How to Recover Files from a Sick or Worse Computer (Most of the time at Least) Part 2
Computer Turns on, but does not Boot Successfully
If your sick computer turns on and you can boot from an external device such as a USB port or your internal CD/DVD ROM, you may have an opportunity to retrieve that data. You will need to make sure the boot order is correct in your computer to match the device you intend to boot from. In addition to your alternative boot device, you will need a live Linux distribution disk or usb flash with Linux on it (I personally like Mint) which you can either make by downloading or buy on ebay. It will need to be created as an ISO.
For information on how to produce your own usb flash please go to:
You will also need an external drive large enough to hold the data you plan to gather. In many cases a thumb or backup drive you have on hand will do. It depends on how much data you want to keep.
Now the fun begins. Linux tends to boot up slowly especially from a DVD, (usb flash is much faster), so you might as well go get a breath of fresh air. Don’t panic over the password. Wait a little longer and it will usually boot up on its own.
Now you have the Linux desktop in front of you.
To find your drive in Mint, simply click on the computer icon near the top left of the screen.
In other versions of Linux in order to find your drive, there are several places you can look. In most Linux systems there is some sort of a menu like in Windows. Essentially look for “Places” in the menu. You may then find “Computer”. You may see your drive listed in two ways- one with the number of GBs and it will be labeled “System”. That is the one you don’t want. The other one will be labeled something like “Volume” and a slightly smaller number. Open that one, and find users. Go to your usual username, and your data should be in there. Plug in your external drive and wait for Linux to see it, and begin to transfer data to it.
In some types of Linux, you may not find “Places”, but you will find a file browser. Use the file browser to find the drive, and follow the steps above.
Now, if no matter how you look, you can’t find the drive try to pull up a program named gparted that is on most Linux distributions. If it sees your drive, you can figure that it is on there somewhere.
If you find nothing at all, your drive is probably shot beyond what fixing you can do. Feel free to try another kind of live Linux disk. Some of these are better than others. Again I recommend Mint, as it can be connected to the internet via most wireless or wired networks, and runs Firefox. You should be able to find help online.
Once you have found your most important items, be sure to check through all the user files to see if there is something you have forgotten.
Hope this works for you; it has helped me several times, even when the disk had gone bad in places.
For more useful computer tips, please go to the ZookaWare YouTube page.