Help Live CD, network & burn files

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My friend has just contacted me telling me that his laptop's windows is acting up. After installing a GUI program meant only for SP1, his windows XP's DLLs are messed up. He says he can't even get to the login screen, and he has no other OSes on the computer to boot from. He has many files on the harddrive he'd rather not lose, so he doesn't want to reformat as his first option.

I'm not sure if he could take out the harddrive by himself, and taking it to a professional would cost some money, which he'd rather not spend.

So, does anyone know any good ways to salvage the files? I'm having him download a live linux distro right now, Slax, if there is no windows approach to it. If anyone has any ideas, windows or linux approach, it would be greatly appreciated....

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Does you friend have his XP CD? If he does, have him do a repair of XP.

XP Repair:

Boot with the XP CD in.

There are two types of repair on XP. When you boot with the XP disk. You will come to the first part that asks if you want to install or do a repair. This first repair is a command prompt type for a specific repair. AT THIS POINT! If you click on install XP instead, you will see XP load files as it get ready to install the OS. When it gets done loading files, you will again be asked to install XP or to repair your current OS.

At this second repair option, click to repair and sit back. XP will go through your whole system searching and repairing parts that have been changed or need to be replaced. BUT REMEMBER!! With any repair you will need your CD KEY. And you MUST go to windows update and re-download some of the updates because the repair will remove some of them.

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If this is a proprietary PC (Dell and etc.) with a restore CD then doing a repair will wipe all of the information on the HDD. You cannot do a overinstall with proprietary PCs unless they use a full version of the OS. The best bet would be to use a Linux Live CD to burn the important documents to a CD then do a complete restoration of the computer. What brand of computer is it?

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I am not sure what brand the laptop is, and I don't think he wants to lose all his data. Most probably he'll run a live linux distro and either network his files to a different computer or burn his files to cd.

Any mods/admin could move this to linux support? I think i'll need the linux experts help setting up a network on a live distro or configuring a cd burner for linux. Thanks.

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The problem with burning a disc would be the need of two disc drives, one for the live cd and one for the cd to be burned. Maybe there are linux distros that will allow you to save enough of the os to memory to allow swapping, I am not sure though.

My first choice would be to use a portable usb drive(harddrive or flash) that has been formatted fat32. then it would be an easy solution to copy the files over.

My second choice would be to connect it to another windows computer and use samba filesharing to send the files over the network. Samba sometimes can be quirky, but it should work fine.

Edited by shanenin
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