Retrieving documents from a Windows 10 hard drive that won't boot up

  1. Posts : 2
    Windows 7, Windows 10

    Retrieving documents from a Windows 10 hard drive that won't boot up

    Let me start by apologizing if this is the wrong area to post this. It seemed like the closest to my issue:

    My computer was originally Windows 7, upgraded for free to 10 during their upgrade campaign. I suspect I got a virus that my protection couldn't handle. My system got pretty slow over a few days. When I restarted the computer to try to reset memory and all that, it got through the bios boot up, then went to a black screen with no prompt. It did this on multiple restarts. There was always a cursor for about half a second on the black screen, but no prompt. My friend said he thought Windows wasn't even beginning the boot process because control alt delete instantly caused a full restart from this black screen.

    I tried making a Windows 10 boot device on a thumb drive, but i couldn't figure out how to get the computer to recognise it as a boot device.

    I replaced my optical drive, which was broken long ago by a curious 1- year old, so i could try my windows 7 install disc. Even with the optical drive as the first boot device, it still wouldn't load windows or the original installation menu.

    After coming home from work one day, the curious now-2-year-old had turned the power on at some point and it was magically on the desktop! However the keyboard wasn't working, for whatever reason. I ran virus scan with no results and restarted again, unfortunately before i thought to verify my documents were sufficiently backed up on my external hard drive.

    I'm back to the no boot up situation, although now control alt delete doesn't restart the computer.

    To try to rescue my files that are not backed up (pretty much only text documents) before reformatting, I swapped the inaccessible windows 10 hard drive into a freshly installed Windows 7 computer. On the windows 7 computer, i can open the w10 hard drive and view and copy almost all the files in the drive EXCEPT for the Users folder and everything in it (which includes the Documents folder with the only files that really matter to me). I tried copying the entire users folder to the w7 hard drive as well as my external. Both got a little way in, successfully copying garbage files and folders with settings and whatnot (the stuff i don't need). But only a little way into the copying, progress would just stop. They busy copying animation still going, but not actually making any progress.

    Sorry for being so long-winded, I wanted to be thorough. Any help is greatly appreciated!

    PS Also sorry if this posts multiple times. I didn't see it show up in the forum or in my profile the first time.
      My Computer

  2. Posts : 27,663
    Windows 10 Pro x64 Version 21H1

    Sounds like you have a hard drive failure. Rather than bulk copies target what you need.

    You might also try chkdsk /r on the disk in question. If the error is correctable this may recover it.

    I think I would target what I needed before chkdsk. If drive is failing you don't know what will cause an outright collapse and chkdsk will work drive. When you are in folders sort contents by date modified and copy only what you need since last backup.

      My Computer

  3. Posts : 39,995
    windows 10 professional version 1607 build 14393.969 64 bit

    If you have not already done so please run sfc /scannow and dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth. And please download and install Malwarebytes and run it on all drives. Let us know the results of each sfc ,dism, and malwarebytes.

    What is make and model of your problematic computer? And what is the make and model of the working computer?

    Are the keyboard and or optical drive physically broken? Is it possible that these are driver problems?

    Is the rest of hardware working so that if the drive was replaced with a new one and all updated drivers were installed it would function normally?
    Has the hardware been tested with bios UEFI diagnostics or by some other method?

    Each computer manufacturer has a F key or combination of keys to use to open a menu where you can choose the boot device. If you know the F key and if you have a current USB bootable windows 10 iso this will provide windows troubleshooting menu options.
    It may be possible then to move the drive back to its originating computer (after you have tested it for malware, and with have working hardware) and then attempt again to boot the operating system to lock screen or boot to windows troubleshooting menu. If these are not possible then booting to the windows 10 iso.

    Seatools for windows allows you to perform smart, short and log generic tests on most drives. Please perform the studies on all of your drives so hardware problems are ruled out.
      My Computer


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