Tip: Recover Data Even If Windows Doesn’t Start With Ubuntu

Disclaimer: This tip is geared toward advanced users. Think Tank NTG features a comprehensive IT support solution and help desk that can give novice and intermediate PC users direction.

Have you ever been a victim of the Blue Screen of Death and tried to reboot your computer only to find now Windows won’t load? The cause could be a numerous amount of things from new hardware installed, software updates, or worst case scenario, a virus/trojan. Now how are you going to get your personal pictures, music and documents off of your computer? Here’s a solution.

Firstly, you’ll need access to another PC with a CD burner and the Internet in order for this to work. Obviously you’re reading this, so you got the PC and the Internet down but the burner is an important part. You’ll also need a blank CD to burn, and a USB flash drive. Next, we’ll provide you with a set of steps to create what’s known as an Ubuntu Live CD. Ubuntu is a linux-based freeware operating system, and when put on your CD, can be used as the interface to access your hard drive. Now let’s get to it.

Start by going to Ubuntu’s desktop interface and downloading which ever version of Ubuntu is appropriate for you. It’s highly important that you download it and save it to a folder. Do not install it. Now you’ll need what’s known as an image burning software. You can download and use this free one from ImgBurn. Once ImgBurn is downloaded and installed, open it up and click the icon that says “Write image file to disc“. Now click the icon next to “Source” and select the Ubuntu .iso file located in the folder you downloaded Ubuntu to. Load the blank CD into the burner and click Burn.

Your Ubuntu Live CD is now ready to use. Now you have to make sure that your boot order on your damaged PC, boots from your disc drive first. When you start your computer look for a message associated with a Key such as Del or F2 to enter “setup” or “BIOS“, and hit that key. While in your BIOS menu, look for the option called Boot and select it. Make your first boot option your disc drive. Place your Ubuntu Live CD into your disc drive and select Exit in your BIOS then select Save and Exit. Your computer should restart and boot from the Disc Drive.

The Ubuntu screen should show up with a few options. Choose the “Try Ubuntu without any change to your computer” option. This will now load the Ubuntu OS from the CD. Once in, select Places from the top left hand corner and then select the Computer option which will bring up a list of drives on your computer. Select your hard drive and it should bring up a list of files and folders on your hard drive. If it gives you an error message then you’ll have to mount the drive manually from the terminal which is not covered here. Be sure to contact our IT services department if that is the case. At this point Chances are a list of your files and folders will appear. Now all you have to do is insert your USB flash drive and copy your files from the hard drive.

Remember that this solution will only work if Windows won’t start up normally because of a change in hardware, software or damage to your Windows startup files. If your hard drive is actually damaged and unable to access your data then this will not work. Be sure to utilize Think Tank NTG ‘s helpdesk at 800-501-DATA if you need assistance in this task. With our Proactive Monitoring Service, events like this can be avoided.

Leave a Comment