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One of my friends has a dual boot system with Windows and Ubuntu. It is showing all the options in the grub menu. When I select Ubuntu, it is stuck in the initramfs stage. And choosing Windows does not boot at all. The thing is I dont have exact logs of problem as I am providing remote assistance to him. Does anyone has any idea what is wrong, it would be really helpful.

I also want to take backup of all data on all partitions to an external HD. I tried to boot with Ubuntu Live CD, but it fails to mount the partitions. Please suggest what I should do?

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just to make sure; you are able to boot live ubuntu; and see partitions; but you can not mount them? – bbaja42 Apr 4 '11 at 19:20

There's a million possible causes for this, but I'd say insert your Windows disc and use Startup Repair.

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I am afraid of using any windows tool at this stage if it wipes out anything in MBR then I would not able be to access linux partitions. why i am not able to mount partitions through live cd? I just want to confirm should i use windows start up repair?? – pineapple Jan 30 '11 at 3:52
Well, it's true that your Linux partitions may become inaccessible... you could then turn them into virtual hard disks and access them with a virtual machine, but on a second thought, I don't recommend that you do that since it might not be worth the risk of messing up what already works. – Mehrdad Jan 30 '11 at 4:29

If the partitions are screwed up, I'd try TestDisk. I have used that before to successfully to recover bad partitions. You should be able to install and use it just fine from within the Ubuntu live CD.

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I have testdisk as part of gparted iso file. Will I be able to take back up data to external HD with testdisk/gparted software suite?? – pineapple Jan 30 '11 at 4:01
As long as the external HD has a Linux-writable partition, it should be no problem. TestDisk can "extract" the files you want from the partitions in question, assuming it's readable at all, and from there you can copy them wherever you want. – farfromhome Jan 30 '11 at 4:04
That external HD is NTFS partition, and i guess that is linux writable, right ?? – pineapple Jan 30 '11 at 4:17
And one more question, say test disk is not able to read partitions by some reason, is there any other way of recovering the data ?? – pineapple Jan 30 '11 at 4:23
Yes, as long as you have NTFS-3G (which most modern distributions do, though not sure about gparted-the-distro specifically), NTFS should be writable just fine. As for other ways to recover the data should TestDisk fail: I'm sure there are, but that's the only one I'm familiar with. – farfromhome Jan 30 '11 at 4:31

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