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I am completely new to Linux. I have heard so much- all good- over the years about it, and intend to use it for all my needs in the future.

I have a HP Notebook that came with Windows Vista Home Premium installed on it. I used it problem-free for about 2 years until recently. Now the HD has crashed and gives me only black screen of death upon powering on. I have yet to find a way to save my files. I intend to install all Linux products on it now, but I am hoping to find a way to get in and save my files first.

Yes, I know, backup backup backup, but I never did.

Is there ANY hope for the things on my HD?

Thanks so much.

JR "Bobby" Nevins.


  • mfillpot
    mfillpot Posts: 2,177
    Most Linux based live CDs can read the windows partition to transfer the data to an external hard drive.

    As for installing a Linux based distro, as long as that "Black Screen" you are referring to is not from a hardware error you should not have any problems installing a Linux based distro onto your laptop.
  • vtel57
    vtel57 Posts: 164
    Sadly, Bobby, if it's truly a failed hard drive, that means the the drive itself is no longer functioning. No operating system will help you retrieve your files on that drive. If they are critical to your every day life, you can pay a company to retrieve them for you. It usually runs $300+ USD to have that done.

    They have to physically disassemble your defective hard drive and install the platters (disks) into a jig on their bench which can then access the data. It's a complicated hardware/software endeavor; not to be tried at home.

    Best of luck with it.

  • I am not sure if it's a hardware failure or not.

    I will describe exactly what happens when I power up, maybe you can offer some more insight.

    Upon powering up, the initial little field at the bottom with the animated left to right dots appears as normally would, but windows doesn't boot up.

    I googled about this and read some suggestions:
    Power up and immediately press f8...the safe mode will appear giving me several chioces:
    Start windows with safe mode
    'Safe mode with networking
    safe mode with config

    and safe mode with restore to previous successful boot

    None of these has helped.

    No matter what, it still goes black, and soon the generic windows screensaver starts, one which I don't normally use, as I always had a custom screesaver.

    Does this indicate a hardare or software failure?

    I can live without the content on my HD if I must. The HD is configured with a petitioned with a recovery drive but I cannot get to it,obvioulsy.

    Thanks again.
  • vtel57
    vtel57 Posts: 164
    If you're booting as you describe and end up with a generic Windows screensaver, I would say that the drive is probably not the issue. Sounds more like a corrupted Windows installation (been there, done that a few times ;) ).

    Anyway, Win Vista, huh? What did you do or had you been doing just prior to this problem developing? Were there any updates? Did you install any software on the Win system? Etc? Try to think back. It may have been something simple that you did that is causing this problem.

    Do you have a Vista recover disk? Also, I don't know for sure, but I think HP might be able to assist you with troubleshooting, etc. even though you're out of warranty. You'd have to call to find out, though. I'm not familiar with HP's support system.
  • vtel57
    vtel57 Posts: 164
    Oh, and to your original question... as Matt said, you can use almost any Linux Live CD to boot and access your Win stuff. Once you have access to it from the Linux Live CD, you can copy onto DVD or whatever. That way you don't lose your stuff. Before giving up completely on it, I would definitely try to repair the Vista installation.

    Keep us posted...
  • mfillpot
    mfillpot Posts: 2,177
    Your problem is software related, your hard drive is good. you have many options now, would you like to dual boot the system or run only a Linux based OS?


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