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How to recover files from Windows using Puppy Linux

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How to recover files from Windows using Puppy Linux

Unread postby Gary R » November 19th, 2012, 10:06 am

How to recover files from Windows using Puppy Linux

There may be occasions when you are unable to boot your computer into Windows, and you may need to recover copies of your personal files because you do not have backup copies.

Provided your computer is not unbootable because of hardware issues, and/or your files have not been encrypted, then it may be possible for you to recover them using a copy of Linux. I use Puppy Linux because it is a relatively small download, is freely available, and seems to be compatible with most hardware setups.

The method is fairly straight forward, and should not be beyond the ability of most people.

  • Phase 1 ... Create a bootable USB copy of Puppy Linux
  • Phase 2 ... Change the boot order of the computer to boot from a USB drive
  • Phase 3 ... Boot into Puppy Linux
  • Phase 4 ... Copy files to USB drive
  • Phase 5 ... Exit Puppy Linux
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How to recover files from Windows using Puppy Linux

Unread postby Gary R » November 21st, 2012, 8:06 am

Phase 1 ...

Create a bootable USB copy of Puppy Linux

  • Download and save a copy of the Puppy ISO file .... (I used the Slacko version for the images in this tutorial, but you can use any version you wish)
  • Download and save a copy of Unetbootin for Windows.
  • Insert an empty formatted USB drive into a USB port on the computer that's being used to create the bootable USB. It must be of sufficient size to hold Puppy Linux and the files you wish to recover.
  • Launch Unetbootin ....

Image

  • Ensure that Disk Image is selected.
  • Using the browse button ... browse to and select the Puppy ISO file.
  • Ensure that Type: is set to USB Drive and that the Drive: letter corresponds to the USB drive.
  • Click OK

Unetbootin will now copy the Puppy files to the USB and make it a bootable device.


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How to recover files from Windows using Puppy Linux

Unread postby Gary R » November 21st, 2012, 8:06 am

Phase 2 ...

Change the boot order of the computer to boot from a USB drive ....

To enable you to boot from the bootable USB drive that you have just created, you need to adjust your BIOS settings to change the order in which your computer boots, so that it boots from a USB drive before attempting to boot from your hard drive.

Below is an example of how to do this on a typical computer, the exact method may be different on your computer, but is likely to be very similar.

  • First ...

    • Power down your computer.
    • Now power up your computer, whilst hitting the F2 key. (some computers use the DEL key)
    • This should bring up your BIOS Setup Utility panel, which should look something similar to the one below.

    Image

  • Next ...

    • Following the instructions usually found at the bottom of the utility screen, select the Boot menu option.
    • This should bring up a screen similar to the one below.

    Image

    • Again, following the instructions on screen, change the order of the drives from which your computer boots.
    • In the example shown above, the computer has been set so it boots first from the DVD drive, then from the USB drive, then from the Hard drive.

  • Next ...

    • When you have set the boot order so that the computer boots from USB before it boots from hard drive ...
    • Select the Exit menu.
    • Choose Exit saving changes (see below)

    Image

    • Your computer should now save the changes, and then boot up as normal.

Please note ... There should be no need to reset the BIOS boot order when you have finished recovering your files. Your computer will function perfectly well with the new boot order, and provided there is no USB plugged into your computer it will boot up as usual.

However, at some point in the future, you may forget you've changed the BIOS boot order, and power up your computer with a non-bootable USB in the USB port. In that case you will receive a message saying your computer cannot boot from non-bootable media. If that happens, remove all USBs from the USB ports and reboot, your computer will then start as normal.


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How to recover files from Windows using Puppy Linux

Unread postby Gary R » November 21st, 2012, 8:07 am

Phase 3 ...

Boot into Puppy Linux ....

  • Power down the computer you wish to recover files from.
  • Insert the bootable USB containing Puppy Linux into one of its USB ports.
  • Power up the computer.

The computer should now boot from the USB drive, and when fully booted should present you with a Desktop similar to the one below ...

Image

Please Note ... the version of Puppy you use may not look exactly like this but will essentially be very similar.


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How to recover files from Windows using Puppy Linux

Unread postby Gary R » November 22nd, 2012, 6:34 am

Phase 4 ...

Copy files to USB drive ....

  • In the bottom left of the Desktop you will find a series of Icons which represent the computer's drives and/or drive partitions.

    Image

    • sda ... represent hard drives or hard drive partitions
    • sdb ... represent USB drives
    Please Note ... the layout of drives on your machine is not likely to be identical to those illustrated.

  • Click on sdb1 to mount and open the USB drive.
  • Click on the sda drive which contains the files you wish to transfer (on my machine it is sda3)
  • You should now see something similar to the image below.

    Image

    Please Note ... the top left of each Window will show which drive and folder is open. Because the OS is loaded on your USB drive, it will be designated as home

  • In the sda Window ...
    • Click on the Users folder to open it.
    • Click on the Username folder to open it. (where Username represents the name of the account you usually log into. In my case Gary R)
    • You should now see something similar to the image below.

    Image

  • The Documents folder will usually contain your personal files and folders ....
    • If your USB drive has sufficient capacity, you can simply drag and drop the Documents folder into the USB Window.
    • If not, open the Documents folder, then drag and drop the files you wish to recover into the USB Window.
    • A prompt Window will open, asking whether you want to Move or Copy the files to the USB drive, select Copy
  • When you've finished copying files across to the USB drive, close both the open Windows.


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How to recover files from Windows using Puppy Linux

Unread postby Gary R » November 22nd, 2012, 7:06 am

Phase 5 ...

Exit Puppy Linux ....

  • In the bottom left corner of the Desktop, dependant on which version of Puppy you have, there will be either an Icon, or the word Menu
  • In this version the Icon is a Puppy's face.

Image

  • Click on the Icon.
  • Select Shutdown.
  • Select Power-off computer.
  • Puppy will now shut down.
    • If you are prompted to "save the session", select no, and allow Puppy to complete its shutdown.
  • When fully shutdown you can remove the USB drive.


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