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Thread: Rescuing Photos - Dead Laptop

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    Member Sargee225's Avatar
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    Rescuing Photos - Dead Laptop

    Laptop has given up on me, and its full of Photos. Mostly irreplacable memories of my son. Is there anyway to save the harddrive atleast?
    Laptop is a Compaq, at start up it comes up with the black screen and gives me 2 choices:

    Start windows Normally (not recommended) which I've tried several times and returns me to the first screen again
    Windows Startup Repair (returns computer to a stage where it had no issues without losing data) which fails to restore it

    I can select a recovery tool from the following:
    Startup Restore
    System Restore
    Windows Complete PC Restore
    Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool
    Command Prompt
    Recovery Manager

    Thanks

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Sargee, some details needed...
    1. What operating system?
    2. When you go into the command prompt, can you do a "Dir"ectory listing? What comes up?
    3. How many partitions do you have on the HDD?

    Do a subdirectory listing from the root of your hard drive with the following commands...
    First a:
    cd \
    This will take you to the root level of the C drive.

    Next, do a:
    dir /s /p

    This will list your sub-directories and pause when you have filled a screen full. Press
    the Enter key to do the next screens.

    Check what it shows you and let us know.

    You can also try a straight check-disk command with NO options:
    chkdsk

    See what this says as well.

    BEWARE that some recovery options will render (most) Windows installs as basic vanilla.
    Try not to write to the disk in the meantime.

    People will be able to give better advice then.
    CC, Image editing OK.

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    1 windows vista basic
    2 Dir- 884 files 66 drives
    3 unsure

    chkdsk windows has checked the file system and found no problems

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Well, that's good for a start.
    All you have to do is run a non-destructive recovery.
    Others can give you advice if you wait for a while. I do
    not know Vista
    For 3, do you have a C and a D drive, that's all.

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    yes, thats all it has

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    Sargee. It sounds as if your system can be recovered, but as I have done it very rarely and never Vista, I'll hold off advising how to do it with your system.

    I just wanted to point out one thing. Don't give up on your files. Even if your system can't be restored (worst case scenario) and your laptop dies, your hard drive can be removed and connected to another computer and the files recovered that way. A last resort, but don't give up on your files.

    Really, from your description, the whole thing should be recoverable and up and running once the OS is restored.

    Best of luck.
    Last edited by JDuding; 14-09-2016 at 3:06pm.

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    The only other thing I'd suggest is that you look up your error messages on Google. There is often a lot of
    help there (amongst the chaff!!). You could get some idea of what's required. I wouldn't necessarily try any
    just yet. At worst, you could remove the whole drive and hook it up to another machine to copy your images.

    Try
    "Start windows Normally message in Vista"

    The first few results look interesting.
    Last edited by ameerat42; 14-09-2016 at 3:10pm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JDuding View Post
    Sargee. It sounds as if your system can be recovered, but as I have done it very rarely and never Vista, I'll hold off advising how to do it with your system.

    I just wanted to point out one thing. Don't give up on your files. Even if your system can't be restored (worst case scenario) and your laptop dies, your hard drive can be removed and connected to another computer and the files recovered that way. A last resort, but don't give up on your files.

    Really, from your description, the whole thing should be recoverable and up and running once the OS is restored.


    Thats what i was looking at now, $8 for the adaptor. Might just do that then wont have to worry about losing photos while restoring the laptop
    Best of luck.

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    Ausphotography Regular bitsnpieces's Avatar
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    JDuding already said the best solution possible - get an external case to put your harddrive into.

    For me, it's better to forget about recovery for now, and to get that case, put your harddrive into it, connect it to another computer, and backup everything unto that computer.

    Then you can do whatever you want to try and do to recover Windows without having to worry about your photos.
    If anything, even a fresh format and new installation could be good as a fresh install can help the computer run nicely again.

    But nonetheless, back up the photos first.

    When buying the case, double check if your harddrive is sata or IDE first (most likely sata) to get the correct type of case, but there are also cases that support both sata and IDE at a flick of a switch on the drive.

    Good luck
    David Tran

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    Serial Truant.... phild's Avatar
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    JDuding already said the best solution possible - get an external case to put your harddrive into
    + 1, but I'd be buying a docking cradle rather than a case. I wouldn't even contemplate any form of system restore until the data you want is copied.

    I did the above procedure for a mate, I had to take ownership of several folders before I could get the images off the drive.

    In his case I managed to get everything off the drive, FWIW the drive died shortly after the file retrieval.

    There is a small take ownership registry hack that allows access to locked folders by right clicking from explorer. The zipped take Ownership reg file can be downloaded from here.

    http://www.howtogeek.com/wp-content/...eOwnership.zip

    Regarding backup, having at least a couple of backup copies is a good idea, Ive seen a PSU die on an associates PC, took out the HDD and the attached USB backup drive, they lost everything.
    Last edited by phild; 17-09-2016 at 8:27pm.
    Phil

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    I'd be very careful of trying to access the drive too often.
    The more you try to access it, the more likely the chances of it dying outright, and then it becomes more expensive to retrieve the data.
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