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Backup files from dead Windows using Linux


Here is how you can backup files from dead Windows using either SLAX, Knoppix and Ubuntu.

1. SLAX Standard Edition Live CD (192MB)
[ Download SLAX Live CD ]
Download SLAX ISO file, burn it to CD and boot up with the CD. After the startup screen, your screen will be presented like the image above.

Type the login as: root
Password as: toor
Once logged in, type startx to run Xwindow.

Good thing about SLAX is, it will automatically mount windows partition. To access the mounted windows partition, double click the System icon on desktop, and then access Storage Media. Next, you can either backup your files to FTP or Windows Share.

To backup to FTP, run Konqueror, and type ftp://XX.XX.XX.XX at the location bar. Replace the XX with the FTP server’s IP address.

If you prefer to copy your files to a Windows computer on the same LAN, also from Konqueror, type smb://XX.XX.XX.XX at the location bar. Replace XX with the computer’s IP address.

2. Knoppix (696MB)
[ Download Knoppix Live CD ]
Download KNOPPIX ISO file, burn it to CD and boot up with the CD. It will automatically load X.

Knoppix automatically mounts windows partition and places a shortcut of your windows partition on desktop for easy access. To backup files to FTP and windows share, you can use the same method as SLAX. Run Konqueror and type ftp://xx.xx.xx.xx/ at location bar for FTP and smb://xx.xx.xx.xx at location bar for windows share.

3. Ubuntu Live CD (698MB)
[ Download Ubuntu Live CD ]
I bet most of you heard of Ubuntu before because of Dell. That’s why I decided to give it a try. Same thing, download Ubuntu Live CD ISO, burn it to CD and boot up with the CD.

Ubuntu will automatically boot in to X-Windows. Unfortunately for security reasons, Ubuntu doesn’t automatically mount Windows partition. From the top bar, click Places -> Computer, you can see the hard drive.

But when you try to access, it’ll give you the error message “Unable to mount the selected volume. error: device /dev/sda1 is not removable error: could not execute pmount

You CAN mount windows partition but you got to do it manually. Psychocats has very good instructions on how to mount Windows partition in Ubuntu. I’ve tested the steps and it worked perfectly.

Once you’ve mounted Windows partition to /windows, you can either backup the windows partition files to FTP or a Windows computer on the same LAN. From the top bar, click Places -> Connect to Server. A connect to server window will appear.

From the service type, you can select FTP or Windows Share. Enter the necessary information and click Connect. You’ll notice a new mount icon appear at desktop.

Compare backing up files from dead Windows using Linux Live CD and Windows PE, using Linux Live CD is much better. Reason is:
1. Linux ignores NTFS permission
2. Don’t need to create PE image.
3. Don’t need Windows CD
4. FREE

For me, I prefer SLAX because it’s faster and auto mounts Windows partition. Leave a comment if I forgot to add any important information to this article.

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One Response to “Backup files from dead Windows using Linux”

  1. Matt B says:

    great article. used this yesterday.

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