser will open. In case any of your files have somehow become hidden files you can then choose to view the hidden files within the browser by clicking "View" from the file menu and selecting "Show Hidden files". From this browser you can then move the files off your hard drive and onto another storage device.
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Last edited by michaelk; 08-29-2011 at 06:43 PM.