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Can't boot up! Help!

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I have an emachine with XP. About a week ago, two things happened. My daughter, without permission, downloaded a game from the internet. A free trial kind of thing. Later, I went in and the computer said something about updates being done and the computer will restart in however many seconds.

My computer never booted up again. When I turn the power on, the power light comes on, the monitor comes on and then it gives me the options of booting up in Safe mode, Safe with networking, etc. If I hit normal, you can hear a soft click and the monitor says power saving enable, the monitor will shut down in a few seconds. If I hit safe mode, a bunch of lines of data(?) run by and then it shuts down again. The computer light never goes off, but it seems to quit running. I once got an error message that said <windows_root>hal.dll missing or corrupt, please install this file.

My neighbor took my hard drive and put it in his computer, said it seemed to work fine. I tried the XP repair (not the recovery, but the "hidden" repair) and I can only get to where it shows one partition and asks me how I want to reformat it. It's like I don't have XP at all. But it's fine on my neighbor's computer. He can see all my files. I don't have another computer to hook the hard drive to so I can save all my files.

Is it the motherboard? The fan runs on back, so does that mean the power supply is ok? If I decide to go ahead and say goodbye to all my files and reformat, is it likely the computer will work again or will it be wasted time? Anyone have any ideas?
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you can plug the drive into your neighbors computer and burn the data to dvd's..or you can leave it in your computer and use puppy linux to save you data...these instructions are for moving your data using usb flash drives but you can use external usb hard drive instead

puppy will load and run totally in ram...

get puppy linux...Get puppy-2.16-seamonkey-fulldrivers.iso download it and burn it to cd ...if you don't have a burning program that will burn .ISO files go here and get burncdcc ..a small FAST no frills iso burning program...

NOTE...do not put a blank cd in until burncdcc opens the tray for you
1. Start BurnCDCC
2. Browse to the ISO file you want to burn on cd/dvd ......in this case its puppy linux
3. Select the ISO file
4. Suggestion ==> Check the option "Fix close"
5. Click on "Start"

make sure in the bios the cd drive is the first boot device....put the cd in the cd drive..boot your computer....puppy will boot and run totally in ram...if your hardware is is good working order you will know...
after you get it running and your at the desktop...you take the puppy linux cd out and then you can use the burner to copy all yor data to cd/dvds
you can also use it to backup your data to a external usb harddrive..just have it hooked to the computer when you boot up with puppy...
quick guide for saving data...music..files on a system that will not boot using puppy Linux..

after you get to puppy desktop..
click on the drives icon...looks like a flash drive...top row..it will list all the drives connected to

your computer...

click on the red icon for the drive you want to mount...in this case its a flash drive ...puppy will

mount the drive..the drive icon turns green when its mounted...
minimize the drives mounter window..you will need it again in a few minutes..
drag the right edge of it sideways to shrink it to its narrowest size...then drag the window to the
right edge of the screen...

now click on the icon that looks like a filing cabinet (kind of yellow) on the main drive...it should
already be green..
you will see a list of all the folders on the main drive Usually your C: drive..shrink that window to

the narrowest you can..drag that window to the left side of the screen...
at this point you should have 2 windows open on your desktop..the flash drive on the right side..
go back to the folders on the C: drive...click on the documents and settings folder...then your user
name or all users..find the folders that has your data..
drag and drop the folder with the data you want to make copies of to the flash drive window...

your options are to move ..copy ect...JUST COPY..if its to big you will have to open the folder and
drag and drop individual files until the flash drive is full...(I have a 120 GB external USB drive for
big data recovery jobs and a 4 GB flash drive for the smaller jobs)..after you get the files copied to
the flash drive...
Click on the drives mounter you minimized earlier
UNMOUNT THE FLASH DRIVE by clicking on the green icon..you will once in awhile get error messages when
unmounting the drive..ignore them..when the flash drive icon turns red again its safe to remove the
flash drive..trot on over (stroll if you want to look cool) to another computer and plug in the flash

drive and copy all the data files ( I drag and drop) to the other computer..
make sure the other computer can read them...

now delete the data on the flash drive...take it back to the misbehaving computer and plug it in

again..click on the drives icon again and repeat until you have all your data transferred to the working
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