How to recover your folders/files when Windows won’t boot

When Windows will not boot into normal or safe mode, it 'may be due to:

    The file system on your hard drive (your "HD") is corrupt / damaged
    One or more Windows boot files on your HD are, Themselves, missing or corrupt
    Hardware problems (including but not limited to the disk drive, Itself)

When all's Said and done, you want a machine with all problems fixed. But before you do any repairs, you gone find comfort in first knowing all your personal files are safely backed up.
(BD IT TALK) Once your data's backed up, you can then (Comfortably!) Fix any computer problems (Which June include reformatting the drive or repair Windows)

Approaches to the Problem
When your computer will not boot (and Assuming you have not been backing up your stuff in the first place - Which is a no no!) Of basically you have two Approaches to try and get to your personal data silently on your hard drive

    Remove your HD and connect it to a working computer. You can
    > Use a USB to PCI or SATA cable to connect the drive Directly OR
    > Put the drive in a USB external enclosure and connect it using a USB cable OR
    Boot your computer from CD or flash drive (since you can not boot from HD). By using the right bootable CD or flash drive, You Should Be able to boot up your own machine and then Often (but, of course, not always) be able to recover your files from your hard drive while it's quiet inside your own computer!

The steps below show how to try and recover your files by creating "rescue media" that boots into Knoppix - (! And free) for the alternate operating system

    Knoppix is
​​a variant of the Linux operating system
    Knoppix runs on MOST hardware (let's hope your computer is included in the set!)
    Once you boot into Knoppix You Should (hopefully) be able to just connect a USB flash or external hard drive and then simply copy / paste your files to recover them!

Even if you plan to remove your HD to fix it, I'd advise it's quiet worthwhile and helpful to download / burn and simply have a thesis "emergency rescue CDs" at hand and available Whenever needed)

Step 1: Verify the file system on your hard drive
When you boot Knoppix, you want it to mount the file system on your hard drive. But Knoppix can not mount a drive if its file system is corrupt. (Corruption can Occur due to a system crash or virus infection after). You need junk to fix the filesystem on your disk before you can mount the disk in Step 2 below

==> Run the Windows command chkdsk / r from the Recovery Console to scan and fix file system errors
The Windows Recovery Console Allows you to run chkdsk. CHDSK is a Windows tool that Verifies and fixes your HD's file system

Boot into the Windows Recovery Console

    If you have your Windows installation CDs see this post to boot into the recovery console
    If you do not have your Windows installation CDs don't despair!
        You can download the XP Windows Recovery Console here.
        For Vista, you can download a Vista Recovery Console here
        For Windows 7, you can download a Windows 7 Recovery Console here

Important Notes

    If you downloaded the ISO file to Knoppix see hints below about how to burn it
    ISO files are image files >> and must be burned as to "image", not as data, to create a bootable CD
    Chkdsk can take a long time to run (sometimes hours). Especially if you have a large hard drive.
    === >> Do not interrupt chkdsk
    === >> Do not assume chkdsk is hanging Unless you wait at least 30 + minutes for the screen to change! (E.G. is waiting for it to change% complete)

Step 2: Boot into Knoppix (an alternate and free operating system)

    Go to the Knoppix home page
    Click on Downloads. Select a download site near you
    You want Knoppix v6. 0 or later. At the moment (as of October 2010)
        As of October, 2010 Knoppix V6.2.1 is the latest version
        The download link for the English version of Knoppix V6.2.1 is named: 2010-01-31 KNOPPIX_V6. 2.1CD-EN. ISO-
        Select a Knoppix mirror (server)
        Search the list of download links
        > Note!: You do not want to "ADRIANE" version of Knoppix. Do not choose the left with the word ADRIANE in the name
        > Look for the ISO download named

        KNOPPIX_V6. 2.1CD-2010-01-31-EN. ISO

    Download KNOPPIX_V6. 2.1CD-2010-01-31-EN. ISO and save it (this is a big download)
    Once the ISO download completes, you need to verify you received the Entire ISO file and what it hasn't corrupted falling on the download. You'll use the "HashTabs" tool to calculate the MD5 checksum of your ISO download file and compare it to the published MD5 correct value for the ISO file. If the MD5 value calculated is for your downloaded file equals the correct result, then you have a good ISO download file you can burn!

    Install the tool HashTabs
        Right click the ISO download file. Select Properties-> File Hashes. Select the MD5 value Displayed by HashTabs
        Next, you need the MD5 value of the original download file. (Look for the link with MD5 Appended to the ISO filename)
        > Example: To get the MD5 value for English Knoppix V6.2.1 ISO file, look for a link

        KNOPPIX_V6. 2.1CD-2010-01-31-EN. ISO. md5

        > Click and save to your desktop
        Now open the file: click Start> Programs-> Accessories-> Notepad, click file-> Open
        Then copy / paste the MD5 value into the HashTabs' Hash Comparison field (click thumbnail for full image)
        If the values
​​match you'll see a green check mark Followed by MD5 meaning your download is good!
        => If the download keeps failing, falling on this long download time, see the "Knoppix Hints" below
        Now burn the Knoppix ISO file to CD and then use it to boot up your own computer (for more help, see Knoppix hints below)
        Alternately, you can create a bootable So Easily USB flash drive for Knoppix! (See below)

When you boot Knoppix, hit Enter (or let it timeout) at the boot: prompt to select or any other default options as it starts

    Once Knoppix starts up, you'll see a difference (but similar and Largely intuitive) user interface
    The first icon along the bottom left is like the Windows Start button to list all the programs now available to you under Knoppix
    To its right is the Knoppix file / folder explorer icon. Click it. Can you navigate through all your folders and see all your files ?? (We hope!)
    Close file Explorer. Plug in a USB device into a USB port Directly on the computer. Click to re-open the Knoppix File Explorer and copy your folders and files to the USB device!

Knoppix even makes it easy to create a bootable Knoppix flash drive! (See Knoppix hints below)

Knoppix Hints
Hint 1: How to burn ISO file to CD
An ISO file is a special type of file. It's an "image" of the disc surface to be burned. (An ISO is not a simple data file). ISO's must be burned as an image file to create a bootable CD. Most burning software can burn image files. Click here for a list of popular burning software and their "How To" instruction

Hint 2: Having a problem downloading the large ISO file?
==> Check Power Management
==> Use a wired connection

If the connection keeps dropping while your computer is downloading the large ISO file

    Download over a wired (not a wireless) connection
    Check Power Management Settings
        To open Device Manager: Click Start> Run, enter: devmgmt. Ms
        Look for your network adapter device listed under Network Adapters category
        Right click, Properties. Is there a Power Management tab?
        > If yes, click it. Then uncheck the box so you do not "Allow the computer to turn off the device to save power"
        Also check Control Panel> Power Options to make sure your power setting is set to Never for everything (so They Do not go to sleep)

Hint 3: Does your computer not Recognize the Koppix boot CD?
=> Did you burn the ISO file as an image file and NOT as a data file ?? (See hints above)
=> Try the boot CD on a different computer. Does a different computer Recognize it as bootable?
=> Have you changed the computer's boot order in BIOS to try booting from CD / DVD first?

Hint 4: Do you see Knoppix starting to boot (its start commands appear
on your display) but the boat Seems to hang at some point?
This Usually Means you downloaded to incomplete or corrupt ISO file. Knoppix will not complete bootup Unless You burned the complete and correct ISO file.
==> Download the Knoppix ISO again
==> The MD5 check sum for your downloaded ISO file MUST be correct or your Knoppix CD will never work right

Hint 5: Does Knoppix CD start and complete bootup OK on one machine but not another?
==> If Knoppix boots Correctly on one machine, use the Knoppix menu to create a bootable USB flash drive (Assuming your machine can boot from USB)

On occasion I've seen some computers did not want to boot from a Knoppix CD but want to boot from a Knoppix USB flash drive. If your computer supports booting from USB

    Use the CD to boot into Knoppix on a working computer
    Wait till the Knoppix desktop Appears then plug-in a USB flash drive (make sure there are no files you still need on this device)
    Click the Knoppix "Start" button (the icon in the lower left corner of your screen - just like Windows)
    Look for Install KNOPPIX to flash drive under Either Preferences or System Tools then click it
    ==> The location Varies DEPENDING ON Which version of Knoppix v6 you're running
    Select your flash drive in the pop-up window. Click OK. Click Yes to erase, reformat and create a bootable USB flash drive

Hint 6: Knoppix boots but will not mount your internal hard drive?

    Did chkdsk run and say it what able to fix your hard drive? If the file system on the drive is corrupt, Knoppix june have problems mounting it
    Try booting from a USB flash drive if your computer supports .


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