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Guys I'm in a big pinch right now. My computer (32-bit Vista Home Premium sp2) refuses to boot up (it keeps crashing with an error code 0x7b). I don't care about the computer right now but I need to backup the data inside it.

My computer has a single physical drive partitioned into C:\ and D:\.

I've tried doing an external boot with Hiren's Mini-Windows-XP however there seems to be some bug with it because when I view my D:\ file system using Hiren's Mini-XP, there is only 16 GB of data see-able. However it's weird because when I right click D:\ drive >> properties, it shows that there is 116 GB of data (which is the correct amount).

I've ensured that the folder options show "hidden files", so where is the remaining 100 GB of data?

How do we transfer the data from a computer into an external drive when Windows doesn't even boot up?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

The best strategy to do this is removing your unbootable disk from your computer, then connect it to a external USB host SATA adapter(or directly to a SATA port on the mainboard) and mount it over another computer that is booting correctly. It doesn't matter if your unbootable Windows was protected by a boot password (it will matter if your disk was protected by Windows encription). If the partitions and the disk were not damaged then you be able to mount it on your Windows(or even Linux) system and recovery all your "lost" data.

Or Use an Ubuntu or other Linux Live CD to copy your data off without removing the hard drive.

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Do you mean that I've got to physically remove the laptop's hard disk? –  Pacerier Nov 21 '11 at 12:17
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Yes. Unless you could boot another SO on the same machine, using a Live Linux DVD for example. –  Diogo Nov 21 '11 at 12:18
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yes, try Knoppix knoppix.net or Ubuntu ubuntu.com/download/ubuntu/download i've rescued files from a dead computer (can't load the OS, that is) on many occasions using these. –  Rob Nov 21 '11 at 13:08
    
PS: Even with a Live Linux you wil need to connect a external device (an exeternal hard drive, a dvd recorder or even an USB Flash) to copy your backup data. –  Diogo Nov 21 '11 at 13:10
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