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Retreving data from "corrupt" Windows XP install


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#1
Mycah

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Hello,

I've had a problem with my computer recently. I have a set up of 2 HDs, one is my primary (the one that I need help with now) and a secondary one I use for testing and to use when stuff comes up with my primary. A couple of months ago my primary drive started acting up. I started it up, and it went to the Windows XP loading screen like normal, but after a few seconds of what seemed to be WinXP loading, it restarted, and it keeps doing this. So, I switched to my other HD. It works fine. After a couple of days this hard drive begins doing it to. So I take it in to my local GeekSqaud. Geek 1 tells me that it is probably a Graphics Card issue, and they take it in for work. I was dumb though, and left it hooked up to my secondary HD. I received it back about 3 days later with a new GFX card installed. The secondary HD worked fine, but my primary one continues to have this problem.

I walked into Best Buy a few days later and remembered this problem, so I thought I'd drop in since they weren't busy and ask Geek 1 about it. He was the one who had worked on it. He told me that it was a GFX card issue, and that I should try to install the drivers (since he had issues with the types of cards they installed into it before with it not booting up without the drivers installed) and that if that did not work to bring it in. I went home and tried this, and of course it did not work.

So, a few days ago I got around to taking it back into GeekSquad to see if they could remedy this issue. I talked to Geek 2 about it and he said that they would have to do a diag on it, telling me it would cost $150 or something to do this. But I explained my situation in a more "Fix this or else" tone, and he seemed to understand this issue. So he took it in. Today, I returned to pick up my computer, only to find out that they did not fix it. I argued with Geek 3, who kept telling me it was a XP problem (I don't disagree, obviously it IS an XP problem) and that they couldn't cover my secondary HD (Yes, I know, this is stupid because A) They fixed it the first time and B) The issue is with the HD that CAME with the computer) nor a WinXP issue. After standing there for at least 30 minutes going back and fourth with him about how stupid it was that he couldn't do anything about it, he finally got the guy that worked on it to come and say the same thing to me. It was an WinXP problem.

Now, This could very well be the issue, but there are a couple reasons why I doubt this. A) They fixed the same issue on my other HD and B) They didn't install the drivers for the new GFX card onto the primary drive. I tried to push the fact that they weren't really trying to help me out, only pump money out of me (I have a service plan on my computer with them), as they explained my computer had spyware on it and such, and see it for what it was.

He did show me, however, how WinXP was having a boot issue. But I still do not get how both of the HDs could have this problem and they can fix one but not the other. So, I left my computer there again for them to do a diag on the HD that still does not work. But I am very aware that they will probably come back and tell me that its a WinXP problem and try to get me to buy a clean install.

But, there lies a problem, as I have a couple important files that I must get off this HD. So, I did a little bit of late night research, and I found a site that explained a WinXP Repair Install that would install Windows but not delete my files. Would this remedy the issue of retrieving the data? It also mentioned "slave drives." And I also found a site that sells a CD for $40 that claims it will load windows if you can't get it to start.

So which of these would be the best for me? Can I still get this important data back? Is there any other ways that I could get it back?

Thanks in advance for the help, as this is a very important issue to me.

:)

P.S.: I am in no way bashing GeekSquad. This is the first real issue that I have had with them. Except that they removed my power cord from my comp that powers one of my HDs (I didn't make an issue of this because I didn't want to have to argue with them). They are a great service, but their lack of understanding and hugely rude attitudes were a real disappointment and they dropped the ball this time.

Edited by Mycah, 01 October 2007 - 11:46 PM.

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#2
peterm

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Hi Mycah
The best and easy way is to make drive 1(not working) a slave to drive 2 (working drive)
Do you know if your drives are IDE or Sata drives.
Do you have a windows cd ? is it a retail version or is it anOEM version or simply a recovery CD?

When we know what kind of drives then we will step through making Drive 2 the master and Drive 1 a slave
this will allow access to you data
Cheers
Peterm
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#3
Mycah

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Sata (I believe). I had the cable for it, but they removed it.

I have one that came with my computer. I'm not sure what kind it is, though. It says it's for reinstalling WinXP.

I used it to install WinXP on drive 2.

Edited by Mycah, 02 October 2007 - 11:51 AM.

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#4
WinCrazy

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Hi Mycah.

You can try using the free PCLinuxOS to copy your important files to a flash drive, external hard drive, floppy, another internal hard drive, etc.

This can be run as a self-booting CD that doesn't use the hard drive at all run (entirely RAM-resident). You can use it to read and write to both NTFS and FAT drives. You will need to burn the ISO file to a blank CD using something like Nero, Roxio or the free:

CDBurnerXP a general-purpose CD & DVD burning program

Active@ ISOBurner just burns ISO image files to CDs and DVDs
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#5
Mycah

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Thanks for your response.

So, I can use this and take it to my laptop and extract the image?

If i understand correctly?

Do I need to be able to boot windows to do this?
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#6
WinCrazy

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Use PCLinuxOS to copy your important files (music, program installers, pics, etc.) to another storage medium.

Windows does not have to be functional (bootable) to do this. PCLinuxOS is a whole other operating system that does not depend on XP.

I'm not sure what you mean by "extract the image". You need to extract your files from the hard drive and put them onto some other drive, preferably a removable one
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#7
peterm

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Ok
Does your drive and cable look like this
Click on me
You will need the cable back - or a new one so you can access the drive.
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#8
Mycah

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Yes peterm, that is what it looks like.

I complained to best buy and they are sending me a gift card to buy a new one.

I should have it within a week.
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#9
peterm

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ok post back when ready I will still keep watching the post
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#10
Mycah

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I'm pretty sure how to make it a slave drive, there not much to it, right? Just plug in and it should boot up as that, right?
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#11
peterm

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:)
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#12
WinCrazy

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SATA drives can only be Masters, since only one drive can be connected to a data cable. The primary drive is estblished by which SATA data motherboard connector it's data cable is plugged into. The same goes for any secondary (non-primary) drives. Your BIOS may have a way of selecting which physical-drive/SATA-connector will be designated the Primary.
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