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Right so Windows XP is f.... Need to salvage files. Somebody tells me to use a bootable flash drive (Mint 7). Can anybody explain/help?

(15 Posts)
emkana Wed 16-Sep-09 17:10:03


there's a C000021a fatal system error
windows xp doesn't run at all anymore

have most files backed up but not all and would try to get to them. Somebody I know said about using Mint 7 but didn't elaborate. Does anybody know about this?

(I'm writing on the laptop, in case you're wondering)

emkana Wed 16-Sep-09 21:02:37


SomeGuy Thu 17-Sep-09 03:40:32

This is a common error.


Try the instructions under "Last known good configuration"

Mint 7 is a Linux "live CD".

The idea of a live CD is that it runs entirely from CD and memory. It doesn't require Windows to run and it doesn't install itself to your hard disk, unless you ask it to.

Most modern live CDs boot to a graphical front end. You don't need to understand a Linux command line.

Knoppix was one of the earliest live CDs, Ubuntu can be run as a live CD and there are dozens of others.

emkana Thu 17-Sep-09 13:00:25

Thanks for your answers.

We tried last known configuration but it wouldn't work.

CruelandUsual, does it matter whether you use Mint or Knoppix or one of the others?

SomeGuy Thu 17-Sep-09 13:10:42

Emkana, do you have a CD Drive and a Windows CD? You're best off trying to repair the Windows installation.

It doesn't matter much which live CD you use. They should all be able to read your disk and copy any files you want to save to a USB stick. I guess if you have a friend who knows Mint, there might be a slight advantage to sticking with that.

SomeGuy Thu 17-Sep-09 16:16:59

This is the best bootable CD.

"While this collection of tools can be very useful, potential users should note that many of the tools are commercial applications that have not been legally licensed for redistribution, and so download/use/sharing of Hiren's BootCD may be illegal (depending on your legal jurisdiction)."'s_BootCD

emkana Thu 17-Sep-09 23:02:44

downloaded Knoppix, but the computer won't boot from the CD sad We changed the BIOS but it's just not happening

SomeGuy Fri 18-Sep-09 00:43:57

Your best bet is to find a friendly computer geek.

Failing that why won't the computer boot from the CD? What does it say? Assuming the computer is not a complete antique, and that the CD drive worked before, there's no reason why it won't boot.

And Knoppix is probably not the best thing, you will want to re-install Windows XP if you can, as this will not delete your data.

emkana Fri 18-Sep-09 12:39:58

I'm wondering whether dh made a mistake changing the BIOS? When you turn the computer on now it says something about running in DOS. Then it says it has recognized there's a CD there, one "master" and one "slave". Then it says "bad or missing command interpreter. Enter a command interpreter. A>" But we don't know what to enter...

We do have the Windows XP CD, is there anything you have to look out for if you want to reinstall it without losing data

SomeGuy Fri 18-Sep-09 13:46:31

There's some info here:

As long as your CD is a proper Windows CD rather than a 'Recovery CD' it should be ok.

A normal install shouldn't wipe out your data.

Let me just emphasise that bit about not using a recovery CD. A typical recovery CD will wipe all your data.

A proper Windows CD won't, but for some reason PC manufacturers prefer to ship recovery CDs.

SomeGuy Fri 18-Sep-09 16:45:01

There are some pictures of what a Windows XP install should look like here:

The bit where things can go wrong is Stage 6 on that site.

You must select "Leave current file system intact". Any of the other choices will wipe out your data. be warned!

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