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What is the safest (without additional writing to the disk) way to power down computer whose deleted files you want to recover in order to boot from rescue medium?

In case of a desktop computer, plugging off the power cord looks like the most direct solution, but are there possible side-effects, apart from losing unsaved data? More problematic seems the laptop, with removing the battery being the equivalent, but is it a good idea overall?

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Where is the data? is it on the system drive or separate data drive?
Yes slamming off the power would stop the registry from writing back, and stop other minor writes, but if the software used for recovery has a fit about a "dirty" partition/drive it might hinder some things. Doing a chkdsk prior to recovery could write out file data itself.

If it was a virus writing itself to startup from the registry a virus changing or deleting files, mabey it would be a way to save, but probably not for normal delete recovery
Why not just do a quick Undelete without leaving the system? Always have an Undelete tool already installed on the system, saving that write.
Run an undelete tool from a flash drive, or secondary drive/partition if you did not think ahead.

If you are using the write caches of the system, or a disk controller, you could make things worse if a flush of the write data had not yet occured.

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I was thinking more of an OS-independent worst-case scenario where data resides on a system drive and no undelete tool is installed, with focus on preserving deleted files knowing that others (not saved or yet written from cache) may be lost in the process. Plugging USB not inserted in that computer before, could result in overwriting due to installation of the medium. But even if USB is "known" to the system, mounting it could theoretically cause data loss. As for recovery software, afaik live CDs made for the purpose don't mount and auto-check disks and TestDisk shouldn't mind "dirty" drive. – ELO Apr 1 '12 at 10:39
I am trying to think what kind of quantity of data would occur during a USB mount, on the windows system , standard usb stick things are supported, no driver to be written, registry is loaded into ram. Running a CD or DVD , no problem. What is this scenerio system that has no form of control or user ability, that would "think" when they had a data loss? Instead they make every misteak available, then ask someone to fix it :-) If there is a requirement for booting outside of the system, then were talking pretty severe problems, and pulling the plug wont make any differance (wont hurt). – Psycogeek Apr 1 '12 at 12:39
Do you have experience with laptops? Could removing the battery while in use potentially cause damage to the equipment? – ELO Apr 1 '12 at 19:40
Yes. A static discharge can potentially cause damage to any electrical equipment. – user3463 Apr 1 '12 at 20:20
@ELO no I do not have a laptop, just small tablets, and small gpses with arm, and Mt. I do mess with batteries, but not laptops. electronicly removing the battery cleanly in one move, would not cause any more damage than pulling the plug on a desktop. Creating a partial contact ,and brownout conditions could be bad. The known issues with the storage, and additional bumping it around while the Hard drive head was out, attempted to park, then when it spins down, and the head is no longer flying microns over the platters. (that part sounds bad) – Psycogeek Apr 1 '12 at 20:24

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