You can back it up. You need a writable CD and another computer.
1. Go to http://www.ubuntu.com/ and download the iso for the latest version of Ubuntu Linux
2. Burn the iso to a disc using isorecorder or your preferable disc burning software.
3. Go back the the BSODing computer and insert the disc and boot up. Make sure your BIOS settings are set to read CD drives for boot before the HDD. You can also go to Boot Select and select your CD drive.
4. When the Ubuntu screen loads, select boot from Live CD (the first option)
5. If a dialog comes up asking you to install or Live enviornment, select Live Enviornment
6. When you are at the Ubuntu desktop, go to Applications, Accessories, Terminal
7. In the terminal, type in the following commands:
# sudo mkdir -p /media/c
# sudo fdisk -l
Presuming your HDD is NTFS, enter this last command
# sudo mount -t ntfs -o nls=utf8,umask=0222 /dev/hdb1 /media/c
Now your hard drive should be visible inside Ubuntu. Now you can get your external or network media and move the files off of the hard drive and be able to reinstall XP. I also reccomend deleting the partition in the Windows XP format screen and creating an 8-10 GB rescue partition to install Ubuntu on, in case something happens to Windows again
Hope it helps
Win XP with all updates
Old Compaq notebook but hardware checks out as good and works perfectly with another HD installed. HD that doesn't boot is approx 10 years old but was used intermittently until recently.
Only recent download prior to crash was changing to Google Chrome from IE as IE was extremely slow.
Chrome worked great for more than a week, so not sure if Chrome had anything to do with problem.
Upon turning on notebook, boot screen goes to the screen which offers me the options to start normally, with last good setup, or into one of the safe modes. I have selected every option and the same thing happens regardless of which one I choose. Everything appears to go well until the Win XP screen opens and then after a little bit, the screen flashes a BSOD(which is so fast I cannot read it) and then back to the beginning of the boot process.
I have tried to boot from the XP CD, but it takes me to the install XP screen and then wants me to reformat the HD to continue... which I then exit before doing that.
Like a moneyless idiot, I have no way to back up my notebook and therefore never did.... and on that HD are many pictures of my kids and our last two years of tax returns... eek... along with dozens of other documents which I would hate to lose.
What can I try next?
Thanks for any and all help you can offer!