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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:

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