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Recover DATA from corrupt Windows XP/Vista/7 installations using Linux

Picture of Recover DATA from corrupt Windows XP/Vista/7 installations using Linux
This instructable is meant to be a step by step guide on How to recover data from a corrupt windows installation. It is assumed that you have tried Windows Repair but still were not able to boot to winodws and you were going to go for a re-install. This procedure should work for almost all Windows Installations. Please not that the degree to which you can recover data will depend on the reason why windows installation got corrupt.

For e.g. You should be able to recover all data in case of
1) Windows acting up due to virus infestation
2) Accidentally deleting critical windows installation files there by rendering windows un bootable
3) Accidentally modifiying boot.ini to render windows un bootable.
4) BSOD due to missing boot.ini, improper or wrong driver installtion

This procedure will have varying degree of success in case of
1) Hard disk developing bad sectors and there by rendering windows installtion unbootable
2) There is a mechanical/electronic failure on the hard disk

The things that are required:
1) A computer with a working CD/DVD drive windows you can't boot into
2) A Linux Live CD (I am going to use a Ubuntu Live CD)
3) a Portable harddisk with atleast the free space that will be required for the data being recovered
4) Basic knowledge about BIOS and features

Please note that it is very important to perform this procedure before trying to write anything on the windows installation partition (Reparing windows in OK). If you have already tried to format the re-install, chances of data recovery may be very small. Also any linux installation (Puppy, knoppix, ubuntu, fedora) can be used as long as they support booting from live Cd. alternatively you can also a Live USB. Procedure for making a Live usb can be found at:
1. for ubuntu: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Installation/FromUSBStick#Installing%20Ubuntu%20directly%20on%20a%20USB%20flash%20drive
2. For knoppix: http://www.knoppix.net/wiki/Bootable_USB_Key
 
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sytas9 months ago
Try another data recovery solution like Kernel for windows data recovery software to repair corrupt and damaged like booting errors, log error etc and recover complete data files from windows hard drive. Trial version also available with 100% safe care of your hard disk data.
vaibhavyagnik (author) 3 years ago
easeus to do back up and commodo back up are one of the few windows based utilities that i prefer and are totally free for home use. Besides now motherboard manufacturers and HDD manufacturers are providing back up software for free. For eg. Express recovery 2 with gigabyte motherboards and acronis drive back up with WD drives
zazenergy3 years ago
back ups are definitely the way to go, but for those of us without them, this is a good information to have!
Agreed, backups are so much better. You also don't need expensive backup software, driveimage xml and bartpe or vistape will work
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