Dusty Cables dot com

a tech blog

Tag Archives: recover

10 things you can *try* when Windows XP will not boot

June 26th, 2008. Published under Uncategorized. No Comments.

This article, on TechRepublic, is called “10 things you can do when Windows XP won’t boot”, but I think my title is more accurate.  Many, many things can cause Windows XP to not boot, so this list is most certainly not a definitive list that will make XP boot once again.  But, it does cover the basics, and there is a decent chance on of these will fix things.  It is worth noting that number ten, “Perform an in-place upgrade”, will cause a lot of extra work, in that you’ll have to reinstall most of your apps, since a fresh new registry is written to the disk.  More importantly, if I remember correctly (its been a while since I’ve done this myself), it also overwrites the “Documents and Settings” folder on the system drive, which would wipe out all user profiles (read: wipe out your My Documents, My Pictures, My Music, etc).  Usually not the best option.  Oh, you say you don’t have a backup of your data?  Tsk, tsk.

I would add a section in number ten and first recover data.  Here are three ways to first recover data:

  1. Remove the drive and set it as a slave in another computer.  This would allow you to copy data over using the other computer’s OS.  You then burn to disc or copy to USB drive or whatever.
  2. Remove the drive and put it in an external enclosure that will allow you to plug the drive into another computer.  Same result as the first option, where you can burn or copy the data using the other computer.  Or better yet, just buy a new hard drive for your computer, install Windows (or another OS), reinstall all your apps, then use the old hard drive in the external enclosure to copy over your data to your new hard drive.  Then wipe the old hard drive clean and use this old hard drive and external enclosure to regularly backup your data, as you should have been in the first place.
  3. Use an “OS on a CD” solution, such as the Ultimate Boot CD for Windows, or a Linux Live CD, or the like.  The UBCD for Win is great.  I keep one in my briefcase at all times.  Anyway, boot your computer to the UBCD4Win disk, which is loaded with diagnostic tools and stuff.  If these don’t work, at least you should be able to recover data from this environment using your burner or USB drive.