Imagine this: one day, your computer was working fine. The next day, your Windows computer refuges to boot up or load Windows. This would not be that bad if that project you were working on was stored on the computer.
Corrupted Windows systems are so common that most users do not think about it too much. They go straight to re-installing windows or reformatting the drive.
Normally, this should not be an issue, and re-installing Windows is usually the solution in such cases. But, formatting the drive and reinstalling Windows into the root partition can be a big problem if you have important files on the drive. You can lose these files during the formatting and installation processes.
If you find yourself in this situation, you can recover those files at any time even if your PC will not boot up.
Option 1: Connect your hard drive to another PC
The simplest solution is putting the drive into a new computer, especially if you are comfortable with handling and assembling PC components. You just have to remove the hard disk drive from your old, not working computer, and place it into a new one that you know works connecting the drive as either as ‘Primary Slave’ or ‘Secondary Slave’.
After booting up the new computer, you should see all the partitions on your old hard drive. To recover the files, just copy them over to another partition on the drive or to a remote storage device.
You can then place the old drive back into your old computer to proceed with the OS installation.
Option 2: Copy your files using Command Prompt Utility (Windows Recovery Options)
If the above method is not available to you, you can use the Windows Recover Options tool. You may have to go this route for a number of reasons including:
- You are not comfortable removing the HDD from your PC and connecting to another PC.
- You do not have access to another PC.
- You are having this issue on a laptop.
1. Switch on your computer and press the appropriate key (usually it's F1, F2, F12, or Delete) to enter the BIOS setup. Change your first boot device priority to CD-ROM. Hit the ‘F10’ key on your keyboard to save the BIOS settings and exit.
2. Insert the Windows 7 installation DVD into the optical drive and reboot your PC. When prompted, press any key from your keyboard.
3. On the next screen, click ‘Repair your computer’.
4. Wait while the installer scans your PC for previous Windows installations.
5. Select the operating system labeled Windows 7 from the list, and hit the ‘Next’ button.
6. From the list of given recovery tools, click on the ‘Command Prompt’link.
7. In the Command Prompt window, type ‘notepad’ (without quotes) and hit the ‘Enter’ key.
8. When the Notepad appears, click the ‘File’ menu and choose ‘Open’.
9. You are almost done! Browse through the files and simply copy them to another partition/removal drive.
10. Once you are done with retrieving your files, you can go ahead and perform the Windows installation!
The above solution is for Windows 7, but every version of Windows comes with its own recovery tools. If you need help retrieving your files or using the recovery tools, feel free to contact us at any time.