How to Backup Files and Folders when Windows won’t Boot


Windows might be the most dominant operating system in the world but it does has its fair share of problems. If you have been using windows for a long time, you would have definitely come across many instances where windows would refuse to boot due to some problem.
If you are able to fix the issue, you will be able to boot into windows without any hiccups, However if you are not able to fix it, the only option left with you would be to perform a clean installation of Windows. But the problem is, doing so would require you to format your hard disk and this will cause you to lose any data which you didn’t backup.
In such an situation, how would you backup files and folders from your PC before installing another Operating System on it?
Well, this is when a Linux distro might come to your rescue. If your window installation is refusing to boot, you can make use of a live bootable Linux distro to access your hard disk and copy all the important files and folders from it.
All you will need to do is download a Linux distro, such as Ubuntu and you can then either create a Bootable USB drive or Run the linux distro from a USB Flash drive. By doing any one of these you will be able to Access your PC’s hard disk and then copy all your important files and folders to another drive or storage media.
The following instructions will show you how you can create a Bootable Ubuntu Linux USB Drive and use it to backup files and folders from a Windows PC which wont boot.

What you will Need?

First of all you will have to download a ISO image of the Linux distro which you want install. For this guide, i will be using Ubuntu, which has one of the most simple and easy to understand user interface among all linux distros. You can download the ISO image for Ubuntu from the link provided below.
Download: Ubuntu ISO image
Secondly, you will also need a tool to create a Bootable USB Flash Drive. For this you can make use of Rufus, which can be downloaded form the link provided below:
Download: Rufus

Creating a Bootable Ubuntu Linux USB Flash Drive

Since Rufus is an portable app you can straightaway run it without installing. You will then have to follow the following instructions to create a Bootable Ubuntu Linux USB Drive.
Step 1. Select the USB Drive
Step 2. Select the Partition Scheme as following.

  • Select “ MBR partition scheme for BIOS or UEFI computers “ for BIOS boot mode.
  • Select “ GPT partition scheme for UEFI computer ” for UEFI boot mode.

Step 3. Select the File System.
Step 4. Let the Cluster Size be at default.
Step 5. Select the following:

  •   Quick Format
  •   Create a bootable disk using
  •   Create extended label and icon files

Step 6. Click on the drive icon beside “ Create a bootable disk using “ and select the Ubuntu Linux ISO file.
Step 7. Finally verify all the above settings and then click on Start.
Within a few minutes the Bootable Ubuntu Linux USB Flash Drive should be ready.

Booting from USB Flash Drive

Once the Bootable Ubuntu Linux USB Flash Drive is ready, you will then have to connect it with your PC . Next you have to set it with the first boot priority in the BIOS or else you can also bring up the boot selection menu by pressing the appropriate key while your PC turns on. For example, on my PC, the key is F11.
Once you select the Bootable Ubuntu Linux USB flash drive, you will straightway boot to the following screen. Here you have to click on Try Ubuntu.

Copying Files and Folders

Once you are logged into the Ubuntu desktop, you can click on the explorer icon on the left menu to access the drives on the hard disk.
Now you can easily copy important files and folders to another drive or else you can even connect an external storage device and copy your files and folders to it. Copying files and folders on Ubuntu is similar to windows, simply right click on any file or folder and select copy and when you want to paste the the the files and folders, right click again on the drive and select paste.
For some, Linux might be an uncharted territory but once you have used it, you will be doing fine.

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