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A recent power failure abruptly shut down my PC. When power was restored, the PC booted up and a prompt detecting that the PC was shut down incorrectly shows. It recommended that it should run some kind of scan disk on HD before continuing the boot sequence.

As scandisk was in the middle of working on checking and repairing startup files, the power was lost again. When restarting this time, it loaded till it needed to detect Windows and just stopped. No operating system detected.

Is there some way I can retrieve my photos and MP3 files off that drive before I need to erase and reformat the drive with a new installation of Windows?

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and . . .? The story ended so abruptly:-) Did you try other Boot modes to get into the system? Did you try the CD/DVD repair things, using the MS repair features? what Operating system is it exactally? I think there are many other ways to attempt repair still? – Psycogeek Dec 31 '11 at 9:42

Assuming it's just a software problem and the drive still works with all your files still in good shape, there are many ways:

  • Do the Windows CD automatic repair to fix your existing Windows install
  • If the problem is something simple with the boot loader, just fix it using the Windows CD's repair command prompt (E.g. fixmbr and fixboot in Windows XP)
  • If you have enough space free, do a fresh install of Windows on your drive without reformatting it, so your other files are still there
  • Boot some kind of live CD OS (e.g. Ubuntu) and use it to back up the files you want to keep to a USB stick, network drive, blank DVD, another hard drive, etc.
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