Recovering data after a Windows crash

SnowcaveMy brother recently ran into problems with his laptop running Windows XP. I thought I’d share an easy method to recover files when you are unable to boot into Windows due to the dreaded blue screen of death or other OS problem. Keep in mind that this may not help you if you have a hardware problem. (But I’ve been able to recover a significant amount of data on systems with hardware problems using this method.)

Step by Step Windows file recovery

Required items

6 Easy Steps to recover your files

  1. Plug in your external drive. (That was easy, right?)
  2. Boot from the Knoppix CD. You may have to modify your BIOS settings if the system tries to boot from the hard drive. With my brother’s laptop, it was as easy as putting in the CD and holding the “c” key down when I saw the Toshiba splash screen come up.
  3. At the boot: prompt, just hit Enter. It will take a few minutes for the system to boot up.
  4. On your desktop, you should see multiple Hard Disks listed. Each of these is a partition that Knoppix found while booting. Single-click on them to open them up and see what’s in there (no need to double-click.) One of the drives will be your external drive.
  5. Copy the files you need from your systems disk(s) to your external drive. You can do this by either dragging and dropping the files/folders or you can copy (Ctrl-c) and paste (Ctrl-v).
  6. (Optional) Install Linux so you don’t have to worry about the dreaded blue screen of death anymore (or viruses, spyware, defragmenting your hard drive, paying license fees, degrading system performance, etc…) My favorite version is Kubuntu. You can download a CD here and try it out without actually installing it on your computer. Keep in mind that it will be slow if you are running it from the CD (CDROM drives are sooo much slower than hard drives.)