A friend's notebook's graphics card has just gone fritz and won't allow you to see anything but complete garbage on the screen. Windows boots up fine, as can be heard from hard disk activity and the startup chime. The only problem is that I am completely blind...

As the machine was about to be replaced anyway, that would not be much of a problem, but there are files on that computer that are not back up anywhere (outlook.pst, and some others).

Is there a way to remotely access the XP home instance without having done any preparations before? I have an administrative user account at hand, but probably the "Administrator" account does not have a password (OEM XP Home).

Ideally I would be able to just mount the remote HD from another machine, or alternatively get access to it's desktop via remote desktop or similar to upload the data actively.


Windows XP Home does not have remote desktop capability built into it by default. Even if were able to use remote desktop you would have to enable remote computers to connect to it. Likewise I don't think there are any Live CD's with SSH enabled by default so you might be out of luck with that idea.

I can think of a few other alternative ways to extract the data off the hard drive, assuming you have access to these things.

  1. Connect an external monitor to the laptop, it may simply be bad display rather than video. This is the easiest and also probably the least likely to succeed.

  2. Remove the hard drive from the laptop and hook the drive up as an external hard drive to another computer, either in Windows or a Linux Live CD then copy the data.

    I have found these to be fantastic when doing data transfers for old 2.5" IDE hard drives.

  3. Depending on the model of laptop it might have an external video card, in which case you may be able to replace it on the cheap.

  • Thanks for the suggestions. Video card is dead, external display does show the same garbage. I will probably go and remove the drive, provided my friend is willing to buy a 2.5/3.5 inch IDE drive adapter. – Daniel Schneller Oct 13 '11 at 10:08
  • Totally worth it: newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812232002 – jmreicha Oct 13 '11 at 12:55
  • I have found IDE / SATA to USB adapters to be invaluable over the years. I always have one in my box of tricks. – Dennis Oct 13 '11 at 13:17
  • Living in Germany newegg was not a viable option, but Amazon had a similar product available. Has been ordered and should be arriving today. – Daniel Schneller Oct 14 '11 at 9:05
  • Good to hear, I hope everything works out! – jmreicha Oct 14 '11 at 13:14

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