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How can I copy C drive when Windows doesn't start up?

by zeedonk / May 19, 2012 7:15 AM PDT

Hi all-
New guy here.

I have an old (2004) Gateway M520 that runs XP Professional. For some time now, I have been unable to get the system to "turn on" ie- I get the error message that says "Windows was unable to launch" and gives me the choice between "start windows normally" "start windows in safe mode" "start using last working configuration" and the like. Nothing seems to get it to start up.

1- Is there a way to fix the startup problem?
2- Is there a way to transfer the contents of the C drive to a back up hard drive?
(My unprofessional thought was to try to hook up a 2nd computer to view the drives on the Gateway and copy the drives to the back up drive... but I don't know how to do that or if it can be done)

Thanks for any advice.

Oh, and it does offer me the option to restore the program files, which will wipe everything out, but I'd like to see if I can copy the contents first. Nothing life-altering on the hard drive, I just wanna see if I can do it.

Thanks again

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All Answers

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That's a lot of questions.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 19, 2012 7:24 AM PDT

But as you look around the internet the repair of Windows depends on your skills, if you have the right CDs and a little luck.

There is NOTHING CERTAIN and there has never been an one procedure fits all since everyone has a different issue.

Why not do this -> Remove the HDD, slip in a new HDD, install the OS, drivers and a few apps then add the old HDD in some USB case so you can get the files out?

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Getting files out?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 19, 2012 8:01 AM PDT
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Tried this one first....
by zeedonk / May 20, 2012 12:21 PM PDT
In reply to: Getting files out?

And it worked! Thanks very much.

The Unbuntu was pretty awesome, and I got what I needed from my C drive.

I was then able to run "System Restore" and reconfigured the laptop and I have a secondary working computer again...

Thanks to everyone that offered suggestions. I will keep all in mind.


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S.O.F. (save our files!)
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 20, 2012 12:27 PM PDT

Glad it rescued the files. It makes repairs easier as you don't have as many worries.

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perhaps a silly question, but...
by zeedonk / May 20, 2012 12:42 PM PDT

What else can I use the Unbuntu CD for? Is it just for rescuing files from computers on the fritz?

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I use it if I need to get on the internet
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 20, 2012 1:44 PM PDT

And the host machine's OS is wacked out.

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Re: copying
by Kees_B Forum moderator / May 19, 2012 7:24 AM PDT

Two options:
1. Boot from a Linux Live CD and copy to an external hard disk.
2. Get the disk out, mount in an external enclosure and use it as an external disk on another PC.


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