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 Forum index » House Training » Beginners Help ( Start Here)
How to rescue data from Windows Vista?
Moderators: Flash, Ian, JohnMurga
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deamonknight

Joined: 30 Oct 2009
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Tue 10 Nov 2009, 00:02    Post subject:  

I'm a repair tech at a Retail computer store, I think I can help you. First, lets make sure I understand the situation.

1.) Are you running Linux of ANY flavor regularly on any of you machines? Or is your first experince with Linux and/or Puppy just trying to recovery your data? (from what you are saying I get the sense that it is the latter)

2.) "Crashed" means many things to many people,so exactly what error are you seeing when you try to load Vista? This is important. Since you can get puppy running I DON'T think you are suffering a critical hardware failure (CPU/RAM/Mainboard/Vidcard), but if you are, then no operating system (Linux/Windows/MAC OS/FreeBSD etc.) will run properly. Hopefully you only have a corrupted OS, rather than failing hardware. If your HardDrive is failing, you may be able to load puppy but not read the contents of the failing disk.

3.) You say you cannot find you external Harddrive. Is it USB? Are you sure its plugged in? Obvious question but lets cover the basics.

In a windows system, Hard drives are Identified by partition, with a letter. The Partition with the Windows OS is almost Always C:, additional partitions the get addition letter (D:, E:, F;, etc.), even if the are on the same physical hard drive, other drives, floppy and CD/DVD. also get letters. Most windows computer have two or 3 partitions, a c: drive that has most of the space and an additional section that has the restore utility (this is usually hidden from the user), some may even have a 3rd, having the space on the primary drive divided into two equal sections, one for the OS and the other as a D: drive so you can wipe the OS drive (cSmile and still have a data drive intact. This is common on Sony's

Linux does things differently, Identifying the first partition on the first physical disk as /sda1, the second partition on the first disk as /sda2, and the second partition on the second disk as /sdb2 and so on; so it will be /sd [letter of physical disk] {Partition Number}/ (there is more on how this works in linux on the internet but that should be enough info for now)

From what you describe,

Quote:
sda1, sda2, sda3, sda5, sr0


sr0 should be the CD/DVD drive, not what we are looking for. The other 4 entires appear to be partitions 1,2,3 and 4 on the first hard disk in your computer, suggesting you have 3 primary partitons and and extended partition. This is not usual on most setups unless you are or were dual booting. If you have 4 partitions on your external Hard Drive, this might make sense if you are Only seeing the external drive and the internal drive is not show because it has failed,

Otherwise , I would expect your external Hard Drive to show up as /sdb1/ or similar

If sda is your internal Hard Drive, the single largest partition is likely your C:\ drive. so of sda1 ..2 ..3 and ..5 what is the largest?

In Windows Vista your personal data is saved in your User Account's "My Documents" directory, or the "My Pictures, My Music" and so on, sub-directories in "My Documents". So if your account was "John" and you were looking for John's "My Pictures" it would be located in C:\Users\John\My documents\My Pictures\ . Or possibly C:\Users\John\John's documents\My Pictures\ In Puppy, C:\ is instead one of sda1, ..2, ..3, ..5, the above example becomes "/sda2/Users/John/My documents/My Pictures/" so you need to look for a "Users" directory in one of those entries.

However, that is Only the Default, since you can save files anywhere you want you may have to hunt around for it.

Hope that helps.
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vaughnzipper

Joined: 09 Nov 2009
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Tue 10 Nov 2009, 00:58    Post subject: Holy crap! You have to be the greatest deamon ever!  

Where do I begin??? Thanks a million for the extremely appreciated prompt response!

The external hard drive I was using is a USB. My wife borrowed it from her mother and it just wouldn't show up. So after I wrote my post I ran over to Best Buy and picked up my own. It works! It is now showing on my linux desktop... which I have downloaded for the purpose of recovering the files from my inoperable hard drive.

What got me started on this whole journey was when I tried to boot up my Dell Inspiron 1521 yesterday I kept getting a message somewhere along the lines of "can not find windows... start system normally or start system repair". Either one would not solve the problem and I could not get out of the system repair. I finally called Dell (still under warranty) and after an hour they concluded (through a system test that was done under F2) that the hard drive had failed and they are sending me a new one free of charge tomorrow. Problem is I have thousands of pictures and doc's I can't lose (just had my first child 3 months ago:)) which has led me to this site and the current state I'm in.

I did try snooping around the files on the linux desktop but the only thing I can find that relates to my failed hard drive is my User (Trinners). I open it up and it brings up several files (music, pictures, my docs, etc), but when I open those they are empty. That might be the way it's supposed to be but I'm just not experienced enough to know that.

You asked which file size is the largest. Here's the breakdown that shows up in the "partview" window...

sda1 55M, sda2 5.6G, sda3 24.6G, sda5 895M, sr0 578M.

sda3 is the only one that shows my User name (Trinners)... is that my C drive then? I'm just assuming but that doesn't always work out for me.

Also while I'm at it, could you let me know what is necessary to transfer over? Or better yet, what is not necessary to transfer? Is it a bad idea to just take all 4 drives (sda1,2,3,5) and transfer them onto my hdd? I'm showing my real immaturity by asking that but I just can't stomach failing and then having to take this to someone and have to pay to do something I'm able (hopefully) to do on my own.

Honestly deamonknight, thanks a million for your help! I'm sure you have better things to do then help a dweeb like me.
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cthisbear

Joined: 29 Jan 2006
Posts: 3402
Location: Sydney Australia

PostPosted: Tue 10 Nov 2009, 03:36    Post subject:  

vaughnzipper :

It's quite possible that you selected Xorg...
and your drives won't show up.
Sometimes it happens.

Try Xvesa...select the resolution ...1024 x 768.

Now the drives should show up.

Open up 2 Rox file managers as per my previous posts here.

If you indeed tried Xvesa first...
go for Xorg.

Ah! computers.

Chris.
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deamonknight

Joined: 30 Oct 2009
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Tue 10 Nov 2009, 22:52    Post subject:  

OK, we need to accept that since your HDD is failing some or all of your data may already be lost. I suspect you have a 30GB HDD (although that sounds EXTREMELY low for a new computer, so you may be seeing used space rather than total space), try launching the console (Menu>Utility>Rxtv terminal emulator). From the The window that opens Type "df -h" (without quotes) and post the output. Doing this will not affect any data on the system.


I believe sda3 is your C:\ drive (should have a windows directory in it) sda1 and sda5 are likely utility partitions and sda2 is probably your OS restore partition.

Assuming this is all correct, and you are the only user for this system I would expect your data to be in /sda3/Users/Trinners/My Documents/ . Copying that should get everything. Try that, or copy your entire /Users/ directory. You should be OK in Copying Everything from all the drives just to be sure you don't miss anything, but if the disk is failing you may succeed only in copying some data you Don't need, (OS & Programs files) and have the disk fail completely before you get your personal data.

Have you looked in the Trinners directory? Does it appear to have the data you need? Thats the best test.

-Hope this helps. And if you are still stuck, don't be too afraid to pay someone to help you, It means guys like me get to keep their Job!
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vaughnzipper

Joined: 09 Nov 2009
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Tue 10 Nov 2009, 23:07    Post subject:  

cthisbear, thanks for the tip! I started it up in versa and I can find my files! HUGE sigh! One question, what are "rox" files? I searched through your previous posts (quick scanning at least) but couldn't find that topic anywhere. If I'm finding my files I'm assuming maybe that doesn't apply now?

deamon, from what I can tell it is just used space... I should have 200gb. I can't figure out how to launch that sequence you suggested? Sorry, next to you guys I'm a peon, I probably should know how to do that. I did however try loading the system using xversa like cthisbear suggested, and when I do I am able to find my pictures and doc's. That might have been my problem. You suggested to just pull over my whole user file. Just me being me, will that pull ALL files I initiated (pictures, docs, music, etc) to my laptop and transfer them to my external? I'm assuming the answer is yes but like you re-iterated I want to make sure I get everything.

Thank you all very much, a huge help!

btw deamon, if you lived anywhere in the state of Utah I would pay you to fix my problem Smile
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cthisbear

Joined: 29 Jan 2006
Posts: 3402
Location: Sydney Australia

PostPosted: Wed 11 Nov 2009, 01:36    Post subject:  

" I started it up in versa and I can find my files! HUGE sigh! "

Pain in the neck eh"

" ////////////////////////////
Click on the drive twice.
Make sure thay are not hidden partitions.
Leave them alone.

sda1 maybe a hidden partition.

http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=1174451


" Your hard drives show up... automount on the desktop.
Now click on your hard drive and it mounts.

Just enlarge/stretch the file managers window....
Best to open 2 file managers.
Copy from one to the other.

If you have no other hard drive,
but have a DVD burner or at the least a CD burner.....
any recent Puppy will boot up, you then take out the boot cd,
insert your blank DVD or cd and burn your data.

You could also get lucky and delete all the nasties.
Any data you copy back; you must remember to scan.

Select the files you wish to delete.
Hit the Control Key and click on the mouse
to highlight them.
Right click the mouse to delete.
Then delete said files as necessary.
Do a little test first.

////////////////////////

Most Important:

Unmount any drives before shutting Puppy down.

""""""""""

Do not move files....Copy them.

Chris.
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deamonknight

Joined: 30 Oct 2009
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Wed 11 Nov 2009, 18:05    Post subject:  

Cool Vaughn, looks like you just need to complete the last step. (good call cthisbear) COPY the Files to you External Hard Drive. My guess is that copying your /User/ Directory will get everything, try that first. Double Click on /sda3/ it will open a window. Then Find the directory /Users/ . Then double click your external Hard Drive (probably /sdb1/ ?) This will open another window. Put the two windows side by side. The Drag the /users/ directory from /sda3/ to the window for your external HDD. Then wait for that to complete, it may take a while. That should get everything.

After the copy is complete, Shut Down puppy completely, disconnect you external Hard drive and take it to the computer that works. Look and see if you have everything you were looking for. If so, your done!

As for me doing it, you need to come to Ohio, thats a bit of a trip from Utah.
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cthisbear

Joined: 29 Jan 2006
Posts: 3402
Location: Sydney Australia

PostPosted: Wed 11 Nov 2009, 18:36    Post subject:  

deamonknight :

I really wish someone would post a video to Youtube,

showing a quick boot of Puppy...time lapse camera etc..

then clicking on a drive....twice for 2 Rox file managers,
and then show copying files to another drive etc.

Then the fear of the unknown factor lessens.
And people can recover their docs, pics, music etc.

Cheers..............Chris.
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