First of all you should know the difference between “Windows is crashed” and your hard disk is crashed. One is an operating system and hence a software problem and the other is a hardware problem. Software and operating system problems can be easily resolved, and there is no reason to panic. Hardware problems on the other hand, may require expert help. Whatever is the case, you can always save your data.
Your operating system has corrupted or crashed if you cannot boot your system. In this blog post I’m not discussing how you should find out whether your Windows has crashed or not, when I’m writing this, I’m assuming that you already know.
It always helps when you’re already prepared, but even if you are not prepared, and your Windows has crashed, you can still save your data. If you’re reading this blog post it means you have access to a computer or a laptop (even if you are reading this from your smart phone or a tablet, you’re going to require a computer).
The easiest way to save your data (assuming your hard disk is still working) is to have an Ubuntu installation CD or DVD. Ubuntu is an open source operating system based on Linux but it is giving tough competition to every sort of Windows-based operating system. You can download the ISO file and then burn it on a DVD. Once you have burned the ISO file, it becomes a bootable DVD. Even if your Windows operating system hasn’t crashed yet, it is a good idea to download the ISO file from the Ubuntu website, burn it on a DVD, label it and keep it somewhere safe so that you can save your data in the hour of need.
Before you can run your DVD in the damaged computer you will need to access your BIOS to instruct the computer that it should boot from the DVD rather than from the hard disk (that is, it should seek boot-related files from your DVD and not from your primary hard disk where your crashed Windows resides).
In most of the computers you can access the BIOS section by pressing Del (when you have just started your computer somewhere in the corner appears “Press DEL to enter BIOS”, or something like that). Some computers and laptops have different keys for entering the BIOS setup so you may have to find that out.
Once you are there in the BIOS setup you would have to go to the section that allows you to change the boot sequence. Once you have changed the sequence, save the new settings and exit BIOS setup.
Your computer reboots and if your Ubuntu DVD is already there in the drive, your computer should fire up from there.
After booting it begins installing the new operating system, but don’t worry, it won’t install unless you want to.
From this screen select “Try Ubuntu without any change to your computer” and it will be run from your DVD. Once it is running you get the following screen:
This is the Ubuntu desktop icon that you have to click in order to access something similar to “My Computer” in Windows.
If you have multiple partitions on your computer, all the partitions should be visible on the left-hand side bar. Click the relevant drive and you will be able to access its contents.
Once you can access the drives, you can save your data on a USB hard disk or whenever you feel like.