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    Hi all,

    My sister has an old dell that won't boot up properly. The problem started after she pulled the power cable out during shut down - the battery is dead so removing the cable effectively cuts the machine off similarly to pulling out the mains cable for a desktop PC. So now when you boot up the laptop it goes through the BIOS screen, then the Windows XP screen, and then a flash of a BSOD screen before restarting itself. I've obviously tried last known good configuration and safe mode, but neither have any effect. After disabling restart after system failure, I finally found the error message:

    UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME - more info here: http://support.microsoft.com/default...b;en-us;297185

    Aaanyway, I decided that I'd try and repair it using an XP disc since that's what the internet tells me to do, but the problem is instead of having the usual welcome to setup screen, it jumps straight to the partitioning part of the setup so I can't use the 'R' method like I would normally - thus making the recovery console unusable in this case. Damn.

    Finally, I thought I'd grab a live version of XP to put on a USB and see if I can recover her files before wiping it with a clean install of XP. However the laptop doesn't seem to recognise the USB has any form of bootup file on it (even though I've used this method before) so that idea is out.

    I'm currently grabbing a distro of linux to see if I can run that as a live cd, but until then does anyone else have any ideas? All I want is to be able to do is have access to the C: drive so I can pull everything onto my external, but getting that access is proving difficult. Could it be that her hard drive is fried? It is a 6+ year old laptop after all and it wouldn't surprise me.

    Any help will be greatly appreciated!
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      Maybe some parts of the disk have been damaged when the power went down, so you need to do a "scandisk" first. Anyway, when I had the same problem I removed the hard disk and connected it to my other computer with an adapter. Only because my files were really important otherwise it doesn't worth it.
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      Yeah I think the boot sector = corrupt to be honest. Not sure how easy it would be for me to get the hard drive out and hook it up elsewhere but I suppose that's an option! Thanks
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        I would favour the live CD option before you try anything else, as moving the disk may physically damage it if you're not careful. I know because I've been there.

        It may be that you get errors when trying to access the hard drive from the live CD, to the tune of the drive already being mounted or marked as "in use". If that happens, crack open a Terminal and type in

        Code:
        sudo mount -t ntfs-3g /dev/sda1 /media/ntfs -o force
        (sudo may not be necessary).

        This should force mount the drive so you can browse it graphically, and simply copy-paste stuff onto a USB memory stick or similar. There is no point in reimaging or copying the entire drive if parts of it are corrupted, tbh.
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        (Original post by ch0llima)
        I would favour the live CD option before you try anything else, as moving the disk may physically damage it if you're not careful. I know because I've been there.

        It may be that you get errors when trying to access the hard drive from the live CD, to the tune of the drive already being mounted or marked as "in use". If that happens, crack open a Terminal and type in

        Code:
        sudo mount -t ntfs-3g /dev/sda1 /media/ntfs -o force
        (sudo may not be necessary).

        This should force mount the drive so you can browse it graphically, and simply copy-paste stuff onto a USB memory stick or similar. There is no point in reimaging or copying the entire drive if parts of it are corrupted, tbh.
        Thanks a bunch for the terminal command, I still mess them up a LOT. Linux is being attempted tomorrow, I'll report back when I've had a go
       
       
       
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