Recovering Vista files using Ubuntu

Discussion in 'Recovery & Backup' started by WAW8, Feb 22, 2008.

  1. WAW8

    WAW8

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    This guide is for those folks who have a Vista machine that will not boot into Vista anymore, and will not respond positively to either a Startup Repair or a Reinstallation. Both of these other activities are documented in this Forum and should be used before the activity detailed here.



    In the event that your Vista machine simply will not boot, the only option available to you to get a working machine back is a complete installation of the OS from scratch. If you have a relatively “new” machine., with nothing worth saving, then you don't need this guide. But, if, as is the more typical case, you have a machine that you've used for months and don't want to lose all that work as a byproduct of a format and installation, this guide is for you.



    Some background ...



    Ubuntu is a GNU/Linux distribution. The current stable version is 7.10, known as Gutsy Gibbon. This version is capable of mounting and reading NTFS-formatted partitions, meaning that it can read the files in your Vista volume on your PC.



    A “LiveCD” is a bootable CD of Ubuntu that allows you to load the OS into memory and run from the CD itself. This can be done WITHOUT installing the OS to your hard drive. This is a feature that Ubuntu shares with many other GNU/Linux distros. Amazing, but true!



    The process described below will consist of the following major steps:

    1) Obtaining the Ubuntu LiveCD

    2) Booting the PC using the CD

    3) Loading the OS

    4) Examining your Desktop

    5) Obtaining information on your Vista volume

    6) Mounting your Vista volume

    7) Attaching an external/USB pendrive or harddrive

    8) Copying the Windows files to the attached drive

    9) Removing the attached drive

    10) Unmounting the Windows volume(s)

    11) Shutting down the PC



    Note: This guide presumes that the Ubuntu LiveCD will boot your machine and will display a Desktop. While that is generally the case, as with anything related to PCs, that is not always true. If the CD doesn't boot properly for you, you will need to go to the Ubuntu forums to get help. Debugging LiveCD problems is outside the scope of this Forum.



    1) Obtaining the Ubuntu LiveCD



    The Ubuntu CD image can be downloaded from the following location:

    [url]http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu [/url]



    Click the Download Ubuntu tab



    Select the Ubuntu 7.10, Desktop edition release, and Standard personal computer.



    Choose a location near you.



    Click the Start Download button. The download will begin.



    Click the Save to Disk button and choose a location that can store a full CD image (600+ MB).



    Notice that under the “Need Help?” section, there are links you can click that will tell you how to burn the image file to CD. If you don't already know how to do this, click and read the information associated with these links.



    Note: If you do not have access to working PC to download and burn the image, on the first web page, instead of using the Download Ubuntu tab, click the third tab and request a CD. You will be taken to a page to request CDs. If you want a free one, it will take up to 10 weeks for them to send it to you (after all, it's free!!) But if you're willing to purchase one, you can buy packs of CDs, or individual DVDs. The CD contains the OS; the DVD contains the OS plus a ton of other packages. The DVD is useful if you want to actually install the OS and lots of packages without downloading them from the Ubuntu servers online. The linked pages provide you all the details.



    2) Booting the PC using the CD(or DVD)



    Now that you have the Ubuntu disk, you need to boot from it.



    To do this, you need to change your BIOS settings to boot from CD/DVD. You will have to go into the BIOS settings during you machine boot in order to do that. Each PC is different, but generally, pressing the “Del” key or “F1” will typically put you into a BIOS main menu.



    From there, tab to your Boot
     
    WAW8, Feb 22, 2008
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  2. WAW8

    Packrat1947

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    Hi,

    Just to let you know, it is no longer necessary to do the "sudu" thing in Ubuntu. All you have to do is choose Places (I think) off the top menu. Then Computer. All the drives are right there and mounted. That is why Ubuntu has been so popular. Also, 7.10 live CD has read and write capability to ntfs. We use it to good effect in removing files that defy deleting. We normally use move-on-boot, killbox, and others. But these just do not work on some stubborn malware.

    Cheers,

    Packrat1947
     
    Packrat1947, Mar 12, 2008
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  3. WAW8

    WAW8

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    I don't know how you're getting around using "sudo", but a general remark about it not being necessary is misleading. I do work with LiveCDs every day, and root permissions are still needed for certain functions.



    Let's not have an argument about this. This is not the Ubuntu forum.
     
    WAW8, Mar 13, 2008
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  4. WAW8

    Jordus

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    Alternatively one could use a WinPE disc and recover files that way. Although its mainly command line, it would probably be more familiar for most than trying to use a Linux Distro, plus its only a ~130mb boot image.



    You can also use WinPE to capture a backup of your entire disc and store it for later restoration, incase you dont have CPC on your version of Vista or prefer a more long-term approach to backups. You can even mount the image from time to time and install updates, service packs, etc and then save it again (all without actually making it live on the machine)



    Just some thoughts. As it is possible to fully support a windows environment without ever having to resort to the "other guys"
     
    Jordus, Jun 3, 2008
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  5. WAW8

    WAW8

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    This is off-topic for this thread, which is NOT about using WinPE to recover files; it is about using Ubuntu.



    Since you're obviously such a "fan" of using WinPE, why not write your own "how-to" with step-by-step instructions on how to use WinPE to recover files? Please include (1) how to obtain a WinPE CD, or (2) how to create such a CD.



    If you do that, I'll add that as a pinned post to this forum for all to see.
     
    WAW8, Jun 4, 2008
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  6. WAW8

    Jordus

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    Funny the core of this thread is the recovery of files off a cratered vista install.



    If someone cant manage that with MS tools, and have to resort to using another OS distro entirely then thats not anyones fault but their own.



    I'm only adding input that keeps people from taking unnecessary steps.



    One can find tutorials about every bit of WinPE all over the internet with a simple google search.
     
    Jordus, Jun 4, 2008
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  7. WAW8

    WAW8

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    The topic of this thread refers specifically to using Ubuntu -- it's not a generic thread about machine recovery. Your post is off-topic, period.



    I've asked you to consider creating your own thread that will provide the details for performing machine recovery using WinPE -- which you have effectively refused to do.



    And, I'm not following you around. I'm a Lead Moderator here and I ready EVERY post, including yours. I'm not picking on your or anyone else.



    Please let it drop. You seem to have a lot on the ball. Use that to help folks here, not arguing with me.
     
    WAW8, Jun 4, 2008
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  8. WAW8

    katsu

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    thanks for the info.

    I used fedora live cd .fedora accesses the drives/partitions natively by just going to'Computer'butI experience the blank 'documents and Setting'folder. I hope when i copy the 'user' folder to to usb drive all the data is copied.
     
    katsu, Dec 10, 2009
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  9. WAW8

    WAW8

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    Vista no longer uses Documents and Settings -- that's an artifact of the XP days.



    In Vista, stuff is under users instead.
     
    WAW8, Dec 10, 2009
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  10. WAW8

    paul41

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    Hi ,

    I have a problem with Vista and Im lost .

    Im no expert but can generally work myway rounda pc . Ive been on c and x with the command prompt and I really dont know what Im doing . I have one pc on xp ( which im asking the question from ) and another on vista whichappears to have totally crashed . When I try to start it it gives me a recovery screen and some options , the only one i can access properly is the command prompt . If i could get some help on this I would appreciate it .

    Can I reboot vista from an XP ?

    Thanks in advance , it took me awhile to find this site .

    Paul
     
    paul41, Mar 11, 2010
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  11. WAW8

    WAW8

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    Please don't tack your problem onto an existing "Pinned" post. We really don't want folks filling pinned posts with specific problems.



    Please start your own thread. I'll answer you there.



    Also, I'm going to remove this (and your) posts from this thread and lock it.
     
    WAW8, Mar 12, 2010
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