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My motherboard got fried and I was forced to get a new hardware set (MB+CPU+RAM) so in most likelyhood I'll need to reinstall my Windows 7.

I usually follow procedure and put the OS on the primary partition and my data on a logical partition - so I can format the primary without concern - but this time I made a mistakte and left some crucial items on the primary partition.

I want to create a bootable CD-ROM/USB Drive which can read NTFS so I can access this data. If booting via a CD-ROM, I would prefer being able to connect a disk-on-key/My Passport to the computer and be able to access it to transfer the data to it.

How can I do it? (free 3rd party applications are most welcome)

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For something as simple as data recovery from an NTFS partition, I'd go with just a linux LiveCD (or LiveUSB). It'd be a fully functional OS so NTFS support and USB Mass Storage support shouldn't be an issue.

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your bog standard ubuntu varient might work quite well for this . In this particular case you might also need to use the force mount option of NTFS-3G - . If you need a liveusb, take a look at unetbootin – Journeyman Geek Jun 27 '11 at 6:11

As Tarek pointed out, the easiest way is to use Linux LiveCD / LiveUSB to read and backup your data.

Knoppix is the oldest Live distribution and it can read (and even write on) NTFS without major issues. More info here.

Btw, Ubuntu can also read NTFS and this distribution now exists in LiveCD / LiveUSB too.

To my mind, the easiest way to install a Linux on a pen drive is to use this small Windows utility LiveUSB Install.

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I have used Ubuntu to recover files from computers before, along with uNetBootin to create a Live USB stick. The benefit of using a Live USB is that, depending on the size of the stick, you could save the files from your computer to the USB Stick.

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