Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

Emergency Kit - save your files from a dead OS

  1. #1

    Posts : 4,514
    Vista and Win7

    Emergency Kit - save your files from a dead OS

    I have placed a new tutorial on the Windows 7 forum. It describes a very easy method on how to recover the user files from a dead OS. It makes use of Linux Mint Mate which is very 'Windows like' and easy to deal with for a Windows user. It may come in handy one day.

    Emergency Kit - save your files from a dead OS - Windows 7 Help Forums

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  2. #2

    Hafnarfjörđur IS
    Posts : 4,376
    Linux Centos 7, W8.1, W7, W2K3 Server W10

    Hi there
    It should be a standard rule of thump that user data files should ALWAYS be on a separate HDD or at least a separate partition --then if you have to re-install the OS you haven't lost your data. (Any external tool can recover files from a Windows partition -- even a bog standard "Live Linux CD / USB" which is a very small download).

    A good one (although you need to use "The Usual places" to find it) is Hirens boot CD.

    Another interesting choice is download the Evaluation version of Windows 8 and create a Windows to Go system --this gives you a LEGAL running full windows system on an external device -- then you can use THAT windows system to recover your data. The Enterprise evaluation system I think is valid for 90 days and it is FREE.

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  3. #3

    Posts : 4,514
    Vista and Win7

    Jimbo, I agree. Everybody should have a seperate data partition and I really wonder why the installer does not set it up that way from the outset. But fact is that 80% of the users do NOT have a seperate data partition and screem for help when their system goes on the blink.

    And I realize that there are many options to recover the data. Most are very Linux though and not obvious for a Windows user. The one I describe is particularily easy to setup and use and can also be used a a full fledged OS to easily run any PC. That's why I went thru the trouble making the tutorial.

    I would not recommend Hirens because it is not really legit. They give you a (reduced) Windows OS without a license. And it is also very old and does not have all the modern functions (e.g. in Command Prompt).
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  4. #4

    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,490
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit

    Windows To Go sounds good but you'd need to install Windows 8 enterprise on a PC to create it. It also hides the internal hard drive on the PC you boot it from automatically. You then have to unhide the drive to get access to it and the files on it. Easy enough for you or me but not all that easy for the none tech savvy average Joe. MSDart is another way to do it if you can get your hands on it. Now that I have a TechNet subscription I have Windows To Go and MSDart bootable media. I haven't had to use them for data recovery yet so I can't say how good or bad they are. My Data is always on a separate partition or drive. Manly to make reinstalls easy. I have it all backed up to external media anyway.

    That looks like a good tutorial there WHS.
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  5. #5

    Never been to Heaven......
    Posts : 283
    Dual Boot: Back to W7 and Ubuntu 12.04

    Great tutorial!

    I always tell customers "If it's backed up in two places it's not backed up" I have my stuff on my HD, My external, a spare internal and for pics and docs I use Dropbox.

    What I mean is if it's on your HD and an external, might consider making a DVD backup or using a cloud service for really important stuff. I have had on a couple occations (not many) where I had to Nuke and Pave the install and the customers exteranal took a dive as well do to a power surge. It really does suck to tell them they lost it all. I will say this though, they lose it once and I can count on them having a backup the next time.

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  6. #6

    Portsmouth Hants
    Posts : 772
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center

    Thanks for the excellent tutorial, Wolfgang. I wish Microsoft had done more to make it unnecessary, though!

    For me, the least likeable "features" of Windows 8 are the limited repair options available if your system becomes unusable. Reset and Refresh both return your system to a less than complete state if they need to be used in anger. System Restore seems to be reported as being less reliable than in previous Windows versions.

    The effort taken in getting a Windows installation to a state which is comfortable and personalized is far more than just having a back-up for user files and settings.

    With the Windows 8 Immersive Boot Menu system, the Windows Recovery Environment, the Windows Side-by-side libraries all installed, and the Hibernation, Page and Swapfile system files present in Windows 8, altogether taking up about 3 times the number of Gigabytes of disk space than it takes to store the basic Windows OS, it is a huge pity that the last working instance of the OS cannot be recreated automatically, at boot time, in the event of a system software failure.

    We used to do it by pressing the spacebar during bootup, I recall.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

Emergency Kit - save your files from a dead OS
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