Recover Data From Crashed Hard Drive Partitions Using Linux

by Rod Dunne on March 2, 2011

in Data Recovery, Hardware

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When trying to recover data from crashed hard drive partitions few people would think of using Linux to boot up a Windows PC. Here I’ll show you how a Linux live CD can be used to boot the system from off of a disk, with affecting Windows, in order to be able to view disk contents and copy them to an external disk.

This process is of primary use if you discover the operating system (Windows) has become severely corrupted. This may occur if you have had a virus on the system or had some corruption to OS programs files (e.g. damage to the registry). It is preferable to attempt to repair the OS first.

Critically, you will NOT be installing Linux onto the computer. You are merely running the OS from the CD so Windows is not overwritten.

To boot the system using Linux to recover data from crashed hard drive sectors, proceed as follows:

  1. Get a loan of a second PC to connect to the internet. Download a Linux Live CD (e.g. Puppy Linux). Burn a CD copy of this Linux CD operating system.
  2. Place the CD into the disk tray of your faulty computer.
  3. Boot up the system and go directly to the BIOS menu (usually using the F2 or F10 as the system is beginning).
  4. Locate the boot sequence settings. Change this so that 1st priority is given to the CD drive (i.e. where the Linux OS CD is).
  5. Save your settings and reboot.
  6. As the system is starting it will load the Linux OS from the CD. You will be able to access Linux and browse all available drives.
  7. To recover data from crashed hard drive partitions, simply connect an external hard drive to the computer and clone the data over to the external HDD.

This is a great solution for those who do not wish to open up the computer to remove the hard drive.

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