Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Rescuing data when Windows fails

A coworker here just had a laptop system crash at 3:00am this morning and needs to get two files off the laptop. The system is a WindowsXP installation and the disks are all formatted with NTFS.

The problem is that the system will not boot up. The Windows splash screen is displayed, but it quickly bluescreens with an "Unmountable boot partition" error. The laptop itself does not have a floppy drive and though there are PC Card slots, we don't have any PC Cards here. There is a CD-RW drive that should be bootable and of course there is a LAN port.

This leads me to think that a Linux LiveCD containing NTFS drivers and an internet browser should be sufficient to read the most important data and mail it to a webmail address for further retrieval.

One bug in our ointment is that our CD-RW disks are 650MB and the standard Knoppix iso is about 700MB. I should have verified this, of course, but it seems that the download time was wasted. Now I am downloading the 620MB Ubuntu LiveCD and pray that it has the NTFS support that I need.

This would actually be fun if my hands weren't so tied by lack of resources (small CD-Rs).