> Hi! Would appreciate advice on how to fix a problem with Dell Inspirion
> 1521 with Vista OS. Everything has been working fine since purchase 9
> ago, but suddenly will not boot no mater what I try. Comes up with
> "Windows cannot repair this computer automatically".
> I have tried system restore as far back as there are dates available, as
> well as safe mode and last known good log on, all to no avail.
> A very disappointing chat session with Dell technical support offered
> only solution of going to a Dell factory restore with accompanying loss of
> all personal data.
> Before doing this, I would greatly appreciate any guidance on 1) whether
> there is any way to fix the current Vista install without losing all
> personal data; and 2) if it turns out I do need to do a full factory
> reinstall, since I can get to the c: prompt, is there a way I can first
> copy my personal data to an external USB drive before doing the factory
> Thanks for any and all help!
I would back up your data first. Here are some methods:
1. Pull the drive and slave it in a computer running a working install of
XP/Vista. Depending on the target drive's characteristics, you may need a
drive adapter; i.e., laptop-to-IDE or a SATA controller card, etc. A
usb/firewire external drive enclosure works very well, too. Use the working
Windows Explorer to copy the data to the rescue system's hard drive and
then burn the data to cd or dvd.
2. Alternatively, boot the target computer with either a Bart's PE or a
Linux live cd such as Knoppix and retrieve the data that way. Here is
general information on using Knoppix for this:
You will need a computer with two cd drives, one of which is a cd/dvd-rw OR
a usb thumb drive with enough capacity to hold your data OR an external
usb/firewire hard drive formatted FAT32 (not NTFS)*. To get Knoppix, you
need a computer with a fast Internet connection and third-party burning
software. Download the Knoppix .iso and create your bootable cd. Then boot
with it and it will be able to see the Windows files. If you are using the
usb thumb drive or the external hard drive, right-click on its icon (on the
Desktop) to get its properties and uncheck the box that says "Read Only".
Then click on it to open it. Note that the default mouse action in the
window manager used by Knoppix (KDE) is a single click to open instead of
the traditional MS Windows' double-click. If you want to burn CD/DVDs, use
the K3b program.
- Bart's PE Builder
*My understanding is that you can now write to an NTFS partition from Linux.
If you wish to do this, Google for instructions.
After you've backed up your data so it's safe, you might want to try this
solution for people who don't have a real Vista install disk:
Windows Vista Recovery Disc Download:
You'll need third-party burning software to burn this as an image (.iso),
not as a data disk.
When this is all resolved, create and implement a backup strategy because
Stuff *Will* Happen and you should be prepared.
Elephant Boy Computers