Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


How to backup files from a Win8.1 laptop that want boot!

  1. #1


    Posts : 1
    Win 8.1

    How to backup files from a Win8.1 laptop that want boot!


    Hi, my Dell XPS 15 laptop will not boot. Unfortunately, I have no recovery DVD as I never got around to making one. I'm currently downloading the win8.1 iso from MS. I've decided to reinstall win 8.1 but before I do how do I back up my files using a live cd/dvd or usb that will read the new win8.1 file system. Is there a live cd like Hiren's or similar that I can use? I have latest version of Hiren boot cd but of course I can't access the win8.1 volume which has the files I want to backup!

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


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


    Another option is to take the drive out and slave it into your desktop PC. Then you can just drag a drop the files from one drive to another in explorer.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    United States
    Posts : 3,093
    Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit


    I've had a USB drive caddy for years, has served me well.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


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


    I have one of these in my kit, Vantec 2.5"/3.5"/5.25" SATA/IDE to USB 2.0 Adapter - Model CB-ISATAU2 - Newegg.ca It pretty well covers any drive I might need to pull files off of. I'm the go to guy for friends and family with computer issues. This lets me get all their personal files off of the drive before I do anything. These PC's are usually so bad by the time I get them that I have to do a factory reset or reinstall Windows.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    United States
    Posts : 3,093
    Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit


    Quote Originally Posted by alphanumeric View Post
    I have one of these in my kit, Vantec 2.5"/3.5"/5.25" SATA/IDE to USB 2.0 Adapter - Model CB-ISATAU2 - Newegg.ca It pretty well covers any drive I might need to pull files off of. I'm the go to guy for friends and family with computer issues. This lets me get all their personal files off of the drive before I do anything. These PC's are usually so bad by the time I get them that I have to do a factory reset or reinstall Windows.
    That's pretty sweet. Mine is just for 2.5" SATA but that's all I have anymore. And yea, the average user can really trash a system given enough time.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


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


    I still get the odd laptop with an IDE drive in it. Laptop IDE drives won't slave in a desktop PC without an adapter so I just figured I cover all the bases with the one device. It's portable too, I keep it in my emergency kit with some other odds and ends.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Quote Originally Posted by viiartz View Post
    Hi, my Dell XPS 15 laptop will not boot. Unfortunately, I have no recovery DVD as I never got around to making one. I'm currently downloading the win8.1 iso from MS. I've decided to reinstall win 8.1 but before I do how do I back up my files using a live cd/dvd or usb that will read the new win8.1 file system. Is there a live cd like Hiren's or similar that I can use? I have latest version of Hiren boot cd but of course I can't access the win8.1 volume which has the files I want to backup!
    Option 1) the Win8.1 .iso, acting as recovery disk, may offer opportunity to repair the installed OS without deleting personal files.

    Option 2) a live Linux distro (running off a cd/dvd drive) may allow access to the c:\ drive and the files within. Although, if Hiren's can't, it's likely Linux won't.

    Option 3) take the bitter medicine and remove the hd, attach it to a usb caddy. That's assuming there's another working PC.

    Option 4) accept reality and get a new hd for a complete reinstall.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Posts : 2,690
    Windows 3.1 > Windows 10


    run the setup media and instead of selecting install now - choose bottom left "repair this computer"
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  9. #9


    Posts : 40
    Win 8.1


    Hi, we don't know what you see or how far it gets when you say it won't boot... that could help. Your PC probably has UEFI not BIOS so Hiren's disk won't work- I guess you realised that.

    You could try disabling UEFI, but you need to start from within Windows
    How To Disable UEFI Secure Boot In Windows 8 & 8.1
    - or from a bootable Win 8.1 disk (I assume).

    Once you have your Win 8.1 disk, you can also try the recovery options and safe mode of course, which would give you other options of recovering your data.

    With UEFI/Safe boot disabled, you could then run some diagnostics if you suspect your hardware.

    Elementary question - do you use disk imaging as a routine backup procedure? If you can't repair/recover/use system restore etc, disk images could save the day. (Albeit you'd be back to needing to be able to use a boot disk).
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    Sorry to tell you this, but in all likelihood, any Linux distro is going to refuse to mount the partition.

    Why?

    Because the new default in Windows 8/8.1 is to go into hibernation when you shut it down -- and it keeps the partitions mounted even when it's not running.

    So, when you boot from a Live Linux CD/DVD/USB, it's going to refuse to mount the filesystem because basically, it's already "mounted" in Windows.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

How to backup files from a Win8.1 laptop that want boot!
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