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Fri Jan 11, 2019, 04:38 PM

computer disaster, any comfort?

One morning last week, I put my computer in sleep mode and went to work. That evening, I came home and woke it up--or tried to. It came back with a message to the effect of "fatal error--registry data file missing or corrupted." It offered a couple options, like restarting in safe mode--none I tried worked. The one I didn't try was to try to repair it from a Windows disk, which I don't have. I bought the machine used, with Windows 7 already loaded, no disk came with it. So the machine is functionally dead right now.
What I would like to know is, is there any hope of rescuing the data on the hard drive? Like maybe install the drive as a second drive on another machine (or this one, with a new drive as the first drive)? Does anybody here have any experience with this?

Note: I'm having to do this post from a library computer, since I have no internet access at home. I can't get to the library frequently, so it may be a few days before I can respond to any of your replies. Would appreciate any guidance you folks might have!
Thanks!

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Response to lastlib (Original post)

Fri Jan 11, 2019, 04:47 PM

1. Yes. You can get an external drive housing. Plug your drive into that, and

if the disk is not fatally damaged -- which is possible -- you can recover the data.

BlacX Duet 5G HDD Docking Station

I have a Thermaltake docking station that holds one SATA drive. I have used with great success to read data from drives. It's great for drives that have been hit with a virus. Attach the docking station to a computer with more robust anti-malware software than the source computer had. The new software will clean up the old drive.

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Response to lastlib (Original post)

Fri Jan 11, 2019, 04:48 PM

2. No Worries

Yes, you can simply get a new drive, install a new OS, and mount the drive either internally through a SATA port, or externally using something like a USB enclosure. Chances are all your files are still intact; you can simply browse the drive through windows/whatever OS you'll be using.

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Response to lastlib (Original post)

Fri Jan 11, 2019, 04:49 PM

3. I've had this happen, too

In all probability, your storage drive and its contents are safe.

WARNING: Don't do anything else with your computer! You need a qualified professional. If you try to resurrect the drive you could damage the data.

I had a MacBook Pro that had a similar problem to yours. I went to an authorized repair shop in New York City and they were able to clone the drive to an external drive. Then they replaced the motherboard (the cause of the initial problem) and cleaned up the insides of the computer. The charges were a reasonable amount of money considering the daily use I put the machine through.

When I brought the machine in, they asked if I had used any recovery applications. When I said no, they were relieved and explained that oftentimes these programs can cause all kinds of trouble including a complete erasure of the drive, (particularly with older rotating hard drives).

I suggest you find the best geek pros in your area that specialize in your type of computer. Good luck and have hope!

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Response to lastlib (Original post)

Fri Jan 11, 2019, 04:52 PM

4. Hard to say what really happened to the computer. Odds are good you can retrieve data from the drive

using another computer assuming the drive hasn't died or you don't have some ransomeware virus.

You should be able to just add the drive to another PC and it'll show up with a different drive letter (like 'D' or 'E') - this is how I usually move data from an old PC to a new one. If the 2'd PC tries to boot from the old drive, you'll need to go into the computer bios and change the drive boot order.

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Response to lastlib (Original post)

Fri Jan 11, 2019, 05:13 PM

5. You can also just run another os from a CD on your ram.

Then transfer your important files to an external drive. I have done this many times on lots of different hardware. There are many linux systems that run on a cd or dvd. It doesn't touch your old data until you copy it and you won't have to play with old os files that may be infected.

There are a lot of ideas that work as stated by others here so not to worry.

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Response to lastlib (Original post)

Fri Jan 11, 2019, 05:22 PM

6. If you can burn CDs /DVDs at the library you might try to d/l Hiren's Emergency Boot Disk ...

... or something similar which will allow you to boot into MiniWindows OS and copy your files. I don't believe the usual Windows backup utilities will work from the CD.

If you're not sure you've recovered all the files you want, don't reformat the disk or reinstall Windows until you try some serious data recovery with CAINE or the like.

Many of the tools on Hiren's disk are outdated or inappropriate for you. But the MiniWindows OS on the CD should be able to mount the bad disk and copy of all your files over to another disk (even DVDs).

There may be many other recovery CDs out there which are better for you; these are just what I'm familiar with. Be aware that many of them are Linux-based, if you're not familiar with Linux that may not be much help.

Sometime after your HD is back up and running, look into preparing a Windows emergency boot disk with Windows PE.

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Response to lastlib (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2019, 10:59 AM

7. Thanks for all the replies, folks! Sounds hopeful!

I'll be following them up in the next few days. Hope to be back onto DU soon!

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