A Word To The Wise

I am currently trying to retrieve photos for an individual off of a dieing laptop. It was a Windows XP system and will not boot even in the “Safe Mode”.

My assumption is that the OS has become corrupted. Reinstalling Microsoft would require loosing all data on the hard drive.

I tried removing the hard drive and putting it into an external case and reading it via the USB port, but that would not work.

I reinstalled the hard drive in the laptop and booted up UBUNBTU on the CD drive. I have been able to copy some files before the system hangs. I have a long way to go, but given time maybe I will get the majority of the needed files recovered.

The point of this post is to remind everyone that PCs break. Hard drives fail. If you only have your photos or important documents stored on a PC and not backed up to another medium, you are at risk.

That reminds me, I need to back up my primary PC again. 🙂

UPDATE: I completed the process and recovered all of the files that were important. A couple photos would not copy. I would say that I copied 99% of all photos. I declare the exercise a success. Had I taken it to a computer repair place here, I am sure they would just have reformatted the hard drive.

8 thoughts on “A Word To The Wise

  1. Don Ray,
    I use Carbonite (www.carbonite.com) to continuously back up all of my files on my PC. I have had to do a partial & a full resore (to a new disk drive) with no problems. I also run a disk to disk backup once a week.
    Rob

  2. Don Ray,

    A followup would be great. It sounds like the person either had some bad sectors (a lot) or the drive was dying of other causes. I was able to get all the data of a drive of my wife’s using an external enclosure and USB after the disk diagnostics from the Ultimate Boot CD said it was a dead disk. It wouldn’t surprise me if the shop replaced the disk.

  3. Hi Scott. I have two external USB backup drives. One is 80 GB, which fits in a shirt pocket and doesn’t require a powersupply and an other 500GB that has an external PS. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  4. Tuxi. This is a Toshiba laptop that was new in 2002. When I tried to use the Toshiba recovery CDs, they tried to install Windows 98. The PC was purchased with Windows XP. Not wanting 98 and not wanting to invest a lot of money bring this PC back to life, I am using the new openSUSE 11.1 and installing KDE 4.1.

    It is in the middle of the install process, but seems to be going OK. How much trouble I have getting everything working will be the next problem.

    Well, it still would not boot after the install, so I am assuming the hard drive is bad. I am going to take another drive and try it in the laptop, If that works, I will believe it was really the drive, If it doesn’t I will say it is something else in the laptop and it time to pitch the laptop. This laptop probably cost $1,200 new and you can get a better one now for $600.

  5. Hi Don,
    It’s been awhile since I have contributed. Have you or Tuxi ever used a BartPE bootable disk to recover Windoze XP. I have a friend who is a computer forensics expert who made me one. Worked like a charm on my wifes IBM T30 with a dead hard drive.

    Directions are available on the net. Oh, bye the way, upgraded to Hardy Heron on my IBM T30 and gave it the Apple Leopard look with the SIM dock. I get lots of questions form people inquiring about how I put Apple OSX on my Thinkpad.

    Take care,
    Kevin

  6. Hi Kevin. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

    No I haven’t used BartPE.

    I only have played with the AWN dock. It seemed pretty good, but I continue to just stick with KDE.

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