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Thread: can you recover stuff off a HDD when windows has died compleately?

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    can you recover stuff off a HDD when windows has died compleately?

    basically my wee brother has broken the family laptop, am not too sure about what he did. it starts, goes to the choose you profile screen at the start of windows, you choose a profile, it starts loading it, then stops and says saving your settings and logging off and goes back to the choose a profile screen. any ideas?

    there is stuff on the HDD that we want to keep and i was wondering if this would work: install umbunta onto a USB, load up the laptop on umbunta and see if i can get onto the HDD and take stuff off it? and if that works then find a copy of windows XP somewhere and reinstall that on the laptop.

    my dad also asked about putting more RAM and maybe a bigger HDD in it, how hard is it to do this to a laptop?
    the laptop is a HP, think its a 1080i but im not sure

    Thanks

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    Re: can you recover stuff off a HDD when windows has died compleately?

    The ubuntu idea is a good one if it doesnt work you have a seriously damaged HD, though the damage may not lie within the HDD, best to find out where it lies before pulling stuff apart.

    As for upgrading stuff its easy, same as with a normal desktop computer, though with a lappy its best to earth yourself first so as not to damage any components inside. just a precaution but better safe than sorry
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    Re: can you recover stuff off a HDD when windows has died compleately?

    Have you tried booting into safemode?
    Failing that, boot off the XP installation disc and choose the repair option. Doing that wont erase any of the data on it.

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    Re: can you recover stuff off a HDD when windows has died compleately?

    hmm by broken i assumed you meant physical damage what with a little brother lol though reading the OP again it doesn't so firstly id take the advice form strike-down here before anything else
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    Re: can you recover stuff off a HDD when windows has died compleately?

    If it's managing to get past the POST screen, some or all of your data should be recoverable using the Ubuntu method. If the hard drive is damaged but still working, I believe Spinrite is very good at recovering data. You do have to pay for it but if you really want/need what's on the drive it should work. You can get it from here: http://www.grc.com/sr/spinrite.htm

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    Re: can you recover stuff off a HDD when windows has died compleately?

    Could always try putting the hard drive in a sealed bag and then in the freezer for a couple hours then try to remove data if things go really bad
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    Re: can you recover stuff off a HDD when windows has died compleately?

    Quote Originally Posted by ConTRo13R View Post
    Could always try putting the hard drive in a sealed bag and then in the freezer for a couple hours then try to remove data if things go really bad
    uhh?? did you read the OP's post?? it boots to the logon screen, there is no problem with the hard disk itself, just corrupt files within windows.

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    Re: can you recover stuff off a HDD when windows has died compleately?

    Some good advice already. I would try the following if you have some sort of USB storage device knocking around and a friend with a CD writer.

    On a friends PC Download an Ubuntu LiveCD image and burn it off
    Boot up said laptop from the LiveCD whilst have the USB storage plugged in
    Once in Ubuntu, copy all your valuable data from your dodgy HD to the USB storage
    Wipe and re-install the latop
    Copy your data back

    (more detailed guide here http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windo...dows-computer/)

    May sound a bit extreme (wipe & re-install), but at least then you are starting with a known-good installation.

    Also, I would agree with watercooled and recommend spinrite (grc.com/sr/spinrite.htm). In some cases, if the problem is caused by corruption from bad sectors etc. a spinrite repair will just fix your problem flat out), but even if it doesn't it will cordon off bad sectors from re-use.
    Last edited by i4000; 15-01-2009 at 01:23 PM. Reason: Can't spell :)

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    Re: can you recover stuff off a HDD when windows has died compleately?

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasb View Post
    my dad also asked about putting more RAM and maybe a bigger HDD in it, how hard is it to do this to a laptop?
    the laptop is a HP, think its a 1080i but im not sure

    Thanks
    RAM and HDD upgrade should be easy enough, check out the laptop manual for HDD interface type (normally now SATA) and RAM type and speed (e.g. SODIMM / PC6400 etc.). HP will probably list some HP badged upgrade parts, don't get these as they are generally well over-priced, just buy the equivalents from Scan/Ebuyer etc. If you dig out the exact model someone on this thread will no doubt point you to the exact parts you need

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    Re: can you recover stuff off a HDD when windows has died compleately?

    For the RAM upgrade, try crucial.com - there is a system scanner which will check your system and tell you what you need / max upgrade, etc and provide a list of modules to buy. Like i4000 mentioned, mfr badged parts are generally well over-priced and Crucial memory is mfr'd by Micron - the same as a lot of Corsair parts if I'm not mistaken.

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    Re: can you recover stuff off a HDD when windows has died compleately?

    Quote Originally Posted by strike-down View Post
    Have you tried booting into safemode?
    Failing that, boot off the XP installation disc and choose the repair option. Doing that wont erase any of the data on it.
    yea, safe mode does the same thing.
    dont have the disk, it didnt come with one. would HP send an XP installation disk if you wrote to them and asked?


    Quote Originally Posted by i4000 View Post
    Some good advice already. I would try the following if you have some sort of USB storage device knocking around and a friend with a CD writer.

    On a friends PC Download an Ubuntu LiveCD image and burn it off
    Boot up said laptop from the LiveCD whilst have the USB storage plugged in
    Once in Ubuntu, copy all your valuable data from your dodgy HD to the USB storage
    Wipe and re-install the latop
    Copy your data back

    (more detailed guide here http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windo...dows-computer/)

    May sound a bit extreme (wipe & re-install), but at least then you are starting with a known-good installation.

    Also, I would agree with watercooled and recommend spinrite (grc.com/sr/spinrite.htm). In some cases, if the problem is caused by corruption from bad sectors etc. a spinrite repair will just fix your problem flat out), but even if it doesn't it will cordon off bad sectors from re-use.
    ok, that was what i was planning on doing

    thanks

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