My friend has an unbootable Windows laptop, most likely a software issue, but in any case I need to run chkdsk and maybe some other diagnostic stuff or otherwise get access to the files. Safe mode isn't working.
My machines are using OSX and Linux so I can't just make Windows repair stick the usual way. What are my options? Bootable linux distro? Would be good if there was something that could diagnose Windows-specific issues, problems with the registry etc.
EDIT: I'm about to try this: http://forums.pcpitstop.com/index.php?/topic/150212-boot-to-recovery-console-wo-xp-cd/