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Old 04-21-2010, 06:30 PM   #1
Registered: Feb 2009
Posts: 33

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Windows laptop won't boot up - can I use a Live Linux CD to save my data?

I have a Windows laptop that isn't booting up anymore for some reason. Safe Mode doesn't even work. Looking at what is printed out when it hangs, I did a search on google and it is some sort of HP laptop problem. Apparently the hard drive should still be OK, if only I can access it somehow.

I was thinking maybe I could use one of those live Linux CDs to boot up. But I'm not too familiar with those. Would they be able to detect the laptop's DVD burner, and allow me to burn files off the NTFS partition to a blank DVD? I want to get my data off before I hand the laptop over to the IT department - who knows what they will do to it.

So exactly which live Linux CD flavor should I use (my other working computer only has a CD burner)? And then would it be easy to burn a DVD after booting up the live Linux CD?

Old 04-21-2010, 07:12 PM   #2
Registered: Oct 2009
Location: England
Distribution: Kubuntu, Ubuntu, Debian, Proxmox.
Posts: 555

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Get the System Rescue CD. If you have at least a gig of RAM, choose to load/cache files into memory, that way you can take out the disk once it's booted.

Once booted, to try and access your files:

If you want a graphical environment, type 'wizard'. Then look for a 'terminal' or 'xterm' to enter these commands in.

Create a directory to 'mount' your Windows partition. Linux doesn't use drive letters, instead it combines all disks and partitions into one structure. Linux uses forward slashes not backslashes to separate folders.
cd /mnt
mkdir windows
check the partitions on your disk
fdisk -l
You will get a list of partitions, with names like sda1, sda2, and so on. One of them should be your Windows partition - probably the biggest. Mount the partition

mount -t ntfs-3g /dev/partition_name windows
And you should find your Windows disk under /mnt/windows

If you get any errors, post them here. The CD gives a brief instruction on getting online from it when it boots - if you start the graphical environment you can then copy-and-paste from the terminal window to firefox. In Linux, copy by simply selecting text, and paste by middle-clicking, or clicking left and right buttons together if you have no middle button/wheel.

You mention burning a DVD, which should be possible. A usb stick would probably be more convenient though. Or if you can connect the laptop by ethernet to another computer, you can transfer the files that way.

Last edited by cantab; 04-21-2010 at 07:14 PM.


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