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Copying files from a non bootable Vista machine using Knoppix

If you have a non bootable vista machine it is a good idea to back up the files on the drives before trying any type of major repair such as a Hive replacement or repair install.

One method to do this is to use a Knoppix boot CD. Knoppix is a Linux based OS that will run from a CD.

The steps are straightforward but somewhat involved.

  1. Go to the Knoppix site and download an ISO image of the latest Knoppix version. Usually you will see a directory listing of files. Look for the most recent dates, EN if your language is English and an .ISO extension
  2. Insert a blank CD. Run a program that will burn ISO images such as Roxio. Burn the ISO image to a CD.
  3. Insert the CD into the machine you want to get the files from. Plug in the network cables. You may have to go into the setup to make sure the machine boots from the CD, not the hard drive.
  4. Boot the machine. Some of the versions of Knoppix have a reader which can be annoying as you scroll through the choices. You can adjust the volume in setup
  5. If you are on a home network (ie not a domain) and you use DHCP, you should find that your machine has connected to your network.
  6. Go to the choices for the Graphical Shell. When the GUI opens, look to the bottom left for FILE MANAGER.
  7. Set up a shared folder on your network to receive the files. I use a Network Addressable storage drive. That is shared. Create a folder to hold the files such as Deadmachine
  8. Choose Network drives in FILE MANAGER on the left. You should then see your network and you can drill down through the machines to your target folder.
  9. Open a new tab in file manager. In that tab, look for the hard drive where your data is stored. The most important folder will probably be the users[username] folder. Navigate to that.
  10. You can then select the folders you want and copy and paste them to the tab where you have your network target folder open.
  11. Most programs will store their data in the users folder of Vista. If you have programs that store data elsewhere, be sure to find and copy those folders as well.
That is basically it. I found the knoppix cd to be easy to use. It connected readily to my network and allowed me to find and copy the files I wanted.

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