February 07, 2006
If your Windows system crashes completely and cannot be recovered using the registry editor or the boot.ini, you may face some serious problems if important data on the system wasn't backed up. Knoppix can come to your rescue by enabling you to access your Windows partition and save your important data to multiple devices for restoration later. These devices include USB jump drives (also called flash drives or key drives), CD-Rs and DVD-Rs, and copying data over the network. This section explains how to recover and save the data that you'll restore after you have re-installed Windows following a crash.
Preparing for Data Recovery The most common mistake when recovering data from a system is failing to retrieve all of it because of haste. What you leave behind is typically the data you end up needing the most, so take your time and ensure you are capturing everything valuable. The most common area for data storage is in the Documents and Settings folder (usually /mnt/hda1/Documents and Settings), which is Windows' default for saving most of all users documents, music, pictures, and so on. If there are any non-standard directories into which you or your users save data, consider those as well.
Look, I understand why most people don't want to switch from Linux to Windows. It's still a geeky, not quite ready for primetime operating system. I'm an enormous nerd and I have issues getting a printer installed. However, the advantages of using a fully functional OS, with all of the associated bells and whistles, for data recovery purposes cannot be overlooked. Trust me when I tell you that the Microsoft recovery floppy disk that I've used in the past does not give you much beyond the ability to use your CD-ROM drive. If nothing else, having a bootable Linux CD around provides some piece of mind. Unless your PC catches fire and the hard drive slags down and stops spinning, you'll be able to recover most of your data in the event of a Windows crash.
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