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  1.    15 Jun 2017 #1
    Join Date : Jun 2017
    Posts : 5
    Windows 10

    How do I save my files if Windows 10 is corrupted/won't boot?


    Here's the situation...

    1) Computer was running very slowly. I re-booted, thinking that might help.

    2) Since that time, it won't boot Windows. I just see the Dell symbol on startup (it's a 1.5 year old XPS 8900 with no serious prior problems) and then it goes to a new screen and says it doesn't have a bootable drive.

    3) So...I ran diagnostics (both on my own, and then a Dell tech told me to do the same things). It's supposedly not a hardware problem. Instead, Windows 10 is the issue. So I had them overnight me an installation disk (it came pre-installed, so I didn't have the CD before).

    4) It's VERY important to me to save my files if possible. Some are for work, some are family photos...some are backed up, but some from the last couple months are not (I just haven't been diligent enough about that). The computer has two internal drives...1 TB main drive with Windows AND some valuable files on it...and another 2 TB drive which is a backup and where I store most of my photos (my side job is photography so I generate a ton of files every year). I would really love to recover both if possible.

    5) Called Dell again tonight after I got the installation disk in the mail, and the tech unfortunately didn't really know what he was doing...after just one failed attempt to reset the computer WITHOUT losing files, he immediately wanted to give up and click the "scorched earth" (delete everything) option. I talked him out of that, and he said the other option was to create a bootable USB. I used my laptop (which I'm currently on) and went to the Dell support site and downloaded the recovery image (.iso file) and tool (.msi file). That's where things stand. I haven't put those on my USB yet, but I have an empty 16GB stick ready to use.

    My main questions are...

    1) Will I actually be able to back things up if I use this method? I have an empty 2 TB external drive I could transfer things to if I simply gain access to the files on the internal drives. Again, I also have this laptop available to aid in the process. I don't have another desktop that I could put the drives in, so that isn't an easy option...however, I'd be willing to do that as a last resort. Anything to save the data.

    2) If this IS a good method (USB recovery), what are the steps I need? If I could just back everything up, then at that point I don't really care if I have to re-format...I'll have my files anyway.

    Thanks so much for reading and I hope I can make this work with your help!
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  2.    15 Jun 2017 #2
    Join Date : Jul 2015
    Posts : 9,373
    Windows 10 Pro

    Make a bootable USB flash drive of Kyhi's Recovery Tools:
    Windows 10 Recovery Tools - Bootable Rescue Disk - Windows 10 Forums

    Then you can boot into that and either use file explorer to copy files from the old Windows partition to the second hard drive, or make a complete backup image of the Windows partition to the second hard drive using Macrium Reflect. You can explore the backup image from Macrium Reflect Free (which can be installed once you restore Windows 10) to retrieve specific files from it.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  3.    16 Jun 2017 #3
    Join Date : Jun 2017
    Posts : 5
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    Quote Originally Posted by NavyLCDR View Post
    Make a bootable USB flash drive of Kyhi's Recovery Tools:
    Windows 10 Recovery Tools - Bootable Rescue Disk - Windows 10 Forums

    Then you can boot into that and either use file explorer to copy files from the old Windows partition to the second hard drive, or make a complete backup image of the Windows partition to the second hard drive using Macrium Reflect. You can explore the backup image from Macrium Reflect Free (which can be installed once you restore Windows 10) to retrieve specific files from it.
    Appreciate the link, but I'll be honest...I'm a little unsure of the step-by-step process. And I don't want to screw it up when so much is at stake. If you or someone else wouldn't mind explaining a bit more thoroughly exactly how I can get to the point of accessing my old files...I'd be quite thankful!

    A few specific questions to start...

    1) Which version do I download? x64 or x86?

    2) Can I then just copy that .iso file directly onto a brand-new flash drive? Or do I need to format it a particular way?

    3) Once I have the .iso file on there, what are the exact steps I follow when I insert that flash drive in the "broken" computer and boot it up?
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  4.    16 Jun 2017 #4
    Join Date : Jul 2015
    Posts : 9,373
    Windows 10 Pro

    I recommend a flash drive between 8 and 32 GB. You will insert the flash drive with Windows running. Right click on the start icon and select either Command Prompt (Admin) or Powershell (Admin) and run the following commands to prepare the flash drive:

    diskpart
    list disk
    select disk # <- replace # with the actual disk number of the flash drive.
    clean <- This ERASES the ENTIRE drive selected, so make sure to select the flash drive in the step above.
    create part pri
    format fs=fat32 quick
    active
    assign
    exit
    exit

    The USB flash drive will now have a drive letter assigned to it. Download the 64-bit version of Kyhi's Recovery Tools. Right click on the saved ISO file and select Mount. A driver letter will appear from the mounted ISO file. Copy all the files and folders from the mounted ISO file to the USB flash drive.

    Insert the flash drive in the problem computer. When you turn the computer on, there will be a key to repeatedly press to enter into the boot menu or UEFI/BIOS setup. It varies from computer to computer. It might be DELete, ESCape, INSert, F2, F11. The key to press might be displayed in a text or splash screen when the computer is turned on. You can probably google it "BIOS setup key <make/model> computer or motherboard"

    Once you select the USB flash drive to boot from, it should boot into Kyhi's Recovery Tools which is a mini Windows 10 with lots of backup, restore and troubleshooting programs installed.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  5.    16 Jun 2017 #5
    Join Date : Jul 2015
    Posts : 873
    Windows 10 Home

    "When you turn the computer on, there will be a key to repeatedly press to enter into the boot menu or UEFI/BIOS setup."

    CapnBlubs: As soon as you see the Dell splash screen appear, keep hitting F2 to get to boot menu and prioritize the usb there to use the tools for your file backup. A good case for regular file backups in future, just saying. Good Luck
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  6.    16 Jun 2017 #6
    Join Date : Jun 2017
    Posts : 5
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    Quote Originally Posted by NavyLCDR View Post
    I recommend a flash drive between 8 and 32 GB. You will insert the flash drive with Windows running. Right click on the start icon and select either Command Prompt (Admin) or Powershell (Admin) and run the following commands to prepare the flash drive:

    diskpart
    list disk
    select disk # <- replace # with the actual disk number of the flash drive.
    clean <- This ERASES the ENTIRE drive selected, so make sure to select the flash drive in the step above.
    create part pri
    format fs=fat32 quick
    active
    assign
    exit
    exit

    The USB flash drive will now have a drive letter assigned to it. Download the 64-bit version of Kyhi's Recovery Tools. Right click on the saved ISO file and select Mount. A driver letter will appear from the mounted ISO file. Copy all the files and folders from the mounted ISO file to the USB flash drive.

    Insert the flash drive in the problem computer. When you turn the computer on, there will be a key to repeatedly press to enter into the boot menu or UEFI/BIOS setup. It varies from computer to computer. It might be DELete, ESCape, INSert, F2, F11. The key to press might be displayed in a text or splash screen when the computer is turned on. You can probably google it "BIOS setup key <make/model> computer or motherboard"

    Once you select the USB flash drive to boot from, it should boot into Kyhi's Recovery Tools which is a mini Windows 10 with lots of backup, restore and troubleshooting programs installed.
    Thanks for the help! I'm done with the first few steps, but I don't have an option to "mount" when I right-click the .iso file I downloaded. Do I need a program to do that?
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  7.    16 Jun 2017 #7
    Join Date : Jul 2015
    Posts : 873
    Windows 10 Home

    "but I don't have an option to "mount" when I right-click the .iso file I downloaded. Do I need a program to do that? "

    No, Windows should mount it as a separate letter drive which you can open. Double-click the ISO and see if a new drive is listed under 'This PC' in file explorer L-column.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  8.    16 Jun 2017 #8

    Sometimes, right-click doesn't work to mount an ISO as a volume (with drive letter). When that happens use the PowerShell "Mount-DiskImage" command instead. Here's a link to a tutorial that explains how to use it (see Option #2): Mount or Unmount ISO and IMG file in Windows 10 Windows 10 Virtualization Tutorials .
    HTH,
    --Ed--
      My ComputersSystem Spec
  9.    16 Jun 2017 #9
    Join Date : Jun 2017
    Posts : 5
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    I think I successfully created the flash drive, and then I booted, hit F2 and put the flash drive first in the boot sequence.

    But after the Dell logo and a few seconds of waiting, I get a blue screen with an error message (pecmd.exe - Application Error)

    "The instruction at 0x00007FF924B5A53 referenced memory at 0x(long string of zeroes)C2A0. The memory could not be read. Click on OK to terminate the program."

    And my mouse cursor isn't actually appearing so I'll probably just have to either use the keyboard or hold the power button in.

    Any ideas?
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  10.    16 Jun 2017 #10
    Join Date : Jun 2017
    Posts : 5
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    Not sure why it would've made any difference but I tried again, hitting F12 (one-time boot menu) this time.

    And it loaded! I'm in the process of copying files to an external drive now. If I can get it all backed up I'll be far less worried about the next steps to fix Windows. I don't want to jump the gun on assuming I'm out of the woods, but I do want to sincerely thank you all for your assistance, especially NavyLCDR!

    But as far as that goes...do you all have any recommendations? Is it worth trying to fix, rather than just start over?
      My ComputerSystem Spec

 
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